Sports are 90% mental

Ensk3FO05

Defining goals defines your limitations

New Year’s is by far the most common time when people and organizations sit down and set goals on what they want to achieve. Indeed there are many excellent articles on why goal setting can be important, how to set goals, how to make sure you achieve them. But what if there was another perspective on setting goals? What if setting goals could actually be a negative thing? I am conscious that this is a very contentious view as 99.9% of people including highly respected business mentors and coaches strongly support the concept of setting goals (even if they, themselves may not set them)

Setting of goals is considered basic common sense in the business world and it’s reinforced by research. Like that study done on the Yale Business School class of 1953 you may have heard of, in which only 3% of the graduating students wrote down clear goals. Twenty years later, those 3% had a greater combined net worth than the other 97%. Compelling, right? There are literally over a thousand articles that cite this study, and people like Anthony Robbins quote it as the basis for their books and seminars.

It would be compelling if it were true. But it isn’t. That study doesn’t exist. It’s pure urban myth.In fact, even Yale’s own library site advises it is a myth.

So what does it matter if this study wasn’t actually true? Everyone knows that successful people all set goals. Or do they?

In the mid 1990s, an article was published in an Australian magazine around what makes successful people successful. It looked at high-flying business executives, champion sportspeople, and media personalities to try and find what common traits they possessed. One of the common traits regarded the setting of goals

They didn't.

This is a trend that continues with modern organizations such as Google, who also do not set annual goals beyond those required by the SEC. In Google’s case, they don’t set corporate goals as it decreases their agility - the ability to respond to what the market is doing (which is often outside their control anyway). There are many famous quotations from individuals or, often now defunct, companies who “knew” exactly what the industry was going to do.

  • "Man will not fly for fifty years." - Wilbur Wright, 1901
  • "This band’s going nowhere." - Pete Best, Original Beatles Drummer, 1962
  • "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their house." - Ken Olsen, Head of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

How is it possible to set realistic goals when it is impossible to predict all those factors outside of our control that could influence these?

There have been lots of studies on what makes successful people successful, such as those referenced in Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. These people demonstrated traits like single mindedness, focus, and total commitment to a goal. The issue with this research, as documented in Jerker Denrell’s 2003 study Vicarious Learning, Undersampling of Failure and the Myths of Management is that the study group is quite selective. In this case, only successful people were studied.

Not surprisingly you don’t see many books on what makes abject failures unsuccessful, but in some studies, mostly anecdotal, it has been found that these people actually execute the same habits. Single mindedness and total commitment to a goal can make the person oblivious to reality, unable to deal with changes to their market or environment.Indeed in the 2013 “documentary” Jobs, the reason that made Steve Jobs successful - a single-minded focus on quality - was also the reason he was ultimately ousted from Apple, in that this focus made him oblivious to the other factors required for his company to succeed.

So if the value of setting goals is questionable or debatable, is there really a problem or potential harm with setting goals and what is it? Indeed the successful people interviewed in the magazine were asked why it was they didn’t set goals. The answer was simple and very relevant for athletic performance.

"Defining goals defines your limitations."

As an example, picture a four-hour marathon runner whose goal it is to run a sub-3:30 marathon. He works out what needs to be done - train to that specific pace and come race day run a 3:29. Goal met. This is a great example of where the goal setting worked. Didn’t it?

Now imagine a four-hour marathon runner who commits each week to follow a balanced program of muscular endurance, weights, and track work. Each week he meets this commitment - a commitment to continuously improve. Come race day he runs 3:19. In this case, setting a goal of 3:30 would have meant he didn’t get the best out of himself - he sold himself short.

Imagine again if for our four-hour runner a 3:30 marathon was never realistic anyway based on time until the event and available training time? Had he focused on improvement over the goal, he may have run 3:39, which is still a huge personal best. Instead he “missed” his goal and is disappointed or, worse still, is injured from trying to push for an unrealistic goal and can’t run the marathon at all. This is also common in business where specific goals lead to people cheating or producing poor quality output so as purely to tick the box of meeting the goal.

