Athletes looking to take their game to new levels in 2017 might find that the best way to do this is to begin by taking control of decisions and life choices. Being proactive, setting goals, developing specific strategies, and asking mentors for advice are all tangible examples of being in control, and psychology research backs this approach up scientifically, too.
Control & stress
Psychology studies reveal that when we feel in control of our lives, our levels of stress react in an inverse manner (meaning the more control you experience, the less stress you feel; and conversely the less control, the more stress you experience). Interestingly, even when you feel in control of your life (but really aren’t), you will still experience less stress than when compared to others who don’t feel like they have much control over the outcomes of their lives. What all this means, simply, is that being in control is a huge first step to massive, positive changes in life.
When we take steps to develop game plans in life and then follow those scripts, we steer our thinking away from fear and the threat of failing, and instead experience emotions tied to excitement, anticipation, and hope. As you might imagine, we also typically experience a lot more success as a result of our forward-thinking and the excitement that accompanies that mindset.
How to get started
Yes, it’s a new year so look at it as a new beginning to your future success! Remember, change can happen in a moment’s notice, but only if you’re fully on board and committed to the changes that need to take place. In order to help you get started and gain better control of your future (and thereby less stress as a result), consider the following ideas and tips:
- New year, new scorecard. This one is pretty simple — you have a blank slate to work from so make the commitment now that this will be your best year yet.
- Set goals. Research clearly shows that goals allow us to specify targets and align our thinking and behaviors, so start the new year off by writing out specific, measurable, controllable goals you can monitor throughout the year.
- Prepare your days. Taking control of your life means minimizing the time each day where you are left to simply react to circumstances, and one way to do that is to learn how to schedule, multi-task, and delegate when needed. The more you control your schedule, the less you will feel stressed that you are behind on things.
- Seek mentoring every day. Look around at the great minds that surround you — are you using these amazing resources in the best ways possible? Make sure to ask for feedback, and listen closely to the advice you receive.
- Read an autobiography. One suggestion I make to the athletes I work with is to read at least one autobiography a year, and pay close attention to all the stress, adversity, frustration, and failure our heroes have had to overcome along their path to greatness. Most people don’t realize that the great ones often pay big prices in order to be the best, and one way to learn this is to read their own words.
Stop fumbling around hoping to fall upon success, instead, take the steps necessary to make it happen. The first step is to take full control of your life, and by doing so your will almost immediately see a decline in the amount of negative stress you experience. In fact, with each small success you will witness your confidence grow, which in turn will trigger even more excitement for taking more positive steps in the future. Take your game from good-to-great in 2017, and make it a point to start today!