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Learning to lose and a hefty dose of realism – 3 secrets to steal from athletes to make 2014 your winning year

claire-marie-roberts-sports-university-worcester_rdax_200x300‘Athletes are no different to the rest of us and struggle to maintain motivation,’ says Dr Claire Marie Roberts., a lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Worcester and Team GB psychologist in last year’s Olympic Games. Here are three key techniques they use:







1. Set a specific goal you CAN achieve

Specific, realistic yet challenging goals are the key to every Olympic athlete’s success. The best are focused on self-improvement, for example ‘I will aim to run one more kilometre today than I did last week’ rather than a comparison with others, such as ‘I want to run faster than her’.

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2. See exactly what YOU want to happen  

Seeing how they want their future to unfold is a powerful motivator for athletes.  Imagine yourself in a positive future state – fitter / having lost weight / having run further / feeling your clothes looser on you – anytime you feel de-motivated and want to avoid exercise.  Then ask yourself, what do I want more, to become that image or to lie here and watch another hour of telly?

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3. Learn to fail UP

What is it that makes Olympic athletes keep fighting hard even after they lose an event? Olympic athletes view failure, set-backs or disappointment as the key to success. They have to reflect honestly on setbacks or failure.  When you have a setback – for example, you haven’t reached your weight or fitness goal – Roberts suggests asking yourself: what has led to this? How much control do I have over it? What can I do to stop it from happening again? What do I need to do differently?’The idea that ‘If it were easy everyone would be doing it,’ can also often come in handy when it all feels too hard, she explains.

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