I realized that I was a little ambitious last week with my goal-setting. The transition from relaxing on the beach to getting back to work and lifting has been rough. Thankfully using my pre-determined refocus cues has helped me get through some challenging moments.
For the next 9 weeks I will just be presenting you the lowlights (what needs to be improved) and highlights (what went well) of my mental skills training program, as well as how I plan on adapting the components of my mental workout to future weeks in order to be prepared for April 8th. Though I was able to get my first hour of posing practice in the books (you can see a short video on my personal Instagram account), I was unable to put in the time for daily research and finding competitors I admire. I also realized how hard it is to change my routine and put in the effort to consciously think about following my mental workout everyday. Having implementing this type of training to my preparation has definitely helped me understand what my clients go through when they do the same.
The following are my lowlights - hopefully you can relate to having similar challenges and perhaps get ideas of how to move forward.
Lowlight 1: On some days I forgot to implement my mental workout. Moving forward: I will schedule in time to do it in my agenda, and put visual reminders on my training program so that I remember to use cues when lifting.
Lowlight 2: I didn’t accomplish my goal of daily research/watching videos of competitions, which led to failure in finding 2 professional figure competitors that I admire (as mentioned in “Chapter 2”, this will help me with substitution imagery). Moving forward: Since the ambitious goal of researching for 20-minutes a day did not work out, I will set a more realistic goal of researching at least 3 times this week. I found that when I did research, it was for at least half an hour, so I will just have to make sure to get more time in this upcoming week.
It is so easy for us to dwell on past mistakes, get caught up in a spiral of negative self-talk, worry, and get stuck on the dark side. All this is normal, and can be healthy as long as you learn from your mistakes, move forward, and end on a positive note.
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” - Frank A. Clark
Here my highlights from my mental skills training last week, and how I plan on staying consistent with those behaviors:
Highlight 1: When I remembered to implement my breathing technique into my lifting sessions, it helped me when I needed to refocus. I was able to play with the 2-to-1 ratio and realize that the magic numbers for me are 3 and 6 seconds. Maintaining consistency: Because I am more of a visual person, I will write the numbers 3 and 6 on my training program so that I will see it when I lift - hopefully this will remind me to use the strategy on a daily basis!
Highlight 2: With the help of two colleagues, I was able to practice walking and posing in those dreaded 5-inch heels. I expected to only practice for 30 minutes, but we went on for about an hour, and to my surprise, I was able to walk comfortably the whole time. Using substitution imagery helped me get into the right mindset when I was practicing the walks and poses. I definitely feel more confident than I did a few days ago! Maintaining consistency: To make sure I am not stressed and worried about practicing posing, I entered practice times into my calendar. Because my agenda is pretty much my bible, this works for me (you may have to play around with other strategies) and allows me to build on my confidence once again.
Highlight 3: When I remembered to implement my performance and identity statements, it helped me get in the right head space before doing those gruelling last sets that make you wonder why you torture yourself at the gym. I realized that I used only a few cues that I had planned to. It is normal for the MST program to be constantly changing, so it is good that I am aware of what cues work for me at this point in my preparation. Maintaining consistency: I need to remember to implement the mental workout everyday and use the strategies when the opportunity comes. This upcoming week I will write down the cues that I found useful directly on my training program (beside the numbers 3 and 6) to help me remind myself to use them.
Though I did not accomplish all my goals last week, it is important for me to realize my successes in order to continue to build on my confidence. One of the first things I tell my clients to do is to start a Highlight Journal. By writing down what went well at the end of your day, it forces you to end your day on a positive note, as well as think about what needs to be improved. The importance of reflection and self-awareness is key to any behavior change and listing lowlights and highlights can definitely help you with any of your goals, whether short-term or long-term. This week I challenge you to start a Highlight Journal - have fun!