Train The Mind - Strengthening Your Mental Game
There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.
Heard that one before? Yup. While we often wish there was just a shortcut to success - you have to ask yourself the question: Wouldn't it be more rewarding to be challenged?
I felt drawn to writing this blog post to share with anyone who feels a little "set-back" from their original plan. I don't necessarily mean monetarily, even though sometimes it does feels like you get a little more ahead just to have a new car repair expense or hot water tank to replace.
What ignited this for me this week had to do with preparations for a jiu jitsu (martial arts) competition that I'm training for. Like always, when I spend time doing jiu jitsu, it always provides me with a parallel into life and life's challenges.
In case some of you aren't familiar with my love for jiu jitsu, it's a big part of my life even though I do find myself sometimes going weeks without being able to train because of work or my kids (you know, normal adult stuff). I worked out really hard last week and was feeling really strong and felt great progress. This week, however, I found myself feeling super defeated. Just felt low. Wasn't executing anything I wanted, and I played defense the whole time. While it's not the most enjoyable, everybody has days like this.
So what can you do when you're experiencing a a bad day, a mental road block?
1. Take a breath.
2. Redirect your thoughts (negative to positive).
3. Keep moving forward.
4. Reflect and make a plan.
5. Practice it.
When I did the above, I was able to bring myself back to positive place - with some insights into the "challenge". I realized I had gone a few days without my morning yoga and meditation. I wasn't able to get to jiu jitsu this week, but I also wasn't taking the time at home to do any solo training either.
So upon reflection - there's 2 things to keep in mind - whether it's a sports competition, landing a new client at work, or even preparing for childbirth.
1. The more you work on your mental game, the stronger you become in all aspects of your life.
2. Success comes with work.
Then, that feeling of achievement for working hard at something becomes worth the struggle. It builds your resiliency. It strengthens you and motivates you to work harder. You appreciate it more and you become proud.
Build your practice and do it daily. I can't say that enough. Make. the. time. Breathwork, meditation... whatever it is for you. Spend the time doing it because the block is ALWAYS a result of our headspace. Reprogram your subconscious thoughts. Train your thoughts and the rest will follow.
As a Kids Yoga Teacher, this is truly what I'm trying to pass onto my kids - the routine and how fundamental it is for our ability to recognize problems, work past them, and cope. My hope with this is to build-children-up, building their mental capacity and giving them tools to help them as they reach different stages in their lives. (A practice in gratitude helps immensely with this).
When life's getting you down and you feel like giving up - keep going. When you're running stairs and your legs are burning, focus on each step at a time (you'll get to the top). When you're feeling burnt out - go to bed early and get a fresh start tomorrow.
Remember, it's always going to be a dance between knowing when to draw the line and when to keep pushing; but what's getting you to push past these challenges is a practice in strengthening your mental game.
And those annoying draw-backs?
I love the analogy of the rubber band: The pull-back is necessary to propel you forward.