9 Mental Skills of Successful Athletes

Maybe you’ve seen the quote: “Eating healthy is easy. It’s like riding a bike. And the bike is on fire. And the ground is on fire. And everything’s on fire because you’re in hell.” While it may not be this dramatic eating right is not something mindless, just like training is not something mindless. Fitness, in and of itself, takes determination and rededication every single day.

There are days you are going to wake up and not want to get out of bed. Putting on your gym shoes sounds like the most tasking of jobs and eating anything that doesn’t look a lot like a sprinkle covered doughnut sounds unappetizing. That is okay. It is okay to not be perfect, to give in to a craving or give your body a rest day when it is absolutely needed.

I found Dr. Jack Lesyk’s “9 mental skills of successful athletes”  to hold the keys to success. Check on the next page what all successful athletes have in common.

9 mental skills of successful athletes

  • Choose and maintain a positive attitude—Choose every day to make a step in the right direction. Wake up with a purpose and strive to achieve them. Love yourself mind, body and soul and remember that you are a never ending work in progress.
  • Maintain a high level of self-motivation No one is going to keep you accountable like you can. Whether that is making yourself an inspiration board, having a shirtless Ryan Gosling as your computer background or setting your sights on a tangible goal, find what will motivate you and keep that in mind at all times.
  • Set and pursue high, realistic goals—Know what is doable within your timeline. While we all want to be the next Katy Perry, it may be easier to say that we are going to cut out processed sugars and Mt. Dew.
  • Deal effectively with people— Do not let outside forces control your potential. There are many people when it comes to your fitness journey, that may not understand why or what you are doing. They may discourage or talk badly about your process because it is different than who you have been before. Do not let past relationships, bad friendships, jealousy or envy get in your way. The happier, more confident and proud you become, the bigger that reward is in and of itself. Mental strength is more essential to this process than you may ever know.
  • Use positive self-talkTell yourself how wonderful you are. Go on, look in a mirror and say “Girl, you’re carpe-ing this freaking Diem and no one is going to stop you. Your legs are getting leaner, your smile is getting wider, and well, your parallel squats are far more important than knowing how to contour your make up.
  • Use positive mental imagery Imagine the body you desire to work towards; when you work out, envision each muscle you are working, squeeze and train them individually as you concentrate on their growth. This use of mental imagery pushes you to focus extra hard and isolate the muscles.
  • Manage anxiety effectively— Feeling anxious? Hit the gym, work out your stress and frustrations. There is no better therapy than lifting heavy things and throwing them down. Once your endorphins kick in, not only are you happier, but you are well on your way to getting your goal body.
  • Manage their emotions effectively— Having a bad day? Wanting to eat a pint (or two) of Ben & Jerry’s while you watch He’s Just Not That Into You? Feeling tired or in a rut? Being able to channel those emotions and fuel your fitness goals is a really important tool. Being able to pull yourself up and say, “I may feel bad now, but once I work out I will feel better,” is key. Avoid emotional eating when there is no purpose tied to the ritual of food and get out of the house. Go for a run, go to a yoga class, or hit the weight room extra hard. Once you leave you’ll want to give yourself twelve pats on the back…then you can get back in your sweatpants for a movie marathon.
  • Maintain concentration Keep focused. Going in to the gym with a clear cut plan of what you’re going to do, not losing your drive and not letting those outside forces kill your vibe will help you reach your goals. Surround yourself with like-minded, goal-oriented, hardworking people that want the same results that you do. Never sacrifice your dreams just because it scares someone else.

What is your personal key to succes?

Leave a Comment


  1. The Losing Struggle

    Very inspirational post!


  2. Gezondblog

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I think that ‘positive mental imagery’ is the most important one.