The same is common for people trying to lose weight. They set a goal, instead of focusing each day on eating smart and exercising properly. For weight loss the issue can also be that a long-term goal is harder to be motivated for and thus slip-ups in nutrition become okay and self-justifiable as the people in question have months left to go. Weight loss is typically not linear, especially with obese people who have lost their insulin sensitivity. This creates a conundrum where a long-term goal isn’t motivating, but a short-term goal isn’t an accurate reflection of progress.

So rather than defining your own limitations through long-term goals, perhaps just make a commitment to continual improvement. Successful people may not all set long-terms goals, but they do commit to growing as an individual. They look at what they can do each day to make a small improvement that, over time, adds up. In fact a 1% improvement, over 68 days means you will be 100% better than you were yesterday

Betri í dag á 68 dögum heldur en í gær!

Nýársheiti eru örugglega það vinsælasta meðal manna þegar nýtt ár hefst, bæði hjá einstaklingum og á vinnumarkaðinum. Það eru til hundruðu greina sem segja frá því hvernig best er að setja sér skýr markmið og markmiðssetnignu, en hvað með að setja sér frekar neikvæð markmið heldur en jákvæð? 1953 setti Yale fram svar í einni kennslubók sinni um að 3% þeirra útskriftarnemanda hefður skrifað sér einföld og skýr markmið. Svo 20 árum seinna er þau með meiri laun og ganga betur í lífnu. Heldur en hin 97%. En þetta er lygi? Þessi kenning er aðeins sett fram í kennslubókum þeirra sem sýnidæmi

Árið 1990 setti svo ástralskt tímarit fram grein. Þau fylgdust með atvinnumönnum í íþróttagreinum, stórum fyrirtækjum og öðrum einstaklingum, sem öll höfðu það sameiginlegt að setja sér markmið. En hvernig er hægt að setja sér markmið ef ekki er hægt að fullnægja þeim kröfum sem eru gerðar til þess að ná þeim?

Í bók Stephen Covey; Seven Habits of highlu successful people, segir hann að best sé að fókusera á markmiðið, hugleiða um þau og skuldbindast því. En því miður kom það fyrir að allir þeir sem settu sér markmið sáu ekki hvað var að gerast í kringum þá. Þeir fóru að ruglast á draumum sínum og raunveruleikanum og gátu ekki séð þá breytingu sem var að gerast hjá þeim.

Sumir einstaklingar í stórum fyrirtækjum settu sér ekki markmið, þau voru spurð afhverju og svarið var þetta ,,markmið þín skilgreina aðeins þín takmörk‘‘

Setjum upp nokkur dæmi.

Maður sem hleypur maraþon ætlar sér að ná sínum besta tíma hingað til. Hann segist ætla hlaupa það á 3 klukkutímum og 30 mínútum. Hann gerir allt sem þarf, æfir reglulega, borðar rétt og sefur rétt. Loks kemur sá dagur að hann hleypur maraþonið. Hann hleypur það á 3 tímum og 29 mínútum. Sem er frábært og raunhæft.

Næsti gerir það sema, setur sama markmið og sá fyrri nema hleypur það á 3:19. Það er ótrúlegt met enn þarna sýnir einstaklingurinn að hann sé og góður við sig. Þannig þetta er ekki nógu raunhæft markmið.

Þriðja dæmið er alveg eins. Hann æfir þó meira, lyftir lóðum og bætir við æfingum hér og þar. Hann setur sama markmið, að hlaupa á 3:30. Hann endar á því að hlaupa á 3:39 sem er ennþá persónulegt met, enn ekki nógu gott. Í þokkabót meiðist hann og verður pirraður.

