How DO you stay so positive?!I've been asked recently, how do you stay positive? And the answer to that is actually partly not being positive all the time and partly... a lot of practice. But, no worries! I’ve some top tips to share with you and your athlete.
In sport, to learn a skill, say for example a backflip, requires you to learn certain things and to keep practicing and keep working at it. And it is the same with positivity. It is a habit that you can cultivate.
So if you feel, Oh, I'm not a very positive person, that isn’t always the whole truth - you can actually develop it. It just takes a little bit of choice and time. And to develop these athletic skills and goals certainly takes a positive mindset so it all goes hand in hand.
Here’s my three point plan for positivity:
1) Look for the good stuff
Now I don't really know why, but as humans we seem to be hardwired for negativity. Like how five great things go your way but then one bad thing happens and it’s all you can think about? Yes, that! It’s human nature. So, we have to work a little harder at amplifying the good stuff.
Fortunately, there is a part of our brain that helps us with this. Have you ever been considering buying something and all of a sudden you see the item EVERWHERE? Maybe it’s a certain type of car, or a particular coloured piece of clothing. That’s because your brain is tuning into it. And we can do this with looking for the really great stuff in life to help us feel more balanced.
We do this here with our team here at Affinity – we have a monthly ‘good stuff’ report, which everyone fills out the positives and the little wins they have had. And having this report to do, now means we’re training our brains to automatically see more of these things in future. Cool huh?
Another way to develop this is to reflect. At the end of a training session, think of at least 5 things that went well. If you can’t come up with any, look again, there is always something. Or use one of the negatives and see if you can reframe it. For example, ‘I couldn’t do my backflip today’ could be a negative thing you feel badly about. But if it’s reframed into ‘I couldn’t do my backflip today, but I learnt that I need to improve my core strength to be able to do it, so I’ll go and work on that,’ that’s a REALLY positive and constructive thought.
2) Be okay with knowing that you won’t be positive all the time
There are ups and downs. The game isn’t removing the downs, it’s how you respond to them that counts.
Big challenges happen. You don’t need to be mean to yourself about it on top of it all. I mean, that's just nuts (yet totally happens to us all, another human nature thing!).
My advice is to first breathe. Let it wash over you a little bit. Take a minute to realise what you are in, as that realisation gives you a little bit of stability to stand on. A little place to just pause and then think about how you want to react.
Then, know that all the best stuff comes from adversity. It’s a surprising motivator. It’s actually not a set back at all but is in fact a gift (even if that gift is really badly wrapped).
3) Have a great reason
Otherwise why bother? These tips so far take a fair bit of effort. But it’s totally worth it.
That Olympian who trained her whole life and missed out, but went back into the gym and made the team next time? How good must that feel?
The athlete who spent months or years developing a certain skill and then finally they do it – it’s a sweet moment. And so much more so when it’s been worked for. It means more.
Now sometimes having a big long term goal like the Olympics, or a young child looking at the older athletes performing and wanting to be like that, works great. It’s a big long term thing to be guided by, especially at times when it’s not going so great – like a map showing you the bigger picture.
Sometimes, that feels too far away, like it’s a bit of a pipe dream. In this case, something smaller and shorter term can work better.
For me, whilst I have a bigger picture vision of where me, Affinity and Sapphire are going, I’m finding that especially in this current climate of extra challenge, fierce determination towards short term goals is helping me.
It might even be a ‘just for today’ type of mindset. Just for today I’m going to look for the good stuff.
Not easy…. But practice makes it possible
What are you going to practice doing now?
Have any of these tips helped you feel more positive? Please let us know.
Leave a comment or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you.