How tenacious are you? Do you set goals and stick with them? The missing ingredient in the toolbox of many an athlete is psychological: the desire to win. Sometimes will to win beats skill to win. Here, we showcase five tips on how to be more tenacious.
Remember That Success Never Falls Into Your Lap
Talent is just something you’re born with, right? Wrong. Take, for example, one of the greatest athletes of all time, heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. Ali had a reputation as a natural, which he cemented by saying that he moved like a butterfly and stung like a bee. But Ali was far from just innately gifted. He worked out like a maniac with enormous misgivings, steeling himself to succeed. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion,” Ali once said, proving the value of discipline. In similar spirit, ace golfer Gary Player once said: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” So, next time you are working out and you feel your will start to flag, remember that even the greatest athletes of all time had to struggle for success: a motivating thought in itself.
Set Clear Goals
Don’t treat goals as just something you score. Mental goals are the bedrock of your success, according to motivation coach, Brian Tracy, in Eat that Frog!
“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement,” Tracy writes. Thrash out and express just what your goals are. Do you want to run faster, jump higher, or just build stronger muscles? Define how much faster, how much higher and how many kilos you want to be able to benchpress. Be plain and exact. Hazy, fuzzy aims lack oomph and are hard to concentrate on. In sharp contrast, strong, persuasive goals hold your attention — and drive you to action, usually. Beware of setting precarious “outcome goals” like winning gold at the next X Games. Instead, go for doable performance goals less dependent on luck and fate. That way, you are less likely to “choke” under pressure or go into sore loser mode if you fare poorly compared to your rivals.
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One way to make your goals more achievable is to write them down in plain ink. When you can physically see your goals staring at you, you are less likely to tuck them away at the back of your brain where you may forget them. Get bureaucratic: post sticky notes on the fridge, because the kitchen is one room that everyone frequents. A plus of this tactic is that your buddies can keep you accountable – likewise, if they publish their goals, you can return the favor That way everyone is pushed to reach those public targets. Alternatively, make your goals clearly personally visible – “in your face” – by displaying them on your smart phone. Most smart phones boast some kind of scheduler, task manager, or calendar that lets you punch in reminders. So exploit the technology. Digitally make yourself face the fact that you plan to skydive faster than Felix Baumgartner or conquer Yosemite’s meanest peaks by Christmas, say.
Get A Grip On Fear
Everyone feels the occasional wave of fear. The person who never experienced fear was never born. So instead of beating yourself up about any anxiety that you may feel, stop judging. Embrace the fear. Fretting about your perceived inability to man up is a terrible time-waster – the neurosis stops you getting started and staying on the case when the going gets hard. So strive to objectify fear. Examine it as you might look at a hockey ball in your hand. Figuratively roll it around – scrutinize the emotion from multiple angles, then ask yourself a simple question: “Is the fear justified?” The answer may well be in the negative, which means that the emotion’s stranglehold should loosen. For further inspiration, heed the words that the 32nd President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered during his 1933 inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” True to his word, Roosevelt saved the economy and helped humble Hitler.
Take it to heart
Finally, boost your tenacity by internalising just how much that it matters. Make tenacity your core value because it is the magic ingredient in success in whatever field that you operate. The 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, said it best: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” If you take Coolidge’s attitude that grit is the key trait in your arsenal, with luck you will handle any headwind or roadblock that poses a threat to your success. Even if your fitness level is stratospheric, that will only take you so far, if you lack the vital mental toughness.