Þetta gerist líka oft hjá þeim sem eru að reyna að léttta sig. Í stað þess að hugsa um einn dag í einu og árangurinn sem fylgir því, vilja þau sjá árangur sem fyrst. Það er vegna þess að langtímamarkmið eru ekki nóg fyrir þau eða ekki nógu hvetjandi en skammtímamarkmið eru ekki nógu raunhæf.

Þess vegna á ekki að skilgreina takmörkin með skammtímamarkmiðum, heldur frekar hugsa um einn dag í einu og hugsa um að bæta sig einn dag í einu. Það er sannað að 1% bæting á 68 dögum gerir það að verkum að þú verður betri á morgum en þú varst í dag.

What i did

in the beginning of this class we did a reading technique, which was looking at the text really fast and then scanning the text. Finally after reading it we understood the text way better, and that´s what helped me out the best. also i took notes on Icelandic to translate and that helped me with the Icelandic text.
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Ungt fyrirbæri

Íþróttasálfræði er tiltölulega ungt fyrirbæri og hefur verið að festa rætur í heimi íþrótta hægt og bítandi. Hjá besta íþróttafólki í heimi eru þessar rætur orðnar fastar og íþróttasálfræði skipar þar veigamikinn sess í æfingaáætlun þeirra bestu. Annars staðar er íþróttafólk enn að átta sig á hvað íþróttasálfræði er og ýmiss misskilnings gætir um hvað sérfræðingar á sviði íþróttasálfræði gera. Það er til að mynda útbreiddur misskilningur að íþróttasálfræði sé fyrsta hjálp, að íþróttasálfræði sé einungis einhvers konar endurlífgunartæki sem grípa eigi til þegar frammistaða liðs eða íþróttafólks er í lágmarki, og liðinu eða íþróttafólkinu virðast allar bjargir bannaðar. Þessi misskilningur hefur valdið því að margir þjálfarar og margt íþróttafólk beinlínis óttast íþróttasálfræðiráðgjafa og telja að á meðan þeir eigi ekki við alvarleg vandamál að stríða í sínum leik þá sé íþróttasálfræðiráðgjafi hinn mesti óþarfi, og eitthvað sem jafnvel eigi að forðast í ystu lög. Þó svo að vissulega geti íþróttasálfræðiráðgjafi verið vel til þess fallinn að koma til sem einhvers konar fyrsta hjálp og aðstoða lið eða íþróttafólk sem upplifir krísu, þá eru þau verkefni einungis brotabrot af starfi íþróttasálfræðiráðgjafa.

Í mjög stuttu og einfölduðu máli má segja að eitt af meginviðfangsefnum íþróttasálfræði sé að bæta frammistöðu íþróttafólks með því að þjálfa og bæta sálfræðilega eiginleika þess. Íþróttafólk ver töluverðum tíma á æfingasvæðinu í tækniæfingar. Þetta gerir knattspyrnufólk til dæmis til að bæta sendingartækni sína, körfuknattleiksfólk til að bæta knattrak og fimleikafólk til að bæta tækni sína á tilteknum áhöldum. Þetta sama íþróttafólk ver einnig töluverðum tíma í lyftingarsalnum með styrktarþjálfurum. Knattspyrnufólk til að auka vinningslíkur sínar í návígum og til að auka snerpu, körfuknattleiksfólk til að auka styrk sinn undir körfunni og fimleikafólk til að auka stöðugleika sinn til dæmis á jafnvægisslá. Þegar þetta sama íþróttafólk er spurt hvaða þættir í fari þess séu mikilvægastir til að ná árangri í íþróttum eru svörin ansi oft á þá leið að andlegi þátturinn sé mikilvægastur.

