10 Olympic Athletes’ Daily Habits to Inspire You
Olympic athletes are some of the most amazing people in the world. They perform physical feats that leave us wondering whether they have some superhuman abilities we do not know about.
In addition to their extraordinary physical performance, Olympic athletes are the embodiment of determination, dedication, drive, passion, and self-discipline. They train for years, some even from childhood, with the aim of shining at the world stage.
They work out every single day, following complex and rigid diet programs and rigorous training regimes. All this is not easy, yet they follow through every single day and eventually wow us when they get their chance at the Olympics.
While there are several factors that make Olympic athletes successful, including their hard work, their self-discipline, their determination and their passion, there is one factor that seldom gets the recognition it requires – their habits.
If you examine the lives of Olympic athletes in detail, you will discover that every single one of them has very strong habits and routines that they follow strictly every single day. Their habits keep them going even when faced with obstacles.
The habits play a very important role in making them the successful athletes they are. Fortunately, some of these habits are not restricted to the gym and the track.
Some of them can also be applied in our daily lives.
Below, we take a look at the daily habits of 10 Olympic athletes that should inspire you to reach out for success in your life.
VISUALIZING YOUR GOALS – THOMAS DANIEL
Thomas Daniel is an Austrian modern pentathlete. Thomas started his career as a modern pentathlete in the year 2000 and became a professional athlete in 2003. He is notable for being the first modern pentathlete from Austria to qualify for the Olympics in a period of more than two decades.
Thomas represented Austria in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, though he did not win a medal. He also competed and won an individual gold medal at CISM Modern Pentathlon Championships in 2008.
Thomas says that his greatest habit that he gives much credit for his achievements is visualizing his goals. Long before the 2012 Olympics started, Thomas would dedicate some time each morning and each evening to visualize how the event would be.
In his mind, he created a detailed picture of the stadium where the event would be taking place and how he would handle each competition.
Once the games started, he applied the same tactics he had applied numerous times in his mind. He believes this habit helped him deliver his best performance during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
While you might have no dreams of competing in a pentathlon, this habit can be very useful in your day to day life. Visualization is great for a number of reasons. First, visualization helps your mind to figure out what resources it will need to help you achieve your goals. Visualization also gives you an inner motivation to push towards your goals since you have a clear and detailed picture of what exactly you want to achieve.
Visualization also promotes positive thinking, which is an important element in achieving your goals. Some people do not believe in the power of visualization, yet it been scientifically proven to work.
You can start using visualization in your life by picturing situations in your mind going as you would like them to go.
Whether you are going for an interview, a salary negotiation, or preparing to give a presentation or a speech, you should visualize yourself doing it successfully before you actually go to the interview or presentation.
While it is impossible to predict what will actually go on during the interview, negotiation or presentation, having envisioned yourself doing it successfully will increase your chances of a positive outcome.
CONSISTENCY – IWAN THOMAS
Iwan Gwyn Thomas is a Welsh sprinter who enjoyed an illustrious athletics career before injuries pushed him away from the track. Thomas represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the 4x400m relay in the 1996 Olympic Games where he won a silver medal. Thomas has also competed in several other world events representing Wales.
In 1997, he won a World Championship gold in the 4x400m relay. He also won two gold medals in the European Championships and a gold and silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. As a result of his exploits on the track, he was recognized as the Wales Sports Personality of the Year in 1998.
Thomas credits much of his success on the track to his consistency. The Olympics happen once in every four years, yet for Thomas, there was no time to slack off in between games.
For the four years before the next Olympics, Thomas used to consistently show up for training even though the games were a long way off. The training was part of his life, and he dedicated every single day to it.
During the Olympic year, there is a temptation by athletes to make their training more aggressive. However, Thomas says that consistency is key. If you have been consistently training the right way, there is no need to change anything. In his words, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
This is a great deal of inspiration. Imagine training consistently every single day, waiting to see your results after four years. Very often, we want to achieve results instantly and are not willing to put in a great deal of effort upfront. If you want to achieve great results, you need to think like an Olympic athlete.
Figure out what you need to do on a daily basis in order to achieve your results, do it consistently every single day and you will be guaranteed to get the results you want.
HAVE CLEAR LONG TERM GOALS – MICHAEL PHELPS
I bet everyone has heard of American competitive swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps has competed in 5 Olympic Games and is the most decorated and most successful Olympian of all time, having won a total of 28 Olympic medals during his career. He is also the all-time record holder for most Olympic gold medals with a total of 23 medals and Olympic gold medals in individual events with a total of 13 medals.
He is also the all-time record holder for most Olympic medals of any color in individual events with a total of 16 individual medals. In addition to being the most successful all-time Olympian, Phelps is also the long course world holder in several competitions, including the 100 meter and 200 meter butterfly and the 400 meter individual medley. This is just but a fraction of his achievements as a top athlete.
