By Jason Lampione
We all have different aspirations as per what we would like to achieve in our athletic performances' and it should be noted that these power principles are a guide to help you reach your ideal peak state. There is no question that we experience hurdles and challenges that can sometimes set us back a few steps, but we should never allow the negative experiences to override the positive ones that we have during our journey. Therefore, I have written these power principles to help you along your path and hope they will serve you well as they did me. In order to begin, let us take a few moments to identify a few key points to keep in mind before embarking unto the next section of this article. To maximize the information embedded within the context of this article, it is highly recommended that you conduct a simple exercise before moving forward. This will help identify any barriers or challenges you may be experiencing at the present moment.
Just simply answer as truthfully as possible the following questions.
1. When I get upset or angry during my performances, what experience am I having BEFORE those feelings surface?
2. If I don't meet a certain expectation, do I normally feel sad after the fact or become agitated and put more effort into my next practice routine(s)?
3. Does visualing my favorite athlete help me with my performance before competition? If so, how can I utilize this practice more often?
4. Does it really matter to 'ME' if I don't 'WIN' every single match or competition? If not, how can I use these experiences to help me build a tougher armour (emotionally and mentally) for each new competition?
5. Am I really enjoying the process with what I am doing? If so, how can I get more out of it? If not, how can I change my approach so that I can?
Now, if you have answered each question honestly and truthfully, then you're ready to move on to the next section.
1. Perserverance requires self-descipline of the mind! That's right! I mentioned 'mind' because that is one of the key areas that most individuals have the most trouble with. We're all faced with daily decisions each day that either bring us closer or further away from our desired goal(s). Therefore, if we can simply practice a simple act of 'mindfulness' every now and then, we'd be in a much better position to make higher quality decisions that will eventually lead us to our most fulfilling end result. The choices we make in the moments of adversity and challenge (i.e. whether that challenge be getting a good nights sleep or having a meal at 10pm versus that at 6pm) will make all the difference in both how we approach decision making and the preparation we need to overcome short-term obstacles.
2. Surround yourself with people who take away your comfort zone. I've noticed that a great deal of athletes only tend to do the bare minimum each day with regard to their training and practice routine(s). Do you ever wonder why they have such tremendous difficulty overcoming their own personal inner demons? In essence, a majority of the reasons why they continue to struggle each day goes back to their work ethic and mental projection on what is deemed possible in the minds eye of the athlete. I have always told my studends, 'If you wish to achieve a greater result than what you currently desire, than you must surround yourself with people who will challenge you to become more.' There is no question that a GREAT athlete has gone through the process and progression of transforming their ideal way of thinking by individuals who have provoked their inner drivers to wanna become more. For this reason, we must strive to seek out those that are willing to take us out of our own comfort zone and challenge us on a daily basis.
3. Change your routine as often as possible to get maximum benefit. What time in the morning is your alarm clock set to go off? I bet you can tell me what you have planned for tomorrow even without thinking about because you've been doing that routine for weeks now. Well, if you keep on your present course of action long enough, you'll soon begin to experience what most athletes do, stagnation. For most, stagnation is a primary cause for the deterioration of performance or lack thereof. Therefore, in order to avoid such detriment, you must always take into account the actions that you're doing daily and the length of time you've been doing it (i.e. For example, a workout routine in a gym setting over the course of several weeks could most likely use a change from indoors to outdoors). In my own personal experience, change isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when done often. However, too many people are afraid to change either because they have a certain fear attached to it or that if they happen to think that it isn't necessary. A word to the wise, CHANGE IS ALWAYS NECESSARY, especially if YOU the athlete wish to benefit from the actions that you do each day, maximum output requires it!
4. Build resilience by adopting a no-expectation policy in your performance. You're constantly being bombarded with all of these unneeded and unwanted expectations (thoughts that translate into emotion) that you've built up inside of your own mind. Why? Because you have an inner need that you have something to prove to someone else, besides the one person that matters most, YOURSELF! You may be a junior or a professional athlete going through these emotional discourses, but let me remind you, when you look in the mirror every morning is there a different reflection? No! That's because there is nobody else, except you! Once you understand that basic premise, performing and building resilience with a no expectation policy in mind becomes that much easier. I know this may be hard for some to grasp, but in order to really understand this principle you MUST first understand WHY you're doing a certain action before you can build up any sort of immunity (resilience) too it.
5. Always begin with the end in mind! In any successful endeavor, whether that would be sport or business, the most successful people in any industry have always built their vision from the inside-out, and then. have begun to construct that visual with daily action. Now, in relation to athletic success, it is paramount that you decided what you want to achieve both short-term and long-term and begin mapping out the daily actions that are required for you to reach that end goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 3 months, then you'd begin charting what you would be eating each day along with the caloric intake and the exercises you'd be incorporating to help burn that off. Remember, its not always about what you eat, but WHEN you eat and in what amount (portions), that will either take you closer to losing the weight or gaining it all back. Ideally, if you're attempting to lose weight during the off-season and your prime motivation is to get fit by the summer time, than this is what I mean by beginning with the end in mind. The powerful mental images that your mind will create can stir your emotional state to such a degree, you'll begin your workout routine the very next day. This is how success is built, with the end in mind!
Last, but not least, remember, stay positive and no matter what happens enjoy the process and have FUN!