Anyone with a good understanding of bodybuilding, power lifting, or pushing yourself in general knows that the physical aspect is only half the battle. The ability to mentally prepare yourself for a task that may overwhelm you is much more important. The task could range from running an extra ten to twenty seconds full speed or squatting three times your body weight for one full rep. It doesn’t matter how grueling the weight is, how far the distance is, or the time limit you have. The ability to focus on something and maintaining that concentration is very important. This bring me to my first piece of advice.
Take the time to prepare yourself, both body and mind. Your mind controls your body. If you begin to think you feel an ache somewhere, unless you rule out that it was just a fluke, sooner or later you’ll develop pain. It’s the same for a breaking a goal.
If you’ve been working on a long term goal for several months and achieving it is within arms distance, prepare yourself for it. Take the precautions necessary (stretching, vitamins and minerals for joints, knee or elbow wraps) to push through.
Visualize yourself performing the goal in your head. Go through every single detail, explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, and watch yourself performing it. Concentrate on that vision as you take the time to prepare yourself for the performance.
Right before it happens, close your eyes, take a deep breath, relax. Calm yourself down temporarily until you can feel or hear your heart beat. Watch yourself squat your way to a new record or break your fastest mile run time in your head. When you feel that you can and WILL accomplish it, you’ll know inside of you that you can. Which brings me to my third idea.
“Tell yourself that you cannot lose!” Famous words from former Mr. Olympia Tom “Mr. Legs” Platz. As his nickname depicted, he was known for his tremendous leg development. And his words are just as ground breaking as his legs and the weight he moved with them.
When you begin to struggle, tell yourself that you CANNOT lose. Refuse to. Think back to all the work you’ve accomplished to stand where you are now. That last ten seconds or extra 10 pounds can be pushed through. Before you can realize it, after you shatter an old goal, you’ll look back and think to yourself, “I won!”
To this day, I’m not 100% sure of the definition of mental strength is. I may not understand until years from now if I do at all. I don’t see this as a bad thing, though. Stay hungry for knowledge and through experience, you’ll gain just that. Above all else, keep your head up and stay safe.