Even if you’ve got regular mental training practice, your mind can easily start to play tricks on you. Your thoughts impact how you see your performance, the people around you, or even yourself in an untrue way. It is important to address any mental blocks as they can affect how well you train, knock your self-confidence, and even affect the relationships around you. This blog will address three common thinking traps and some tools to address these mental blocks.
A perfectionist is someone who has a personality that strives for flawlessness. This is often accomplished through fixating on imperfections, trying to control situations, working hard, or being critical of self (and even others). It is awesome to be self-driven and highly motivated but when perfectionism sneaks in there is a downside. One of them is that there are uncontrollable that can derail your hopes and intentions.
For example, let's say you had a bad night's sleep, you are stressed out at work, and then had a fight with your partner before starting your training set. It begins to rain and the wind picks up. You are not hitting the numbers that you set out to achieve. You can be angry or upset with yourself by the time you finish your training set or look at the adversity and be proud that you got out and did the set despite all the circumstances that you endured. You had to fight through distraction, fatigue, and the adverse weather to even start the session, let alone finish it. Rather than quitting, you did the full workout, which, even though it was slower than you’d hoped, still got you one day closer to reaching your goals.
2. A full-blown catastrophe
It is easy to magnify a small issue into a full-blown catastrophe. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging a problem when it arises. But if you dwell on it for too long and start to fixate or obsess, it can become a much bigger issue in your mind than it is in reality. Try and always put things into perspective.
Let’s take injury as an example. You go out for a trail run and hurt your knee. You have done this a couple of times and know that this means you are out of training for a couple of weeks. When you get home, the knee is swollen and you were right, you need to rest and let this injury settle before putting more pressure on it. But, you still have your upper body and the rest of the body that can get strong. It is not the end of the world… even if this is a setback in your training.
3. Negative Self-Talk
If you want to succeed the most important person you need to believe in is yourself. You need to build your confidence up. This can be done by swopping negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Be kind to yourself. You matter.
Let’s say that you are running late for a Pilates class and forget to bring your sticky for your class. You only realise when you get there, and immediately think to yourself, “I’m such an idiot.” Then you berate yourself again when you drop your car keys as you get out of your car. You are running a couple of minutes late. These few things might seem small, but if repeated often enough, they chip away at your confidence and make you into your own worst enemy. The way you talk to yourself matters.
Training the mind matters. The way you talk to yourself matters and the way you think about yourself also matters. It is easier to focus on the physical when training. It is equally important to train the mind. This starts with the awareness and the will to make micro changes. Start to reroute yourself to an even more successful path.