- Stop comparing yourself to others. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses and we all walk our own unique path. Comparing ourselves to others just robs us of our happiness.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. As an athlete, your body needs nutrient rich foods but the bonus is that 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day may increase your happiness as well.
- Play great music during workout. It’s backed by science that listening to upbeat music makes us feel happier.
- Tell your inner critical voice to shut up. Do you have that voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough? Most of us do, and it robs us of our happiness. One way to stifle that nasty voice is to ask yourself if you would say to your best friend what you say to yourself. If the answer is no, then tell your inner voice to take a hike.
- Say thank you more often. Practice gratitude enhances your personal happiness. And it can spread happiness to others as well when you say thank you to your coach for a great workout or to your parents for driving you to and from practice.
- List three good things that happened at each and every workout. They don’t have to be huge things, like learning a new skill or overcoming a fear. Just take the time to jot down three good things that happened at gym that day. Yes, even on bad days find three good things; you can do it!
- Set ambitious but realistic goals. If you are a level 8 gymnast, it might be too lofty to expect you are going to be an elite in a year, but shooting for being a level 10 might just be a good idea for your happiness. People with ambitious goals are happier than those who set conservative to no goals. So while you don’t want to set goals that are almost 100% likely to fail, don’t sell yourself short either.
- Keep your goals in mind. Exercising self-control with respect to your goals increase your happiness. Reminding yourself why you are working hard toward your goal helps you feel better about your efforts even when they are challenging.
- Let go of limiting beliefs. Let go of beliefs about what you can or cannot do or about what is possible or impossible. This year you are not going to allow these limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Every time you think you can’t, remind yourself that maybe you can!
- Be present in practice. Focusing on what your are doing at the moment make you happier. So leave your cell phone, your homework worries and everything else outside the gym and concentrate on your workout.
- Assess your teammates. This is similar to the advice I also shared with parents. Stress is contagious. So decline getting involved in gym drama and stay away from those teammates who do not want to work hard and who distract you from your workout. Remember the proverb: Not my circus, not my monkey. But just as stress is contagious, so is happiness. So hang out with those athletes who want to be supportive, work hard and help spread that positive vibe through the gym. And make sure your attitude and actions put you in the category of positive teammate.
- Embrace your failures and lean into your struggles. Welcoming failure can actually make you more successful and happier in the long run. When you lean into your failure and resolve to get better you create grit and resilience, which leads to ultimate mastery. The result: happiness.
Keep working hard and remember… have fun!