A couple of days ago I was shooting around at my neighborhood basketball court. And unfortunately, my shot was off. And when I say off, I mean way off. I felt like I couldn’t make a shot if my life depended on it. In fact, I even shouted that out loud!
But that’s when I realized what I was doing wrong. Every time I missed a shot, I was reinforcing the idea that I couldn’t make one. And as a result, I kept missing over and over again. But what I was doing wrong wasn’t my only problem. I wasn’t doing enough things right either.
This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I was a much better shooter when I was a kid than I am today. Granted, I played almost every day back then. But I was only about five feet tall. And now I’m over six! So physically, there was no reason why I was better back then than I am today.
So I stepped off the court for a little and got to thinking: If what made me better as a kid wasn’t physical, then it had to be mental. So, the question became: What did I do differently as a kid that I wasn’t doing now?
Then it hit me. On the basketball court as a kid, I didn’t see myself as just a kid (what I was). In my imagination, I was me in an adult form (what I am today ironically), playing alongside basketball greats like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I had to be the one who THEY passed it to when the game was on the line with just seconds remaining.
Here are the steps I took when I was shooting the “buzzer beater” in my mind when I was a kid:
1. Make Positive Affirmations: Before I shot the ball, I told myself “This is going in” and “I am a great shooter!”
2. Visualize It Happening: Then, I visualized the ball going in. Not just the part where the ball swishes through the hoop (the end result) but also the path the ball traveled along the way to the hoop.
3. Take Action: Then, I shot it! As I was jumping up into the air I kept visualizing what I wanted to happen and re-affirmed to myself “This is going in!”
4. Act as If: After the ball left my fingertips, I held my arm up in the air where it was when I last touched the ball. This is called “following through” in the basketball world. Not only does this help your form, it exudes confidence in your shot. I was “acting as if” the shot I took was going in.
With these steps fresh in my mind, I stepped back onto the court. And all of the sudden my shots started going in. I can’t tell you that I made every shot afterwards (if I did I’d be trying out for the NBA), but I can tell you that I was making most of them.
I learned an important lesson that day. If my attitude and mindset could help me achieve a simple goal like shooting a basketball, what else could it help me achieve? A goal is a goal no matter how big or small it is. Whether it is having a successful business, getting a promotion, losing weight, or shooting a ball though a hoop, we should approach each and every one of our goals with the steps above.
Sure, you may not need to do it when it comes to the small goals in life. But following these steps will not only help you achieve those small goals, they will also reinforce your habit of doing them so you’ll do them naturally when it comes to your bigger goals.
David Rahimi is a freelance blogger and the voice behind www.newagethinker.com.
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