Where is your focus, past, present or future?

At this very moment in time where are you? Are you thinking about a past event, wondering about the other athletes in the competition or tuned into what is going on here and now? Where you are now, whether past, future or present, makes a difference in your performance. Focusing on either the past or the future will pre-occupy your mind.

The Past

We all have moments when we didn’t perform at the top of our game. It’s a reality. How you deal with those moments makes the difference between whether or not you win. By taking your performance too personally, or someone else blaming you, the memory becomes negatively embedded.

People are storytellers. Our memory is based upon perceptions, your point of view. When strong emotions are connected to an event, you create meaning about them. Your memory influences your beliefs, which in turn affects your reality.

The interesting fact is that you might be at the same event as your coach, but his experience is going to be different from yours. This is due to him having a different history and way of looking at things than you do.

Think about going to a movie with a friend. Your friend loved the movie while you found it boring. Well, life is like that. What might be significant for you, a memory you keep for years, will be forgotten by everyone else.

Now let’s get back to the event. What you perceive is based upon your past experiences. If something at today’s event reminds you of a previous event, your old memory will be triggered. This is normal. You can’t control a memory being triggered, but you can choose how you respond to it.
What do you do when this happens? Do you stay tuned into it making sure you don’t repeat your mistakes again or do you let it go easily?

Continuing to focus on a past event, particularly one where you did not perform your best, affects your focus. Thinking about what you don’t want to do, something you want to avoid, is a negative focus. Fear, doubt or worry become performance killers.

Your emotions elicit a physical response. Thinking about an earlier event because you don’t want to repeat the same mistake again, creates tension in your body. The tension causes a constrictive response in your muscles. As you know, tight muscles impact performance.

The Future

Future tripping. Thinking about some future event, which might or might not occur usually leads to anxiety. You are trying to control something, the future, which you have absolutely no control over, whatsoever. Consider all the times you worried about something happening and your expectations were much greater than the experience. The anxiety you experienced worrying about the future is very real although your thoughts were just preconceived notions. Something from your past affected how you perceived something in the future.

Just like focusing on a past event creates a physical response, thinking about the future does the same. By envisioning what might happen, you are actually affecting the outcome. Your brain is receiving subconscious cues.
Your brain is unable to discriminate between the actions you don’t and the actions you do want to take. Thinking about something negative places your brain on alert for cues reinforcing your negative perception. Likewise, when your focus is positive it will look for opportunities to turn those thoughts into a reality.

Okay, you have created a positive goal for the event and you are focusing on it. You are consciously aware of your goal and how you would like things to turn out. You are moving in the right direction.

When your conscious focus and subconscious thoughts are not aligned, optimal performance will be a struggle. The conflicting energy contributes to an internal struggle. Your subconscious mind is stronger than your conscious will; it will prevail.

Improve your chances for a positive outcome. Align your subconscious beliefs with your conscious thoughts. The combination of conscious and subconscious thoughts aligned is powerful, improving the chances of reaching your goal. Changing the subconscious is possible.

The Present

People tend to live in the past or the future, although being in the present is the ideal. Where do you spend most of your time? Does past memories prevent you from saying yet to current opportunities? Do you become anxious about the future, consumed with possibilities of what might happen? Or are you able to be in the present, tuned into the here and now?

Your best performance happens in the present, when you are fully engaged.

Focusing on what is before you in the moment is expansive. Your body is relaxed. Your mind is connected to what is happening right now. All of your senses are dedicated to the present.

Senses become heightened, tuned into possibilities. Your subconscious is working with you for opportunities to win.
Activity: Think about a time when everything worked out as you anticipated, and it was easy. You experienced a flow, a rhythm, a connection. As if you were guided. This energy places you in the zone, where all the pieces come together as you envisioned it would. Use this imagery before your next competition, helping you to focus on what is possible.

Author's Bio: 

The Expert Sports Performance System is an easy step-by-step process helping you to focus your energy on high performance, building your confidence to give you a winning edge. Winners act with speed. If you are reading this and it feels true for you, then get in touch with Loren for a FREE Discovery Session atinfo@expertsportsperformance.com