What does it mean to have the mindset of an Olympian? It’s having the attitude that every day is the Olympics – everything you do, from your sleep to your training schedule, will affect how you perform at the Olympics. Whether you’re actually going to the Olympics or not, having this type of mindset will set you up for success. Former Olympian Samantha Clayton says “being an Olympian requires both a physical and mental focus. Dedication and sacrifice must become a natural part of your daily lifestyle.”
Strong Mental Habits
“Success comes from creating positive mental habits like using daily affirmations and learning how to push past failure – turning every struggle into a lesson to grow from. Having a set physical routine that includes optimal nutrition, ample rest and suitable recovery will compliment your athlete mindset,” says Clayton.
Creating strong mental habits takes practice and consistency. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some tips to get you started:
- Start a journal: start recording all your accomplishments related or unrelated to your journey.
- Practice the habit of saying no: the end goal is to do this without remorse. This will help to cultivate confidence within yourself that will translate through your athletic performance.
- Visualization: you don’t want to solely focus on the goal, but also how you will attain that goal and what will it feel like.
QiGong Master, Chris Shelton suggests looking in the mirror focusing on your eyes while reciting “I choose to co-create with the Universe that I have acceptance overall situations. I am beautiful, confident, and strong. Things always work out for me.”
Listen to your body
Seasoned gymnast and Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin in an interview for Aaptiv magazine explains that it’s important to listen to your body. In the interview, she says “I wasn’t always the best at doing this because I felt like I was getting behind. Even now I still try to listen to my body, I work out almost every day of the week and if I wake up exhausted from traveling or have an ache I try not to push myself to extremes.”
Your body will actively give you warning signs when you are exercising. In addition, it will let you know when you need to rest. It’s important to be aware of these signs so that you don’t create further injury which can jeopardize your training.
Nastia also shared in the interview that she did a lot of visualizing when she was dealing with an injury. By not being able to move her body physically she imagined what the movements would look like in her head. She explains that it was like muscle memory in her mind.
Believe in affirmations
The goal of this practice is to not doubt yourself and your abilities. Affirmations can offer encouragement and infuse an optimistic outlook. With this type of mindset in place, it can make working towards your goals more focused.
These affirmations are not about proclaiming them to others but more so about proclaiming them to yourself. You can create your own or use some popular ones like the greatest affirmation of all times by Muhammad Ali “I am the greatest.”
You can write these down in your journal, on a note-pad, say them out loud or to yourself throughout the day. Eventually this will help to mitigate negative self-talk and unhelpful internal dialogue.