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How to create a challenge mindset

Sport and exercise psychologist, Rhonda Cohen, shares five winning steps to achieving your goals

by Psychologies

1. Confront your limiting voice. ‘I can’t; I’ll never be able to; I want to give up.’ Record yourself when you say something limiting, so you learn to recognise, and talk yourself out of, a restricting mindset.

2. Remember that this is your choice. Put a hair band or bracelet on your wrist as a constant reminder that you are in control of what you choose to do. Alternatively, wear a band on your left wrist for an hour if you find yourself making a limiting choice, and move it to your right wrist when you are doing something challenging.

3. Imagine yourself achieving your goals to reinforce healthy habits. Write a list of positive thoughts and visualise these statements. ‘I’ll feel good; my family will be proud; I’ll treat myself to…’

4. Record the positives, too. When you experience an emotional high, record yourself saying, or even singing, your feelings of determination. ‘I’ll feel braver; I’ll run less risk of illness; I’ll be happier.’ Play these before every challenge session.

5. Reward yourself. Turn a photo of what you want to achieve into a 50-piece ‘jigsaw puzzle’. Put in one piece every time you stick to a new behaviour and watch your dream grow. Treat yourself when it is finished.

Rhonda Cohen is author of Sport Psychology: The Basics Optimising Human Performance (Bloomsbury Sport, £22).