When we set a goal, the big ticket buy-in is emotion, so it’s vital to work on our mental fitness.
To reach our training goals, commitment and persistence are only one part of the puzzle. Ultimately, it’s emotional investment that will keep you pedalling when you face tough setbacks.
By linking emotion to our goals, we’re investing in our own sense of purpose and reminding ourselves why we set the goal and why it matters.
Goal-setting processes often get so hung up on the ‘how’ that they often neglect the most fundamental question: “why do we care?”
Emotion brings with it inspiration, passion, purpose, connection and meaning. It’s the driving force that will help us get from the state of where we are to where we want to be. (In our case – it’s the United Energy Around the Bay finish line.)
Without emotional connection, we are merely putting forward a goal and hoping we don’t sabotage it with our own worst behavioural traits.
Essentially, mindset, mental training and mental imagery should be part of any goal. That’s why we should spend a good portion of time developing good practices.
These will not only assist us today with our United Energy Around the Bay riding goals, but in every part of your life today and beyond.
“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney
Revisit your ‘why’
This activity is all about getting your head in the game. It’s a great activity to help clear the mind so you may choose to do this while out on a ride.
Revisit your why by spending a few minutes reflecting on the following questions:
- What will you do on the day to make your dream come to life?
- What might go wrong and how will you overcome adversity?
- What mindset strategy will you use to stay on track?
- What will you think when you start to hurt or it gets hard?
- Do you have a mantra or words of power that you can use to bring you back?
- Have you developed some processes to follow that lead you to success?
- How will you react when something goes wrong and do you have a plan?
- What does this look like to succeed?
- What does it feel like to succeed?
- What will you do when you succeed?
While it’s important to build your fitness and stamina, you’ll limit your success if you only focus on the physicality of riding.
When we invest emotionally in to a goal by focusing on why, we feel heartfelt enthusiasm, and will move heaven and earth to guarantee its success.
Take the time to get your mind set in order and the sky is the limit.
Start investing in best case scenario
Most people are wired to jump to the worst case scenario — it’s our default action.
What if you get it right, what if your goals are doable, what if your training works, what if you don’t get dropped and what if you finish the event?
This line of thinking all begins with how we think and our ability to replace negative thinking with positive thoughts.
But why should you even invest in this? What difference will it make?
When you train your brain you:
- Set new limits
- Visualise scenarios
- Visualise emotional good and bad
- Improve self awareness
- Assess strengths and weaknesses
- Improve resilience
- Develop processes for how to manage things you can control and things you cannot
- Develop self talk and the ability to re-frame negative thoughts or actions into positive helpful thinking
- Develop imagery that assists with difficult situations – eg: a magnet pulling you uphill as you pedal effortlessly
- Develop micro processes that keep you in present and in control – eg: pedaling technique, breathing
- Welcome pain or discomfort as a message to take action, and learn to welcome this
- Improve your ability to continue to refocus and use all of your tools within your mind to allow the body to co-operate and continue to complete the task at hand
- Dream big, take a chance and let go of the fear of failure. Know that you will learn so much more in the doing this, regardless of the result.
It is only when you begin to positively train your mind and practice it regularly, that you will start to really reap the rewards physically.
Physical vs. Mental
Your body can stand up to almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.
How do we practically link physical performance with mindset? Here’s four steps and some exercises to help simplify the process.
- Dream – the mind is engaged with emotion and possibility.
- Act/do – action can be taken to fulfill the vision. This is the tangible part – develop a plan and stick to it. Set reasonable time frames.
- Push outside comfort zone to progress – to do what we’ve never done we must do what we’ve not yet done. This requires faith and belief in our vision and requires that purpose driven why. Work hard and be consistent.
- Assess, review and address – as we push outside the comfort zone, the mind can adapt to new possibilities, and as that occurs, it allows the body to adapt beyond its last limits.
As you progress towards your goals, keep acknowledging and appreciating how far you’ve come. Keep reviewing and practicing a positive mindset using the four steps above.
It’s important to stop and reflect on how your achievement is going to bring you closer to the feeling you’ll have upon completing your overall goal.