Top athletes use several techniques to get them over and around obstacles and moving towards their goals.
How bad do you want to work and finish the drill? Do you have the skills to get it done? Check out these tips to breaking through mental barriers.
Tip #1: Know your fears and reverse them
You must know everything that you truly believe about this goal – by listing down on paper the very first feelings that enter your head when you imagine ‘achieving your goal’, giving special attention to any fears that come up in your mind. These fears are the mental roadblocks you must overcome to achieve your goal, as otherwise they can be the very things that prevent you ‘turning it on’ when you need it most in the pool.
Look at these fears you must overcome, sitting there on the piece of paper. Now, each day, you have to work positively on reversing each of these before your race arrives, by constantly instilling confidence into your daily visualization, your affirmations and your daily thoughts – steadily increasing your power and diminishing the fear.
Tip #2: Break down barriers into micro goals (also called “chunking”)
This way the task may not seem so big.
Take one little step at a time and always forward.
Tip #3: Compartmentalize your problems
If you start any race, run or even casual training routine with a bad attitude, your mental barriers will grow into mountains. If you are having problems in your personal life, don’t think about it.
Tell yourself that you will worry when you get back. Run with a clear mind. Focus on the beauty of the scenery, the sky or how proud you are of your own body, and the fact that you are running.
Video – How Bad Do You Want It?
Tip #4: Be willing to take risks
If you always stay and play it safe, you won’t grow. You’ll stay scared and always working from a place of fear. This is how you stay stuck. Risks can mean failure but it’s failure that pushes us harder to grow and it’s how we learn.
No risks, no learning. No learning, no growth.
Tip #5: Learn how to eat well
Eat nutritious meals before the run, because good mental attitude relies partly on proper nourishment. Certain foods actually feed your brain what it needs to think clearly. For example, carbohydrates are fuel for the body as well as the mind. The better your body feels, the less likely you are to have mental barriers.
Drink plenty of fluids that contain electrolytes, which create better brain-to-muscle communication. Electric signals pass through nerves using electrolytes as conductors. Staying well-hydrated will help break down mental and physical barriers while running.
Tip #6: Find your focus
Top athletes know their goals and where to apply focus.
Read this quote from Ian Thorpe, world record swimmer:
“As soon as I got back in the water after the Olympics (10 months ago), I’ve been preparing myself for this meet and focusing on every single one of my swims. I am usually the hardest person to race against. I try to do the best I can, no matter on what level. I didn’t care what anyone else was doing, I just prepared myself to race” he said.
Tip #7: Believe in yourself
What you believe will always determine what you achieve. Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lebron James, Herschel Walker, Tiger Woods….none of them could have won their events without knowing deep down that it was actually possible. That’s right, before they went out there to race, they knew they could win. Not that they would win, but that they could.
Tip #8: Read good info
“You will be transformed by what you read.” ― Deepak Chopra”. You are the daily sum of what you read and absorb.
If your mind is filled with clutter and junk – then how can you transform your ideas to become successful? Top athletes exercise their mind just like the muscles in their bodies. They carefully select information and feed their minds to make them strong. You must do the same. Pick a good book and spend 5 minutes a day reading. Your mind is a muscle and you must build it.
Tip #9: Be coachable
Anyone can be on a journey to greatness. You have to find a master (Sensei) to help you on your course – but also be willing to submit and learn under the master. Sometimes athletes believe they know it all or are unwilling to absorb the higher teachings from the Master. You must be coachable and willing to learn.
Tip #10 Find a mentor
Find a coach or a group of people that aspire to help each other to move forward (mastermind group). If these athletes are at a higher level than you then this will make you work harder to get to their level.
Questions from athletes in our gym and readers online.
Question: How do I go about breaking physiological barriers to be fearless? Check out the tips above.
Question: What are the mental barriers of working out? For many it can just be the pain that they think they will feel. That they will get out of their comfort zone.
Question: How do you go about breaking down barriers to improving your life? I would look first at what my goals are and align all of my activities so that they are productive towards my goal. If not productive then get rid of it. Instead of watching TV for an hour before you go to bed replace that with reading a book that will help you get ahead and learn. That is the start of breaking down barriers to improving your life.
Question: What are some affirmations overcome mental roadblocks? I like to use simple ones like “looking good, feeling good, outa be in Hollywood”. Or “feeling strong..haha..livin’ strong..haha..
Question: Coach, how do you get passed psychological barriers when running? Whether it is running, lifting weights or studying for an academic test we use all of the tips above to push through barriers and get to our goals faster.
Question: What are some Navy SEAL techniques for getting through stressful challenges? Check out the tips above to work through stress and get the job done.
Brad McLeod is married with two kids and an all around average family guy. His SGPT motivational audios have been downloaded in 27 countries around the world.
He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and despite training all the wrong ways – made it to Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California.
He flunked out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training after making it over half way through (6 months of grueling training).
After a year in the Fleet Navy on a ship he came back to graduate and serve on SEAL Team Four.
His story is simple – Don’t Ever Quit on your Dream! Put one foot in front of the other and fall forward.
Proceeds from this website go to help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation on CrowdRise.