Phelps says that one thing that has contributed to his success as a swimmer is that he always had a clear long term goal. As an athlete, he did not just think about the next practice, the next race or the next competition.
Instead, he set goals that he wanted to achieve in the next 5, 10 or 20 years. He had his goals written down and kept them on a nightstand where he could look at them every morning and every evening. Keeping his long term goals fresh in his mind helped him maintain his discipline. Whenever he had the temptation to go out partying, eat badly or not show up for practice, thinking of his long term goals was enough to help him make the right decision.
Just like Michael Phelps, it is important to have long term goals, both for your career and your life. Write them down and keep them in a place where you can see them every single day.
Having clear long term goals helps you to make the right decisions whenever you are in a position that could potentially derail you from achieving what you want. It keeps you committed and helps you resists the temptations of short term pleasures.
According to this study, people with written goals are more likely to achieve to succeed that those without goals.
PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP – USAIN BOLT
Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt is another well-known Olympic athlete and is currently the fastest man in the world and the greatest sprinter of all time. He is the current world record holder in the 100 meter and 200 meter sprint as well as the 4×100 meter relay. Bolt has competed at the Olympic Games three times (2008, 2012 and 2016), where he won 9 gold medals.
He is also the only sprinter to have won the gold medals in both the 100 meter and the 200 meter races in three consecutive Olympic Games. He is also an 11-time World Champion and is considered the most successful athlete in the World Championships. Bolt has also received several awards such as the Track & Field Athlete of the Year, the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of The Year. What’s the secret behind his success?
Though Bolt did a number of things to maintain his position as the fastest man in the world, including lots of training, eating lots of veggies and even avoiding sex before races, one thing he gives a lot of priority is his sleep.
Getting enough sleep is the key to giving his body to repair and build itself after being subjected to rigorous training throughout the day. He understood that all the effort he put in day after day would be all for nothing if he did not give his body time to rest and repair itself.
How does this apply in your life? Very often, we tend to put all our focus on work while giving ourselves little time to rest. How many times have you heard people bragging about getting just a few hours of sleep because they were busy working? People forget that rest is important for your body.
Not getting enough sleep can end up hurting your productivity, and even your health, in the long run. Not only does getting enough sleep make you more productive and efficient, it also increases your creativity, according to a study by researchers from the University of California.
If you want to increase your chances of achieving success, it might be a wise move to start prioritizing rest and sleep, just like Usain Bolt.
ONLY COMPETE AGAINST YOURSELF – ELIUD KIPOCHOGE
Eliud Kipchoge is a Kenyan long distance runner and a three time Olympic athlete. He won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic marathon and is the current marathon world record holder after winning the 2018 Berlin marathon.
He has also won several world championships and is also the holder of the world junior record in the 5000 meter track race. Kipichoge has won 9 gold medals and a total of 16 medals of all colors in all competitions. Still at the peak of his athletic career, Kipchoge is considered to be the greatest marathoner of the modern era.
Kipchoge attributes much of his success to his habit of competing against himself. Being from Kenya, he is aware that he will compete against athletes who have better training facilities, better coaches and better equipment. Yet, this does not concern him. His only concern is improving himself. Kipchoge has a training book where he keeps record of every training session and every event he has competed in.
He uses this book to keep review his performance and track his progress. In every training session, he works hard trying to shave a few seconds from his best time. This is how he has managed to be the current marathon world record holder.
This is a very important thing that you can learn from Eliud Kipchoge. Very often, people are more focused on comparing themselves with their peers and colleagues. Unfortunately, comparing yourself to others does not get you closer to your goals in any way.
Instead, it takes your focus from your own work, affects your performance and discourages you.
If you want to achieve success, you should stop competing with others and focus on competing with yesterday’s version of yourself. Keep finding ways in which you can make yourself better than you were and you will eventually become better than the competition.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY – CHLOE WOODRUFF
Chloe Woodruff is an American cross-country cyclist who has represented the country in various mountain biking competitions, including the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
For Chloe, one habit that has greatly contributed to her achievements as an Olympian is having an accountability buddy. For Chloe, her accountability buddy is fellow mountain biker Rose Grant. The two of them often work out and practice together, encouraging and motivating each other and ensuring that each of them does what is required of them.
Chloe and Rose are not alone in this. Several other Olympic athletes train together for months or years before competing against each other on the world stage.
Having an accountability buddy is a great trick to help you reach out for success. The idea behind this is to have enlist someone, such as a friend or a mentor, to ensure that you stick through with your plans.
Many people often have plans and strategies on how they will achieve success, but then they lose track somewhere along the way.
An accountability buddy monitors your progress and gives you little nudges whenever you start losing track.
One study found that people who write down their goals, share the goals with a friend and give weekly updates to the friend are 33% more successful on average compared to those who have goals without sharing them with an accountability partner.
