“Intention is the core of all conscious life. Conscious intention colors and moves everything.” - Hsing Yun
By now, it’s likely that you developed a new year’s resolution, are practicing what you preach, and are feeling good about your new attitude, conviction, and the new you.
If you’ve kept up with the holiday season blogs, you’ve taken the time to rest and recover, to do some self care, to create your why, and to figure out how to make your sport or fitness program part of your regular routine.
To keep your resolution(s) going strong, long past the month of January, it’s now time to create your Mantra for the year.
What is a Mantra?
It’s a form of self talk. It is defined as a personal motto, slogan, or catchphrase. Think about your last New Year’s resolution. Is it still something you are doing? Or, did you start strong, and then end up losing momentum and stopping?
Maybe it started with thoughts like, I’ll just take a today off and get to it tomorrow. Then it becomes, I’m too busy this week, I’ll do it next week. Finally, a week becomes a month, and by that point you don’t even bother to make an excuse and you no longer even try. Which in essence, becomes your mantra. The mantra of, “I don’t have time for it” or “I’ll just try again next year.”
Instead, create a mantra that will keep you motivated and remind you in those moments of question or moments of choice to keep on doing it, or as Dory, from Finding Nemo, would say, just “Keep on swimming, keep on swimming.” To do this, you have to focus on what you want, what you are capable of, and your why.
Tips for developing a positive and purposeful Mantra for the year:
1. Make it personal and relevant to your beliefs and values. Refer back to the post on defining your WHY. As you generate ideas, focus on what you want to improve on and what you want to do differently this year.
2. Focus on positive actions. Steer your thoughts and behaviors to what you CAN DO vs what you CAN’T DO by creating action phrases. Avoid negative CAN’T DO phrases like, “Don’t mess up,” “Don’t be lazy,” and “I don’t want to feel tired!” Instead, use CAN DO phrases like “I’ve got this!” “I’m tough and strong!” and “Get active to get energized!”
3. Keep it simple. If you’ve brainstormed multiple phrases, narrow down those ideas to one phrase, preferably under 10 words. Make it easy to write down and to say out loud.
4. Make it visible and say it often. Engrain it so that it becomes second nature to just say it. Your mental muscle is like your physical muscles. The more you work on it, the stronger it gets.
Each day, we are faced with the decision of should I do this or should I do that, like ”Should I exercise today or should I just Netflix and chill today?” or “Should I stop running right now or should I tough it out and keep going?”
Choose to rise to the challenge and do it! When you rise to the challenge, you will feel better because you are able to stay true to your goals, beliefs and values; you are able to overcome a challenging moment; you feel a sense of accomplishment; and you are able to complete the task at hand. It’s the understanding that challenges and feeling uncomfortable are what make it fun to accomplish a daily task rather than putting it off because you feel like it’s impossible or unbearable to do.
In the end, your mantra for the year serves as a powerful mindset tool to motivate you to follow through, grind it out, get tougher, and push harder. For athletes, it will help you to get excited and confident before competition, to keep you motivated and determined in the moment, and remind you to celebrate your successes afterward.