Top ways to increase your performance starting today
Jul 13, 2018
Whether you’re a business professional, working parent, stay at home, or a student athlete, here are 5 things you can start practicing today to increase your performance.
Your state of mind plays a huge role in nearly everything throughout your day, and in order to increase your performance, you need to get in the right space mentally. Any sports fan has seen mental toughness (or lack thereof) during crucial moments, but it takes a great deal of practice to get there, and that’s exactly why some of the most famous athletes and celebrities are open about their practice of visualization, affirmations, and meditation. People like Oprah Winfrey, Lindsey Vonn, Jack Nicklaus, Kerri Walsh, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, even LeBron James credit these practices to their success and love the benefits they provide (stress reduction, increased focus and attention span, emotional well-being boost…the list goes on.) Just like everything else, this takes a great deal of practice, but it is absolutely worth it if you want to be better in any specific area of your life.
Studies are all over the board with recommendations on how much sleep is really needed, but rest is absolutely vital not only to our performance, but our daily lives, our health and happiness. There are many factors that go into what the ideal length of sleep is including your age (so ask your doctor) but a great rule of thumb is 8 hours every night. Research has also shown the importance of going to bed and waking up around the same time every day (including weekends.) Not only does our body physically rest when we sleep, it is also healing and repairing itself. So, set that daily alarm and turn off your phone/tablet/computer/tv, and enjoy the glorious rest. You not only need it, you deserve it!
Food plays a critical role specifically in athletic performance - hence why Olympians and professional sports teams all have their own nutritionist and chefs on-site. We all know how important nutrition is, so why is it so hard to fuel our bodies accordingly? There are countless diets out there so it can be a challenge discovering what is best for you, but across the board they pretty much all agree on the importance of a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole foods, portion control and water. Food is fuel, so make sure you’re not just feeding your body but FUELING it.
For an athlete, its easier to get your heartrate up and strengthen your muscles since you’re likely practicing, training and competing often, but for those of us who are no longer (or never were) participating in sports, it is super important to start or continue these habits throughout your life. Physical activity, both cardio (getting your heart rate up) and muscle strengthening are important especially as we age. Don’t know where to start? Walking is a great way to take care of your body. Although the average American only logs 5,000-7,000 steps/day, it is ideal to achieve 10,000 steps/day. Physical activity is imperative to overall health and not only reduces health risks, it also helps with weight management, clarity, focus, and performance! So, do whatever it takes to get moving throughout the day whether its parking farther away from your destination, choosing only to take the stairs, taking a “lap” throughout the day, or even dancing/walking/doing jumping jacks doing commercials. Find something that you enjoy, switch things up so it doesn’t get boring, setup a playlist that gets you moving and grooving – whatever it takes. Just start moving! If you’re already pretty active, great job! Just don’t be afraid to try something new. Not only will it shock your body by using different muscles than it’s been used to, you might fall in love with something new and avoid a workout rut.
5. Be Early
There is a longtime saying used by countless coaches (teachers, bosses and parents, too) that “if you aren’t early, you’re late.” There’s a reason why this has been used for so long. Without even having to address the rudeness and annoyance of being late, we’ll just start with being “on-time.” Punctuality is important, but what that means is being entirely ready at that time, too. When you walk in to the office, classroom or on the field “on time” are you really ready to go? For example, if you walk into work on the dot, you still have to get stuff out of your bag/purse, turn on your computer (and wait for everything, including your email, to load) then maybe you go get coffee or put your lunch in the fridge. It may take 2 minutes or it may take 10, but this is not only wasted time its time lost. Being early can often times be the most productive time of your day especially when it’s quiet – you can get so much more done. Being early can reduce stress (think of how stressful and embarrassing is it to walk into practice or a meeting late.) It allows time to get prepared and organized so you can be more efficient, and it can avoid crisis mode. This is your time. Enjoy the quiet, stretch, put your game plan together (whether physically or visually). Whatever it takes (even if you need to change your clocks so your brain thinks the adjusted time is reality, do it!) Maybe its 5 minutes or maybe it’s 30, be the early bird – get that worm – and you’ll be amazed how much your performance improves.