Apologies for not updating more frequently! Busy times. I’ve had a blog post in the back of my mind for a while…
I’ve been thinking about the power of routine and good habits. How fostering a sense of ceremony around your sport and training can contribute to success. It strikes me that many of the most successful elite and amateur sports people I’ve ever known, in all sorts of sports, have their own ingrained habits and routines around training and race/event day. For some, it’s almost OCD. For others, it’s simply an automation, so everything that needs to happen just flows.
Do you have habits, routines and maybe even some slightly-odd quirks which you think contribute to being successful in your sport?
I’m not necessarily talking about success in competition. Although I think we all know that very personal habits on competition day can act as anchors, putting us in a positive mindset (whether that’s happy, relaxed, aggressive, confident, focused…)
I’m referring to the day-to-day habits some of us develop. Some are mindful: vision boards which take a while to create and compile, journalling every day, using countdown timers or calendars. . Some seem more instinctive: preparing for training in the same way every time, listening to music, getting yourself psyched up, using the drive to the gym to focus and get in the right headspace.
Here are some of the things I do – I’m a very visual, wordy person and get inspired by things I can see and read.
Vision boards: every year I create a new vision board for my competitive season. It can change as the year goes on but usually stays pretty much the same. I put it somewhere I’ll see it every single day (several times a day) and it can include things like photos of other competitors, photos of past competitors who inspire me, motivational quotes (maaaan), posters of events I’m training for, words which mean something to me.
Countdowns: I have a countdown app on my phone which ticks away the days and weeks (I realise some people would find this a lot of pressure – I find it motivating and exciting).
I also did this last year, although I haven’t done it yet (with nearly 40 weeks til my competition, I don’t think I’ve got enough Post-Its. Or enough bathroom wall!) I loved taking that day’s sticky paper off the wall whilst I was brushing my teeth every night. HAVE IT, “10 DAYS TO GO!” 😉
Calendars: I’ve got an A4 calendar of the year in my kitchen, with competition dates marked in red, and the weeks written on counting backwards from the main event. Every day of prep which I complete to my satisfaction gets a black cross. Days which aren’t as good get a red mark. Last year’s calendar was fascinating (I’d show you but I threw it away). Quite frequent red marks at the start of the year. Barely a single one by the end of the season.
The Fridge of Motivation
I think I’ve posted a photo of my fridge before? It’s no ordinary fridge… in that it’s absolutely plastered with quotes, photos, words which motivate (and scare me a little!) It also has a small square of magnetic whiteboard on it, on which I write very specific goals. Obviously – being my FRIDGE – I end up seeing this many times every day!
Of course there’s also the more obvious things which I think help success in any sport, fitness or healthier living goal: making sure you have a training plan, preparing ahead of time, knowing when you’ll train (putting it in your diary if necessary), having your gym bag ready at all times.
How about you? Do you do any of these things, or anything similar? How about very different habits or routines which keep you focused and motivated?
Or do you think I’m completely mad? 😉 It’s OK… I can take it… brb just off to walk up the street backwards with a saucepan on my head so the aliens can’t send signals to my brain *twitch*
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.