It’s probably difficult to imagine your own brain become drastically stronger and more capable of handling a situation than it is right now simply because of how you THINK. How could telling yourself something different than what you usually tell yourself really have a measurable impact on the ACTIONS you take in your life? If you’ve always only been able to run 1 mile before needing to stop and rest, how could your MENTAL STATE actually lead you to running 1.5 or even 2 miles?
Chrissie Wellington is a 4-time Ironman Champion. She won her last Ironman after experiencing an injury just two weeks before the competition. And Chrissie is a strong believer in the fact that YOU CAN LEARN TO BE STRONGER. (Read Chrissie’s full article here at CNN.com.)
Chrissie says, after her latest win after enduring her latest injury, “I won the race, not on physical prowess, but on grit, willpower, determination and mental strength.”
Well, sure, that’s easy for a woman who has won four Ironman champion titles to say…she’sobviously gifted with a tenacity and physical awesomeness that the average person isn’t.
Or is she just like you and me? Is she simply human but has found a way to use her mind, a way to train her mind, to overcome impressive obstacles and push herself further?
Chrissie offers several key tips that she has found to be essential in her success, and they all focus on how she prepares her mind during her training, before and during her race. These key tips are also exactly what we coach people living with Type 1, Type 2, and Type 1.5 diabetes in their fitness and athletic goals at TeamWILD.org.
Here are a few of the best tips Chrissie discusses:
1. Create a mantra! We are all human, and we all have moments when we want to give up, give in, and get out! Chrissie emphasizes how important it is to a have a “go-to” phrase in your mind that means something to you, that empowers you, that reminds you why you are working so hard and enduring whatever challenge you’re in the middle of.
This applies not just to sports and physical training, but even regular “life things” like trying to find a new job, or trying to improve your nutrition habits. If you can remind yourself WHY you’re working so hard to accomplish your goal, you can combat those thoughts that are telling you to give up. You replace them with your one powerful thought: your mantra.
2. Visualize your success! Creating a vision of your success in your mind may seem silly to some, but I doubt you’ll find many champions and winners who don’t embrace this practice in their own endeavors. I remember before my very first powerlifting competition, I had no idea whether I could lift the numbers my coach had set for me, or what the other competitors were going to be lifting. But throughout all my nervousness leading up to competition day, I pictured myself deadlifting 300 lbs. for the first time in my life, and pictured myself being the strongest woman there. Does this guarantee that there isn’t another woman who could show up and be stronger than I am? No. But it guaranteed that I gave that competition everything I’ve got! And I hit every lift I aimed for, and set 7 records. My vision became a reality.
3. Aim for your goals for reasons outside of your own success. Imagine how much more inspired and empowered you might be if achieving your goal had an even more powerful impact on the people around you, instead of just on your life? Chrissie has used her athletic prowess and success as an avenue to promote charitable causes. When she trains every day and persists through the tumultuous challenges of an Ironman, there is a driving force behind her reminding her that succeeding impacts her ability to help other people. It’s not just about her. We humans are funny, we’re often likely to take better care of ourselves if we know others are relying on us. What or who in your life can benefit from your hard work and success?
In the end, Chrissie clearly put an immense amount of energy into more than just showing up for her training schedule. She looked at herself, at her goals, at her weaknesses, and who she wants to become. She purposefully put her energy in looking at the thoughts going into her head and how those thoughts are impacting her actions.
To strengthen YOUR THOUGHTS and BECOME THE ATHLETE you have only begun to dream about being, take a look at the many programs at TeamWILD.org. Get your head in the game!