I’m not an Olympic athlete – nowhere near that type of physical devotion to a sport. As many of us, I’m in awe of the dedication, passion and heart of the proud Olympic medal winners. I’ve listened to the stories of single-minded dedication that turned their hopes into dreams, dreams into goals and goals into gold.
During years of watching the various Olympic games, I read stories of athletes who have trained for years to eagerly participate in a few days of competition. I marvel at the Olympian’s single-minded commitment and concentration. What does it take to turn a goal into gold? Can I, an everyday person, have that same dedication and focus for my own goals?
Studying the biographies of gold medal athletes I began seeing a pattern emerge – a pattern of focus, belief, choices and action. The same pattern that we can use in our own lives to turn goals into gold.
Ask any world-class athlete and they will tell you that as important as the physical game, some say may be even more important, is the mental game. What exactly is the “mental game” and why is it important to achieving goals?
In my opinion, the mental game of turning goals into reality is our ability to focus and remain focused on what is important to setting and achieving goals. It is also the ability of our mind to act and react positively under pressure. As I read about gold medal athletes, four key elements of their “mental game” became clear:
1. Focus – the ability to concentrate on the end result. A gold medal athlete never loses sight of what they were aiming toward – winning the gold medal.
2. Belief – top athletes believe they are the best in their chosen sport. They train not only physically to win but mentally as well. They train to emotionally hold tight to the belief that they can and will take home the gold.
3. Action – gold medal winners train constantly and consistently to be the best in their sport. Natural talent is important but for gold medal athletes, it is the combination of physical and mental preparedness that can make the difference between hope for gold and holding a gold medal. World-class athletes are dedicated to doing what it takes to turn natural talent into gold.
4. Choices – winners know that the quality of their choices make the difference between wearing the gold medal and going home empty handed. It’s the same for us; the quality of our day-to-day choices can make the difference between dreaming about our goals and actually achieving them.
How does your goal achieving “mental game” stack up against the dedication and focus of our gold medal Olympians? Are you willing to mentally, and physically, focus on
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