Being an athlete there are natural milestones that are built into sports. Life also has these in all the other important categories as well. From your physical build to the numbers you achieve in the weight room, most everything you do will be measured. For many athletes this can cause stress, anxiety, and pressure to reach a certain expectation that others may have. As an athlete, competition is conditioned to be a part of the game, but often the moving target seems to be finding who/what you’re competing with? If you’re competing against others you may find yourself comparing your abilities against theirs and what that does is create a moving target for you to aim towards, pulling you in many different directions that will only frustrate you and create a sense of being less than in this life.

Every individual is blessed with unique gifts that only they can tap into, and you are no exception to this. You have something within you that no one else has, and it’s time you start mastering it. The real competition as an athlete is not really a competition at all. Sports are a magnificent stage to showcase to the world the gifts you have been given, not how well you can mimic someone else’s talents. Competition is a mindset that has a very fine line between pitting yourself against the world and tapping into your true potential. It’s time to stop comparing yourself to others and start discovering what you are truly capable of showcasing to the world in a way that only you can.

Dedicate yourself to finding ways to become just 1% better every single day and challenging yourself to do not what others are doing, but what everyone else isn’t doing. What skills make a great athlete? Spoiler alert, it’s not physical attributes. Being an athlete means you will train and have others to push you to be better physically, and there are plenty of 1% opportunities there to get better every day. The real 1% comes from the mental shift from competition with others to curiosity about what you can achieve.

1% is not much at first glance, but over time it compounds into massive change for you. The best part? You are giving yourself a real benchmark of where you are and where you want to be without pressure and stress while creating the mindset of constant growth. Physical growth is much easier to track your percentages with than mental growth and requires you to start defining what growth looks like mentally. The issue with not being able to achieve more is that we tend to take big steps driven out of what is lacking in how we see ourselves rather than being inspired by daily success and can't sustain drastic change.

For example, say you want to have better self-motivation because it is hard for you to get up and do the extra work that you know will make you better physically and have tried setting the early alarms, watched motivational videos, and partnered up with someone for a short while until “schedules” started to change. It’s OK, we’ve all been there. First, be honest with where you currently are in this facet of your life and own it! Next, define where you’d like to be and give your destination meaning (why it is important and how it plays into the bigger picture). Motivation is great, but purpose drives action. Finally, now that you’ve defined where you’d want to be and why that is important, decide on what a 1% change to your self-motivation looks like. Maybe it is saying something nice to yourself every morning or recognizing something you did every night. Once you make that tiny change, continue to add to it until it becomes a part of your routine.

The most important part of this whole process is finding out how you can become accountable to this growth. Many people are great at holding themselves accountable, others might find it easier to have a friend know about their goal, some use a coach to track growth, and sometimes investing in your goal financially pushes people to hold themselves accountable. Whatever your method of accountability is, find it and use it because it is the most powerful tool you can have as a human being in achieving at a high level.

My challenge for you: Make a list of 2 mental and 2 physical things that you can be truly honest about where you currently stand that you know make you unique. If you don’t know what those are then ask a good friend, because they will sure as heck tell you. Once you have your list and know where you currently stand with them, give each of those 4 attributes meaning in your life and define the purpose they serve for you as an athlete. After giving them meaning, come up with what a 1% positive change would look like for all 4 of them. Finally, pick one of those 4 positive changes and commit to making that change the very next day. When you complete that positive change, get rid of the “where you stand” measurement for it and replace it with your new benchmark and pick another item you want to make the 1% change with for the next day. Rinse and repeat this for all 4 items until you can’t take it anymore and decide to make the jump to changing 2 things each day by a positive 1%.

Setting smart goals and taking steps in a positive direction by focusing on things you have given meaning to will help you create victories each day. Successful people set themselves up to win every day and this exercise will help you create the habits that will help you tap into your true potential. We're here to help you discover what makes you unique, clarify what your 1% looks like, and help you create the accountability you need to become truly successful in your unique life.