February 2015: The Athletic Mindset; How to Develop FOCUS

Close-up portrait of young and beautiful woman with the virtual hologram on her eyes  laser medicine and security technology concept Taking your physique to the next level is not for everyone. I get plenty of emails from aspiring athletes exclaiming their dedication to taking their physique to the next level. But are they ready mentally? Many times they are not. Here is a simple test. If I told you that in order to achieve athletic greatness as you define it, you will have to limit your social media to ten minutes a day, would you do it? I’ll wait for you to take an honest assessment of your answer. But Nancy I have to be on social media for work. Or, but Nancy I have to be on social media for networking and to run my business. But Nancy, I have to… fill in the blank.

The fact of the matter is, over 90% of the people I tell to take specific actions to help them create focus on their goal, just can’t do it. That is why I tell people that competing is not for everyone. It takes a strong mental mindset and a huge amount of self-discipline to create the physique of your dreams, by stepping on stage in a competition. But people don’t believe me, because I preach about how easy the process is. The process is easy if you are willing to do what it takes. So, are you getting ready for competition season right now? Even if you are not and you are simply stepping up your game, the following steps will help you harness your focus. And ultimately, lead you to establishing the discipline required on a daily basis both physically and mentally. Are you ready to step up your mental game? Here is what I do to eliminate distractions and help me laser focus on my goal.

1. Have a goal. This is presupposed really. But if you are going to be cleaning out the extraneous mental clutter, we have to know what goes in its place. What your mind should be focused on as often as possible, is your goal. Is it competing? Is it getting in great shape? What is your goal? Don’t worry about a timetable for now, just establish the goal.

2. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. If you are going to achieve your greatness, you have got to stop binge watching Netflix and get your butt to bed.

3. Cut down your social media to ten minutes a day. You probably thought I was joking, but social media is the number one energy draining element of athletes worldwide. Social comparison is an energy draining nightmare.

4. Visualize for 1 hour a day. Since you are not going to be on the computer so much, you have more time for thinking about your goal. So do just that! Think about your goal as often and as long as you can.

5. Eliminate energy drains from your life. Ok, so you can’t up and quit your job because people around you are negative, but you can refrain from engaging them in negative dialog.

6. Eliminate gossiping about other. The reality is if you did this and ten minutes of internet time and replaced that with visualizations, you could have the mindset of the top level pro athlete. The reality is; there is too much work to do on your goals and not enough time to play around with negativity.

7. Seek professional counseling on personal issues. If you are having a personal issue, you want to have a way to deal with it and eliminate it from your life. Look for counselors that are interested in solution-focused therapeutic modalities. Get rid of your negative clutter.

8. Don’t over think things. Don’t stress yourself out about how far away from your goal you are, just keep on going with a positive attitude until you get there. And enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If this list seems overwhelming to you, pick just one thing that you can do this week to step up your mental game. You will see results not only in how you think and feel, but also in how you look.

A final thought about focus, it is about discipline, NOT struggle. Get your mind on what needs to be done and release the struggle. Focused effort requires working smart, not working hard.

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