You see them every Sunday on television.
You see them nightly on the court doing seemingly impossible feats.
You seem them on fields and in arenas around the country and around the world looking and performing at superhuman levels.
Today’s professional athletes are achieving accomplishments that would be unimaginable to people even a few decades ago. They are the epitome of physical dominance, mastering every action needed to succeed at their craft.
Many people see these athletes and think, “how are they so lucky, I wish I was that talented.” But these same people do not see these athletes the other 165 hours of the week. They don’t see the habits these athletes stick to religiously that allows them to perform at the level they do.
These habits are nothing extraordinary. There isn’t any secret to the success these athletes produce on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean that it is easy, it just means that it isn’t complicated.
Embracing some of these habits in your own life can do tremendous things. I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll be scoring touchdowns for your favorite team this Sunday, but it will give your training and your personal life a little extra boost that could mean the world.
So what are these common habits that turn good athletes into great athletes? Here are four you can start using today:
- Embrace Your Weaknesses
Being good at things is awesome. It is much more fun to do well in any activity than it is to struggle. Almost everyone wants to keep doing things that we are good at because it is comfortable and you most likely don’t have to learn anything new.
But in professional sports, your opponents know about your weaknesses and will do whatever they can to exploit them. A team has a slow player? Take him on. Their quarterback got hurt last week and is moving gingerly? Rough him up a little to test his readiness.
You may not have opponents in terms of other people trying to beat you on a scoreboard (or maybe you do… cough cough O.B. Leaderboard) but you certainly have “opponents” if you define them as things in your life trying to hold you back.
There are all kinds of “opponents” in everyday life and in fitness training. Don’t allow these things any advantage in getting you off-track. Work on your weaknesses.
When I first joined the O.B. coaching staff Ryan was very helpful in pointing out the weakness in my core when lifting. At this point I could either be annoyed at this guy pointing out my flaws, or recognize that he is probably trying to help me and attack that weakness with everything I had.
You are the only one who can come to terms with this flaw. It is easy to point out weaknesses in others but addressing your own and becoming an overall stronger person is what separates winners and losers in professional sports as well as in life.
- Maintain Discipline and Consistency
With holiday season well under way there are plenty of temptations that can easily throw off your health and fitness goals. Top professional athletes face the same temptations the rest of us do. I promise you that second and third giant slice of pie looks just as delicious to LeBron as they do to you.
But LeBron doesn’t take that pie. You don’t get to be the best basketball player in the world by eating anything and everything.
Having the ability to say no in a situation when you so badly want to say yes is enormous for achieving long-term goals. The key here is the “long-term” part of that sentence.
I’m not saying you can never eat a piece of pie again. I’m saying that limiting yourself to one slice on special occasions is perfectly fine, but cutting it off after that.
The discipline required to become a well-known athlete is tremendous and striving to match that will help you get closer to your goals. However, this needs to be done with consistency.
Controlling yourself one time at Thanksgiving or any other holiday is great but to see success long-term it needs to be practiced a strong majority of the time. The willingness to say no over and over and over again to things that you want but know will sidetrack you is going to provide huge dividends to your health and fitness for years to come.
At the height of Tiger Woods success in professional golf he was focused on only one thing, winning tournaments. The man woke up, played golf, worked out, ate unbelievably healthy, took care of his body, practiced more golf, and went to bed thinking about golf.
It was when other things started creeping into his life that his success fell off. His priorities became much different than when he was winning week in and week out.
For the rest of us, we need to learn a lesson from Mr. Woods. The single-mindedness he showed early in his career led him straight to the top. If we truly want to be successful at something we need to direct all of our energy into it.
If your health is a top priority for you (and it should be), more focus needs to be directed into taking care of yourself. Coming to the gym a few times a week is fantastic but there are many other hours of the day we need to think about what we can do to improve our health and wellness.
Improve our nutrition. Go to bed earlier. Declutter your house, work space or brain in general. Make yourself a higher priority.
I understand you have kids and work and the list goes on and on, but you only have one you so your health needs to be taken more seriously. Take the initiative now to improve your wellness so you don’t have to panic and drastically change everything later when a doctor tells you that you need to.
- Surround Yourself With The Best People
They say that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Really think about who you spend time around the most and decide what that means for you.
Are these people helping you get better or keeping you from improving? Hopefully they aren’t making you become worse.
You see stories about professional athletes getting arrested for various charges, usually surrounded with people they consider friends who are actually dragging them down and taking away from their success.
Are these athletes completely free from blame? Of course not. They are responsible for choosing who they hang out with. The people these athletes spend time with are holding them back from reaching their full potential.
The best athletes in the world surround themselves with quality coaches, quality trainers, quality doctors, quality friends, and many others who are around to help them improve and not just ride their coat tails to the top.
Do your friends encourage and congratulate you when you get closer to and achieve your goals? Does your family get excited when you want to try new things, learn and improve yourself?
Or do the people surrounding you subconsciously or consciously hold you back?
When they see you succeed are they excited and helpful in promoting that success, or are they jealous and pull you away from the things that are helping you the most?
Find and surround yourself with the ones who are pushing you towards your goals. They will be your best assets when it comes to the other things in this article.
The people around you can point out and help fix your weaknesses.
The people around you can keep you accountable and make sure you are disciplined and consistent.
The people around you will make sure you are keeping your priorities in order.
Find your people, set your goals, go out and crush them.