BE OBSESSED WITH YOUR GOAL – MO FARAH
Mo Farah is a renowned British distance runner and the most successful British track athlete in the modern history. Mo Farah represented Britain in the 2012 and the 2016 Olympic Games, where he won the gold medals in both the 5000 meter and the 10,000 meter races. With a total of ten global titles, he is the most decorated athlete in history of British athletics.
Farah was also the first British athlete to win double gold in the same Olympic Games. He has won the British Athletics Writers Association Athlete of the Year and the European Athlete of the Year more times than any other athlete. Farah was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II due to his contribution to British athletics.
Farah says that the key to becoming a successful Olympic champion is to be obsessed with your goals. Farah’s obsession with becoming a top runner started at the age of 14 when he was picked among the team to go to the British Olympics futures camp in Florida. From then, a large part of his life has been dominated by running.
Everything he does is about his sport, to the extent that it even affects his family life. For instance, Farah spends six months away from his family every year due to his training requirements. Even when he is home, he cannot sleep in the same bed as his wife, since he is required to sleep inside an oxygen tent. Is that not the definition of being obsessed with your goals?
While you do not have to sleep in an oxygen tent or at the office, the key to achieving your goals is to become obsessed with the goals and dedicate a huge chunk of your life to pursuing them. Once you develop the singleness of purpose shown by Olympic athletes, no goal will be too big for you to achieve.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT – NOVAK DJOKOVIC
Djokovic is a professional tennis player from Serbia who has competed in the Olympic Games three times. In addition to the Olympics, Djokovic has won several other tennis world titles and is currently ranked by the ATP as the number 1 men’s singles tennis player in the world, becoming the first Serbian player to get this ranking. Due to his prowess on the tennis court, he has won several awards, including the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award and the Laureus World Sports for Sportsman of the Year (3 times).
Part of Djokovic’s success stems from his eating habits. Djokovic is very careful about what he eats. Every morning, he wakes up to a cup of water, followed by two tablespoons of honey, followed by a power bowl comprised of mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, muesli or oatmeal, coconut oil, fruits and non-dairy milk.
He does this every single day. This diet provides him with the energy he needs and hydrates his body, without stuffing him with unwanted sugars.
Unless you are planning on becoming a top athlete, this diet might not be for you.
However, there is something you can learn from Djokovic’s morning routine. The food you eat has a huge impact on how you look and feel. It affects your performance at work and your reactions in social interactions.
If you want to improve your life for better, start watching what you eat. Fuel your body with whole and healthy foods and avoid junk and sugary foods. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated.
FOCUS ON THE SMALLER GOALS – GUS KENWORTHY
Gus Kenworthy is a British-born American freestyle skier who competes professionally in big air, half pipe and slopestyle. Gus has competed in the Olympic Games twice, winning two silver medals in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and qualifying for the finals in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
For Gus, the key to success is to focus on the small goals you need to accomplish each day rather than the end goal. This makes the end goal seem less daunting. When training, Gus does not focus on winning a medal at the Olympics. Instead, his focus is on ensuring that he gives his best effort during training each day. By giving his best during training, he can be confident that he will be able to deliver at the Olympics.
This is a great habit to live by. When you have very ambitious goals, they can seem too lofty and unattainable, thus discouraging you. If you break down these goals into smaller goals that you can work on and achieve each day, the end goal becomes more attainable.
By focusing on the smaller goals, you can also measure you progress with the full confidence that if you achieve each of these smaller goals, you will automatically achieve the bigger goal as well.
IGNORE THE NAYSAYERS – AARON BLUNCK
Aaron is an American freestyle skier who has represented the country in both the 2014 and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Aaron has also competed at the 2017 Winter X Games in Aspen and the 2017 World Championships, winning a gold medal in both events. For Aaron, the key to achieving success as an Olympic athlete is to learn to ignore the naysayers.
As an Olympic athlete, you are put under scrutiny by millions around the world. There will always be those who doubt your abilities. According to Aaron, those who want to achieve success must learn to ignore their doubters, keep pushing forward and prove them wrong.
Doubters and naysayers are not restricted to the Olympic arena. Once you start pursuing your dreams, there will be people close to you who will doubt your abilities and try to discourage you from going after your goals.
You have to learn to ignore them and keep doing whatever you need to do in order to get wherever you want to get. If they are not saying something that will help you get closer to your dreams, don’t listen to them.
Olympic athletes are the pinnacle of human physical performance. They put in a lot of effort to be able to perform the extraordinary physical feats that they are known for.
In addition, they have certain routines and mindsets that make it easier for them to remain committed to their sports and to perform to the best of their ability.
While you might not be planning to compete in the Olympics, there is a lot you can learn from Olympic athletes. Incorporating some of their routines and mindsets into your daily life, even if not to their level, can improve your life and career significantly.
You might also have noticed that despite all of them being accomplished Olympic athletes, each of them has a routine that they swear by.
What this means is that what works for one person might not work for the other.
Therefore, you do not have to strive to do everything in this article. Instead, find out what works for you and apply it in your life.
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