Það er enginn sem efast um að styrktaræfingar og tækniæfingar eru mikilvægar til að ná árangri í íþróttum. Það skýtur hins vegar skökku við að þessum andlega þætti, sem íþróttafólki virðist vera tíðrætt um, sé ekki meiri gaumur gefinn við æfingar. Líkt og styrktarþjálfarar bæta frammistöðu íþróttafólks með því að auka líkamlegan styrk þess, bæta íþróttasálfræðiráðgjafar frammistöðu íþróttafólks með því að bæta sálfræðilega eiginleika þess.

Það er kominn tími til að hætta að óttast íþróttasálfræði og bjóða hana velkomna á æfingasvæðið þar sem fyrir eru sjúkraþjálfarar, styrktarþjálfarar, markmannsþjálfarar, næringarfræðingar og fleiri sérhæfðir þjálfarar, sem öll hafa það að markmiði að bæta árangur íþróttafólks óháð því hvort viðkomandi íþróttamaður eða kona sé í krísu eður ei.

Open the door for Sport psychology

Sport Psychology is a very young major. Many are still trying to figure out what it is. Still the best athletes have it in their daily routine. A misleading can happen to those who are not familiar with it. Some even say it´s like a Defibrillator, the last thing that can help the team come up from the crisis they are in and it causes some people to frighten Sport psychologists. Sport psychology is a way to help you perform at your very best. It helps your mind in a way no coach can. Coaches emphasize more on the physical things, like how to dribble the ball up and down a court, or how you are suppose to shoot a soccer ball. When the athletes are asked why they are so successful they all answer the same; it´s all mental. It sure is a big deal on how you can achieve all the things they have!


Weightlifting helps the muscles too grow, but sport psychology helps the mind grow, in a way you can´t explain

Hafrún Kristjánsdóttir

I chose Hafrún Kristjánsdóttir because my mother told me about her. I´ve alway found the mental part behind every sport very facanaiting. How the best athletes can handle the pressure that they face everyday. The pressure too be on the field and play in front of thousends of people. And she held a presentation once about the mental things in sports.


She isn´t a full time sport psychologist, because you can´t study it in Iceland as a major. At first she did not want to study sport psychology, but psychology always had her interest. Hafrún thought that schizophrenia and everything around that disease was the thing she wanted to focus on but she ended up by choosing psychology that focused on helping athletes. Once she was a very good handball player, so she has always been involved with sports. The hardest thing to do in her mind is turning a client down, telling them that she cannot help them. Too be a Sport psychologist you would need a BSc degree either in phycology or sport science, at least here in Iceland. When you have that degree you can go and help teams or individuals all over the world. That’s the best thing about that job. That you can see people grown and change both outside the field and on it. Her typical day is that she teaches in Háskóli Reykjavíkur, sits on some meetings, works on her computer and holds lectures.
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The Questions I had for her

  1. Was Sport psychology something you always wanted too study?


2.What do you think is the hardest thing too do when you are a Sport psychologist?


3. How can you prepare yourself before going to college?


4. Can you work with both teams and individuals?


5.What´s your typical workday like?

Are we born to run?

I chose to watch this video because running is one of the hardest thing mentally to do.


Christopher McDougall focuses mostly about women runners. Back in the day women where not allowed to run because their uterus could fall out. He´s comparing us to hunting dog, taking off the claws and the big teeth. The human body is the best thing that can run in the heat, because we sweat. No dog or a lion could ever do that

Take the shoes and the equipments away and just run! like the old Mexico tribe. They only live on Corn and water and are the happiest runners you can find!

Why some people find exercise harder than others

When i search on Ted Sport psychology i did not find anything. I chose to split the word in two and search for sport and psychology. i found this video and the headline was interesting so i clicked it



Emily Balestic is a Social psychologist who finds it hard to watch upon people say the glass is half empty. Pictures do not always say more than a 100 words. sometimes they say just 1! Emily took a group people and measured their waist. Then she showed them a picture of a finish line. The people that where not as fit as the others, said the finish line is far away, while the people that are fit said it was close. If you keep your eyes on the prize while working out, does not matter how intense it is, you go automatically faster.