By Donene Taylor, Author, Heart of a Champion
Let me ask you ask you a few questions to help you gain awareness of your focus.
What are you thinking about during the day?
When tackling a task are you locked in, dialed in, only on the task in front of you?
Or, do you find your thoughts are scattered, quickly shifting from topic to topic, as you tackle the task at hand?Experts have discovered we each can have 12,000 – 60,000+ thoughts per day. Research shows that as many as 95 percent of these thought are the same or similar as the day before. Research also indicates that 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. Your mind can literally sound like a chattering monkey most of the day. This statistic does not need to be you. You have the power to control what you think about. It takes practice. I assure you the practice is worth it! Developing your focus skill set is priceless.
Focus is an incredibly important mental performance skill set you must train to obtain in order to run down your Bold Goals. The following are two proven and actionable Mental Performance Strategies that you can immediately implement to help train your focus.
STRATEGY 1: SQUASH YOUR ANT AND GET AMPT.
You may notice you have an ANT running through your mind. ANT is an acronym for Automatic Negative Thoughts. I want to encourage you to Squash your ANT. Replace it with an AMPT. AMPT is an acronym for Automatic Motivational Productive Thoughts.Here is an example of an ANT and how to change it to an AMPT.
If you are getting ready to compete and are thinking; don’t break out again, all I have to do is catch, don’t miss, don’t hit a barrel, don’t get bucked off, I must get some points today… SQUASH THOSE ANTS!!!
Replace with AMPT; score sharp, use my left hand, give full effort, ride to my spot, I am prepared, trust my process, I am grateful to be here.
Gaining awareness of what you are thinking about is the first step in making a change in developing your focus skill set. As soon as you notice your ANT, redirect your thoughts by picturing a giant Stop Sign or see yourself closing a big green corral gate on the ANT and then replace it with an AMPT. I have invested a lot of time picturing Stop Signs and shutting big green corral gates in my mind. It works!
STRATEGY 2: BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE TO W.I.N.
When you are thinking about things you wish you would of, could of, should have done, previous experiences, or about regrets, your thoughts are in the past. When you are thinking about what if this happens or what if that happens, experiencing doubt or fear, or thinking about the results/outcome, your thoughts are in the future. These types of thoughts may cause anxiety.
You have no control over the past or the future. However, you do have control of what you are doing right here, right now, in the present moment. Thinking W.I.N. is a Mental Performance Strategy that can instantly put your mind into Present-Moment Focus. The acronym W.I.N. stands for What’s Important Now. Thinking W.I.N. can shift your thoughts immediately into present-moment focus. W.I.N. helps you Be Where Your Feet Are especially when you need to be locked in while practicing or competing.
DEVELOP A HEART OF A CHAMPION
More strategies to easily implement and train your focus can be found in my book, Heart of a Champion, Proven Strategies to Help You Discover the Heart of a Champion That Beats Within You. Investing time developing your focus is invaluable, in fact I spend a lot of time coaching professional athletes on how to do just that. You probably have some Bold Goals set for yourself: Win your Region, Qualify for State, Be the National Champion! However, Bold Goals do not happen by accident, they happen by intention. I want to encourage you to be intentional training your focus. Your focus is powerful. Your focus determines your future.