Practical Tips to Improve Your Mindset
By now, you should know how you perform in the box comes down to more than just training and nutrition.
Your mindset, which is made up of your thoughts and attitudes, plays a huge role. If you want to make the biggest gains, you need to take this into consideration and remove any mental blocks getting between you and your goals.
This is easier said than done - so here are some practical tips to help you out:
Break Down Big Goals
Setting goals - especially the big ones - is an important part of your progression. We need something to strive for in order to achieve great things.
That said, goals can be daunting if we don't approach them in the right way. If you find yourself feeling intimidated by your goals, rather than inspired, it's time to take action.
Break your big goals down into smaller ones. To get the best results, make sure they're achievable within a month or two. This way, you're still progressing towards bigger things - but you'll be able to see the results coming in fast.
Gratitude is all the rage at the moment - because it works! It's easy to focus on the negative aspects of training. What went wrong in your last session, or those movements you can't seem to master no matter how hard you try.
Beating yourself up isn't going to get you closer to where you want to be.
No matter what goes wrong in a session, there will always be something that goes well. You turned up, for starters. Some days that's an achievement in itself!
After each session, note down a couple of things you're thankful for. It could be something big, like a new PB, or a piece of advice your coach gave you.
You can take something positive from every experience. Each failed lift is a learning curve, if you think about it that way.
When you focus on what's going well, and how you're growing as an athlete, you'll go into each session expecting more of the same. This is key for a strong mental game.
Focus on Feeling
When we set goals, we should be focusing on more than just the tangible results. We'd all love a double bodyweight clean and jerk - but there's another reason we train too, isn't there?
Why do you turn up to the box everyday? What's your WHY?
If you train to feel good (or strong, or healthy) - don't forget to focus on that, as well as your results-driven goals.
If your training isn't making you feel how you want to feel, take a step back. Ask yourself why. Is it because you're putting too much pressure on yourself? Are you missing something, like a decent recovery routine?
This technique will help you look at the bigger picture - all the pieces you need to come together to get the results you need.
Focus on how it feels first, and you'll put yourself in a better headspace to achieve your physical goals.
Ban Negative Self-Talk
How many times have you mentally beaten yourself up for days after a mistake you made in training, or on the competition floor?
Here's a secret: the best athletes don't do this.
They appreciate it's all part of the journey, and focus on the future - what they can do different next time.
It's good to reflect, and make changes. But dwelling on past mistakes for too long will disrupt your mindset, and hinder future results.
The first step to overcome this is awareness. Try to recognise negative self-talk as it happens. It's not going to disappear overnight, but the more you notice it, the more you'll learn how it impacts your mindset.
Stay Open to Change
Maintaining a positive mindset isn't the same as thinking you're a shining example of the perfect athlete - far from it.
Everyone can strive to improve - even the athletes right at the top of their game.
To improve, you need to be open to change.
This means you need to be aware of your downfalls, and have a plan to overcome them. It means listening to your coach - and never thinking you're above his, or her, advice.
Ditch the Comparison
A little competitive spirit can be good for performance. That drive to outperform others - to see your name at the top of the whiteboard, or your feet on the podium.
But if you become too hung up on this, it will have the opposite effect.
You should never let what other people are doing overshadow your own progress.
Focus on your own results first, before everyone else's. Where are you now, compared to where you used to be? Remember, everyone is at a different stage of their journey - and someone else's results should never diminish your own.
When you watch the CrossFit Games, have you ever noticed how most elite athletes seem to zone out during each WOD? They go in there with a game plan - and they stick to it. They know how their body works - they know when to push, and when to pace.
Some have a crazy engine, whilst others rely on their strength. The difference in skills means a different approach is required for each athlete, in each workout. They don't dwell on what their competition are doing, they just do what needs to be done.
Take a leaf out of their book, and get to know yourself first - before everyone else.