5 Great Tips from Sports Professionals on How to Stay Focused on Your Goals
How many years in a row have you made a New Year’s resolution to be more active and get fit, only to see it fizz out by late January or February? Life, work, and family, are factors we all have to deal with, so it’s no wonder that 80 percent of resolutions fail. However, unless you change your way of thinking, joining gyms or dieting is doomed to fail because the lofty goals you set are superficial. How do sports professionals do it? Let’s have a look at 5 tips to help you stay focused on your goals.
Process Before Results
While we tend to focus on the results, the process of getting there tends to be overlooked. Speaking to New York Magazine marathon runner Brenda Martinez said that it is best to shift your focus from the goal itself to the process that gives you the best chance of achieving it. Professional athletes do not focus purely on the goal of winning, but rather on the proper strategies and processes for success. The point is to assess yourself based on how well you execute the process which gets you to your goals.
In sports and in any activity, it is important to be dynamic and know when to change your level of focus and adapt to changing situations. Jared Tendler told PartyPoker that shifting gears allows a player to change how they’re playing against a specific opponent. Think of it as shifting gears in a car; when you’re focused on your poker hand you’re in 5th gear and when you’re not in a hand, you can allow yourself to shift into 3rd gear to save mental energy. As long as you are still focused on the task at hand, your level of focus can vary so that you can stay on top of your game.
Professional athletes in all sports review tapes of both their opponents and of themselves to see what was effective and what was not, so that they can improve. Sports psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino believes that you can apply the same process to help stay focused. She recommends thinking back and remembering what you did on the days you were distracted. What distracted you? When you start getting distracted review your mental tapes to see where you felt focused.
Regulate your Emotions
Elite athletes know which emotions help them perform at their best and which can be destructive. Honing your skills to be self-aware and regulate your emotions are key to staying focused on your goals. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky said in an interview with Vogue that her Zen-like attitude towards pressure is staying focused on her goals no matter what pressures are around her. Paying close attention to your emotions, and thinking about how you feel when you are trying to stay focused is key. Get yourself in the right frame of mind when you set your goals.
Overthinking is often more common than positive thinking and can lead to loss of focus and motivation. Use positive images when you set a goal and become aware of any opposing ones early on. Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Sports Psychologist and winner of the San Francisco Marathon, states that negative thinking is common: everyone has an inner critic. The key is to acknowledge this early on and the focus on the positives.
Staying focused in the New Year may be a bit easier when you change the outlook of your goals. Humor is an important aspect that is often overlooked. A staff writer previously wrote on duPont Registry Tampa Bay that she believes when you deconstruct the things that may be problems in your life, you can creatively approach them with laughter and your whole outlook changes. It can help you stay focused and mindful of your goals.