Developing a High-Performance Mindset – Part 2
In part 1 of this article, we discussed how the use of 3 mental skills can not only drive you to new levels of performance,
They can also make getting in shape,
and keeping up with your kids
that much more achievable.
The mindset of a successful athlete is resilient,
and unflinching in the face of obstacles.
The truth is that you too are going to face obstacles on your quest to getting back in shape,
You are going to come up against demands on your schedule that you did not anticipate,
You are going to come up against tasks that you don’t want to do,
You are going to be tempted to eat things you normally wouldn’t,
You are going to want to skip a workout to lay on the couch,
And some days, you might even want to quit.
And athletes experience this too.
They get booed,
They get crushed by goliath opponents,
They get tempted by the lure of the opportunities that fame and stardom bring,
But the best athletes know how to harness their mental resources to make things happen when they have no right making them happen.
Take my man, Braden Holtby, for example.
A good ol’, down-home prairies boy!
They know how to battle when the odds are completely against them,
They know how to bounce back after a brutal loss,
They know how to tune out the taunting of the crowd and focus in on what needs to be done.
So, when we liken this to making change in your body in the service of getting back to high-performance health and fitness, aqcuiring the mental skills of a high-performance athlete is going to be a game-changer in your life.
Here are three more mental skills you can use to tune out the crowd, act cool under pressure and focus in on what you need to do.
A. The perspective scale
Do you blow things out of proportion and feel overwhelmed by the enormity of a task?
Do you procrastinate and put things off that you know you need to do?
Try the “perspective scale”.
Often things aren’t as bad as they seem.
Sometimes we just need a little perspective to realize how bad things aren’t,
how good we actually have it,
and how the tasks we have to do pale in comparison to what others have experienced.
Start listening at 4:45 to hear Jocko Willink discuss the book “The Forgotten Highlander”. (*Note: if you are squeamish, skip this part*)
I know that got pretty dark right there, but really, going to the gym doesn’t seem so bad after listening to that, does it?
Nonetheless, to use the perspective scale find a task you don’t want to do but you know will help move you towards your goals.
Put that task into perspective by giving it a score of 1-10 on the “perspective scale”.
A “1” on the scale would be something super-easy to do, that is no problem at all, like laying on a beach in Cabo.
A “10” would be the worst thing that could happen…like getting attacked by Killer bees while a shark gnaws on your arm as someone scratches their long nails on a chalkboard.
Or you could listen to Jocko to get some real-life 10s.
Meal prep seems like a gift from the heavens when you compare it to an encounter with a swarm of angry bees paired up with a shark.
B. Let’s make a deal
Again, do you tend to procrastinate and put off tasks that could propel you to being a high-performing, lean, fit athlete?
Play “Let’s make a deal”.
Often times, the hardest part about a task is just starting.
You have no real issues when you are in the activity,
it is just the daunting task of getting off the couch to make a healthy meal,
or going to the gym after getting put “through the ringer” at work.
This game overcomes that initial inertia of getting to these tasks by making a compromise.
Here’s the game:
Find that thing that you continue to put off and procrastinate on.
It could be working out,
it could be prepping a healthy lunch for the next day,
It could be turning off the TV and starting your pre-bed routine.
Next, commit to a small chunk of that task.
It could be the the warm-up,
Putting carrots into a ziploc bag,
or brushing your teeth.
Then, promise yourself that once you finish that small chunk, you’re free to stop and go back to what you were doing.
Ps. Don’t be surprised if you finish the workout, the meal prep or the pre-bed routine 🙂
C. Progressive muscle relaxation
Do you crack under pressure?
When the going gets tough, do you revert back to your primal instincts and just crush whatever food is in your path?
Progressive muscle relaxation is a way to calm you down and reduce instances of impulsive behaviour.
So, if you feel yourself getting worked up and stressed out, try a little bit of progressive muscle relaxation.
Here’s how to do it:
Start with your fists – squeeze them real tight then relax them.
Do this for a few rounds.
Move on to your forearms – squeeze them real tight then relax them.
Do this for a few rounds.
Then move to your upper arms, chest, shoulders, neck, belly, butt, then legs.
Squeeze, relax, repeat for a few rounds.
When you get to your feet, move them up and down and front to back like you’re running.
Pick up the pace.
You’re sprinting baby!
Deep down, you’re an athlete.
And although your only exposure to high-performance sport is watching your kid play soccer,
deep down, you’re still that guy who woke up every morning to play,
who ate to support his performance,
who lived and breathed for his sport,
and embodied everything it meant to be a high-performance athlete.
You can have that same sense of purpose,
You can have that same sense of drive,
You can have that same sense of passion,
It all starts with your mindset.