Sport Psychology sounds complicated, or fancy, or like something that doesn’t apply to non-athletes. But in reality, we all use aspects of sport psych in our everyday lives – we just may not be using them to their full potential. I guarantee that the following 3 skills are put to use by YOU on a regular basis – and you that bet I know how you can utilize them even more effectively. Let me show you what I mean:
1. Goal Setting. Is this one too obvious? EVERYONE sets goals. A passing thought of: “I’m going to get that load of laundry done today” counts as a goal. Or even: “I WILL walk into Target and only get the three things on my list” – It’s important to note here that a lack of achieving a goal does not discount the fact that it was, in fact, a goal. So setting the goal is not the problem, we do it multiple times per day. Where we fall short, then, may be HOW we set goals. Instead of thinking about how you need to do that load of laundry, make a plan. Give it slightly more than a passing thought. Pick a time that you’ll have it started. Set yourself up for success. Another way to take your current goal setting process to the next level is to consider what “bigger goal” it is helping you get to. Maybe my bigger goal is to have saved X-amount of money by the end of the year and if I can just tunnel vision during my target run, I’ll be one step closer to that. When you put meaning behind your goals, it makes them a little more motivating and a little easier to achieve.
2. Self-Talk. This is HUGE for athletes, but it has a major place in the non-sport world as well. Everyone utilizes self-talk, but the bummer is that most people use it negatively. How many times per day do you think, say, or mutter under your breath things like “that was stupid” or “idiot” or “I’m the WORST AT REMEMBERING WHERE I PUT MY CAR KEYS” (side note: those first two don’t count if they were directed at the driver in the car in front of you. That’s just talk-talk; not self-talk). These thoughts that we have and things we direct at ourselves are examples of you using self-talk! Congratulations! The only problem here is: THAT’S how you use self-talk! The first step to improving your use of this skill is to realize that it is, in fact, a skill. For one day try to be super conscious of how you talk to yourself – spoilers: it might not be pretty. We are so often our own worst critic, and the main reason that’s a terrible thing is that we are never not listening to ourselves! We have enough people around that want to bring us down, so try being on your own team once in a while and feeding yourself some genuine, constructive, positive self-talk.
3. Visualization. This is a skill that is as complicated as you make it. If you are an athlete, it’s good to get real technical with it. The more heightened this skill is & the more realistic your mental image is, the better you’ll perform. If you’re not an athlete and think this skill doesn’t apply to you – wrong-o! Do you ever run a scenario through your mind before it actually happens? Do you ever picture a conversation and how it might go before having it? Visualization, my friend! You can be better/worse at it than the next person, but at the end of the day that’s what it is! But how do we make it even better? How do we capitalize on the fact that this is apparently a part of our regular routine? Lean into it. Write down the steps so that you have a prompt when you run it through your mind. Most importantly: picture a positive outcome! It’s so easy to go through the steps of visualizing, but then at the last minute you see yourself tripping over your words, or not being prepared. When this happens, correct it by redirecting it to a positive outcome. This is beneficial for your confidence, it helps improve your self-talk, and increases your mood in general.
If you don’t do ANY of these things in your day-to-day life, or if you have questions about how to further master these skills, PLEASE send us a message or an email. We’d love to chat.