Your Mindset Matters
There is an element of competition in just about every endeavor that one will pursue. Ensuring that you are on top of your game requires a very coordinated effort and culmination of the compounding forces that surround performance. The physicality of your actions and the daily grind to be perfect is one thing but the mentality of it all, and the mindset you hold onto, is what will eventually separate you from the rest. Your likelihood of success in your fitness goals relies heavily on the image you hold of yourself, both in self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Positivity and intrinsic motivation propels you through each day and is of paramount importance, not just for immediate gain, but also for longevity in the sports we all love so much. So, how do you gain that mental edge over your competitors? The answer is, it depends! How this is accomplished will be completely unique to you. There are, however, certain strategies you can put in place to get on the right track. Here are the top 3 strategies for gaining a mental edge on the competition.
1. See It Into Existence
Thinking about your performance in the gym, on the field or in the arena is a great place to start. Seeing everything unfold once you’ve put yourself in that mindset is the caveat to success. You have to be able to successfully visualize everything you are going to do or may need to do to gain the necessary confidence to carry with you when it’s game time. No matter what your goals are, you have to ask yourself a few reflective questions. When you close your eyes and put yourself in all of the different situations that you’re going to be in, what happens? Are you lifting that weight that has been your plateau? Have you created a version of your physique, that looks the way you have always envisioned it to look? When you are at that free throw line, do you make the winning shot? When everyone is counting on you, do you come through for them?
These are all questions that you must ask yourself as you visualize what is ahead of you and what’s about to come. If you can consistently see yourself winning, see yourself the way you want to be seen and see all your end goals come to life in your thoughts, then you are well on your way to cultivating the reality that is there just waiting for you to take. When those moments come along your mind will start to feel familiar with the circumstances, because you’ve visualized it before! One trigger to the next, you’ll find yourself making choices as if you planned them because you were able to visualize them before-hand. So, how much visualization do you have to do – is it a one-time thing or is there a magic number?
2. Mentally Rehearse It
The short answer is, no, there isn’t a magic number, but what we do know is that some of the worlds best in their sports have attributed more visualization to more success. Champions will do this type of practice over and over again in their minds until everything that was visualized becomes second nature to them. It’s important to “see” situations first the way you want it to play out prior to any type of event, but to make this most effective, repetition is key. You have to put your positive thoughts on a loop and just continue to watch it play out time after time. Go through all of the movements, all of the patterns, the sequencing, the lines, the lifts, the transitions and plays until all you see is perfection in your mind.
This type of mental rehearsal will provide you a level of ease because each iteration of the situation begins to imprint familiarity with an order of events and decisions . You’ve already done it a million times in your head so it feels natural. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to boil down to the absolute BEST order of event. You’ll have mentally gone through every situation, have found the flaws or errors in your initial ways, have spent time troubleshooting the problems, have found the fix and have made the adjustments so you are completely prepared when it’s go time. So much of what you see from the greats of any sport is just a small fraction of what they have already seen. You rehearse so that you can be flawless in your performance and that confidence comes not only from the rehearsal but from the intrinsic belief and self-efficacy that develops because of it.
3. Create Unobstructed Belief
The final antecedent to gaining that mental edge over everyone else is the unobstructed belief in yourself and the system you have put in place behind that belief. You must know in your heart of hearts, that you are where you are because you deserve to be there. You have to realize that your place wasn’t given but earned. Knowing that your achievements are a direct reflection of the belief you have always had in yourself, despite the naysayers you have had to shut up along the way, should provide you with a plethora of reasons to carry on.
Believe to achieve is no doubt a saying you have heard on more than one occasion and, as cliché as it may sound, it is definitely true. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will? When your belief is unobstructed that means nothing can stand in your way and the possibilities for what you can accomplish are endless and this is exactly where you want to be to reach the level of greatness you are in search of. Do not let anyone or anything get in your way. Barriers should not exist to you and if they do present themselves, bulldoze them down. Surround yourself with others who believe in what you are doing as well; that will help. Ultimately, it is up to you to believe in yourself first and then make everyone else around you a believer too.
It can be difficult to find this type of mindset for some and even more difficult to maintain it for an extended period of time. In situations such as this, you can make moves to help regain your positive mental imagery. You can find inspiration in the success of role models, keeping in mind not to obsess over being the same as anyone else. You can see how others perform and study the mindset they carry with them and adapt that to your own goals and needs. You can be meticulous with your training and nutrition which will go a long way towards improving your confidence and feelings of control. You can utilize key products within your supplement protocol such as iPREP which has been specifically designed with 150mg of Tyrosine per serving to give you that mental edge, boost performance and enhance focus and clarity when you need it the most and finally, you can employ the strategies mentioned above all at once to really kick things into high gear.
Remember, what matters most is how you see yourself and if you’re doing everything right, others will see what you see too. Unfortunately for them, they’ll only be seeing the backside of you as you continue to lengthen the distance between you and everyone else.
Author: Dana Bushell
Dana Bushell, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University (BAHK, B.Ed) is an Educator, Writer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Nutrition Advisor, Contest Prep/Lifestyle Coach and former competitive bodybuilder, who has been involved in the Fitness Industry for over 25 years. He has worked and written for major fitness publications and many popular bodybuilding sites, is a Gym Star Team member and works hard at teaching and promoting a fitness-based lifestyle in his career as a Physical Education Specialist.