So it has been a long time since my last post on this topic… I could say that I’ve been busy which is true but the truth is that I have procrastinated this topic because I believe it is SO important and has made such a huge impact on my skating throughout pretty much my whole life that I really wanted to get it right.
As always, I had so much to say that I didn’t even know where to start and the task seemed huge in my head and a little overwhelming! Mental training is so important to me that I felt like I needed to get it perfect and the thought sort of paralysed me. It has taken a while for me to reach the conclusion that the best way to start is to just start. As obvious as it seems, sometimes I just need to remind myself that I am one person. And as much as I want to achieve, success will not happen overnight.
So on that note, I decided that the best place to start is actually the very, very beginning and keep it as simple as possible. You might be thinking “duh” at this point but where to even begin…
G O A L S
Not often thought of as a powerful mental tool but it is. Everywhere you look on social media right now goals is sort of a new catchphrase and everything is “goals”. You can have goals about pretty much anything from relationship goals to body goals to brunch goals (yea… that’s a thing). But I’m talking about a slightly different type of goals.
T= Time frame
Yea, I hated it too. Ever since it got introduced to me at school and then again at uni, I hate it. It may work for some, but for me it was just a pain (sorry, coach!). I have a different mindset when it comes to goals. I always hated writing them down. To me, writing them down didn’t really help define them because that piece of paper was thrown away and never looked at again. Just because you wrote them down doesn’t mean you feel it in your soul. I always defined them in my head because I found that to be so much more powerful and personal to me. So here’s how I set goals:
1. Have a clear vision (kind of like my version of a long term goal)
I may not know what I wanna do with my life but I always know where I want to get to with skating. Your vision may not necessarily be results based (eg getting first at Nationals) or even performance based. It can simply be a feeling. If you’re an overly anxious person at competitions, your vision for skating may be to enjoy competitions. If you hate trainings but love competitions, your goal may be to simply enjoy every aspect of skating. Defining your vision may take some soul searching so I’ve written a few key questions to ask yourself that may help you get in touch with what you want.
– Why do you skate?
– Who do you skate for? If it’s anyone other than yourself, why not yourself?
– What would make you the happiest in general?
– What do you hope to gain from your skating?
Yea, that got deep and meaningful pretty fast (sorrynotsorry).
2. What are you going to do to make that happen?
It really is that simple. You want to win at Nationals? Then what do you need to work on to get there? You want to stop being anxious before competitions? What needs to be done to get you there? You want to learn to do an axel? Great! What do you need to do?
But it’s not just about what you’re going to do but also the who, where, when and how.
Who is going to help you make your vision a reality, how are they going to help you, who will support you, where can you find the support you need, when will you practise more, how will you get stronger, where will you find people or resources to help you get there…
3. What are you going to do today to make your goal a reality?
This is the most important. “Today” does not have to be just the day. It can be this month, this training session, this next hour, this minute, this second… The beauty of this method of thinking about goals is it’s PROACTIVE and unique to YOU. You decide how little or how big of a chunk out of your goal you want to take. It might be that today, you’re not even training but doing that piece of homework will mean that tomorrow you can go to training worry free. It might be that you’re at work with nothing to eat but you know you’ll have a crap rest of the day if you don’t get something nutritious to fill you up.
For me, I deal with lots of things in my head. My head is an interesting place. Sometimes it can get quite hostile. I have to constantly remind myself to take everything in small steps. So for me, it will always be this one question:
What can I do in this next hour that will get me closer to where I want to be tomorrow?
4. Celebrate each and every step. No matter how big or how small
Everyone thinks medals are the reward. That standing on the podium is somehow representative of how much work you put in. The reality is, only you know how much work you have put in. Of course medals and trophies are amazing. But they’re the icing on the cake. The cake is the blood sweat and tears that got you there. So why would you wait until months from now to celebrate your hard work?
You learned your straight line? Have a dance party! You learned how to three turn? Post it on social media! You managed to get through the day without breaking down? Eat some chocolate! You managed to make a healthy eating choice? Reward yourself with new clothes!
I hate the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff” because it’s the positive small stuff that counts! Everyone forgets that in order to build a freedance or to learn a jump you first had to learn each section of the jump or dance. So don’t forget to give yourself a break and truly celebrate every step of the way.
5. Your goal will look 100% different to everyone else’s.
For this section, I’m going to leave you with this quote:
“Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20″