Anyone else a little burned out on all the pressure to stay positive as we forge ahead into a new season?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being positive. But I’m even more about results.
Sometimes staying positive isn’t the most direct path forward when it comes to results.
What’s Holding You Back?
Like any relationship, the tension between you and your athletic self is real. You don’t always get along.
When things are aligned, it’s perfect. But sometimes, things can get off track.
You want to prepare for a workout but your legs aren’t into it. Or you roll over.
Maybe you can push to a certain level, but always end up backing off instead of breaking through. This happens when there’s a disconnect between the voices in your head.
Success is Not Failing
It follows then that a path to success is defining what failure is so you can avoid it.
An example of this approach will be when your local High School brings the car wreck from a recent drunk driving crash and places it on the front lawn of the school.
A visceral intangible reminder of what the consequences of failure are in that scenario.
The Self Talk Problem
You don’t need another poster or inspirational instagram post. You need to reprogram how you respond.
Most athletes turn to Self Talk when things get tough.
“You Can Do It”
“You Got This”
If those phrases sound familiar, it’s because they are exactly like the platitudes that spectators yell at you from the sidelines when you are racing.
Side note: Please don’t ever yell that to me.
Usually at that point in time you’re pretty deep in a hole, and having any recognition that you are actually alive is welcome.
But none of these statements are specific enough to help us get focused.
We Need Visuals, Not Words
Instead of focusing on staying positive to achieve our goals, you can frame the actions you don’t want to do in a more clear and concise manner.
Even if you haven’t done this before as an athlete, rest assured that you’ve done it as a human being.
It’s something we all do. It’s easy for us to define someone who’s different than us. Someone who we don’t want to be like.
Maybe it’s your neighbor, maybe it’s someone in your social circle. A large part of our identity is functionally defined by what and who we say we are not.
Making Failure Real (Sort Of)
You can make this process more effective and real by giving life to this experience.
We bring the consequences of failure forward, and use them to shape our behavior, simply by making them human.
Introducing Lazy Larry
Lazy larry loves to run. He runs all day. Sometimes he runs early, sometimes he runs over lunch. He runs all distances.
How can he be lazy, you ask? Well, Lazy Larry hates to take care of his body.
Larry never stretches. He doesn’t stop running when he feels pain in his calf.
Larry doesn’t have time to visit the physical therapist, he just pops some anti-inflammatories and keeps going.
If things get really bad, now he knows someone who can get him a cortisone shot to just make the pain go away.
I’m not great at self care, but I definitely don’t want to be a Lazy Larry. When I start to push off the need to take care of my body, the first “person” I think about is Larry.
Introducing Dozing Dora
Maybe taking care of your body is in your top priority or issue. Perhaps it’s more about managing your schedule, or making sure you get enough sleep.
We all know a Dozing Dora. Dora loves Netflix. Dora never watches one show at a time, has to be at least three in a row. Her favorite activity outside of training? Dora loves to stay up all night catching up on the latest shows and snacking away.
It should be no surprise then, the Dora absolutely loves the snooze button.
You think the alarm clock was her mortal enemy the way she punches it in the morning repeatedly.
As a result, Dora misses a lot of her workouts because she’s exhausted. Dora isn’t interested in training consistency unless that’s the name of some new show with Denzel Washington.
If she’s lucky, Dora can close her office door and take a nap. She’s a hard worker, and usually manages to “catch up” on her training and sleep on the weekends. However, by missing five out of the seven days of good training, she never really seems to break through to the next level.
Create A Character
Take a moment to think about the challenges you’re facing right now with your training. What specific behaviors are holding you back? Are you not hydrating enough? Do you skip all the warm-ups? Are you ignoring all the healthy food choices because they just don’t taste good?
There’s something that we all need to work on. when you’re ready, and you find a habit that is particularly sticky. One that you really have trouble breaking, try it out. Make your own athletic alter ego.
- Step One: Name the behavior.
- Step Two: Create the character’s name.
- Step Three: Describe the behavior you want to stop as a core part of the character’s identity.
Good luck with your training!
Please Note: Larry and Dora are fictional characters. If your name is Larry or Dora, we are sure you are awesome and crushing it!