Whatever situation we find ourselves in we can always draw out positives. Sometimes these are easy to spot and other times it can be super tough to pinpoint tiny wins.
Positivity is an important cornerstone to success, health and happiness. It allows us to respond to challenges much more effectively. It inspires us to take action rather than cautiously avoiding it, and it helps us stay motivated when we need to dig in deep and keep pushing forwards.
COVID-19 has been hard on all of us, and it’s probably fair to say that we are all experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions as the global pandemic shows no time of stopping any time soon. We can’t escape the daily statistics or the gloomy headlines, but for a moment I want us to stop focusing on this and start thinking about the ways we have grown.
Yes, this year has been tough but I am also finding that there are so many different aspects of it that I’m grateful for. I didn’t realise how much rushing around takes out of me. It’s given me time to breathe, to recharge and strike a better work life balance. It’s allowed me to be more purposeful, focus my attention on areas I’m passionate about, and I’m spending more time on looking after my body too. I’m managing to squeeze in more exercise sessions and I’m making better choices when it comes to food preparation rather than seeking out quick fixes after a long day out on the road.
Social distancing has also highlighted how many amazing people I have in my support network – and the lengths that people go to
connect and make sure that I am staying well. Keeping positive isn’t something we can always do in isolation and having the ability to turn to others, especially on the days when things feel too much, is extremely important. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to find the joy in everyday life. To take things one day at a time and appreciate the simple things. These are all things that I’m determined to take with me in a life post COVID-19. We don’t know when this will be or what this will look
like, but my mission is to try and come out the other side as a better version of myself. I know I have developed some really positive habits and I want to ensure that these don’t fall to the wayside once the chaos resumes.
In sport a strategy that gets drilled into us is ‘control the controllable’. This is one of my go to tools that I fall back on when I need to
respond to challenges. There are so many unknowns at the moment and things we cannot control – we have absolutely no control over the virus, or when it’s going to end. It can be tough to feel in control when so much is out of our control, but one thing that we can control is our response.
Choose to focus on everything we have lost, or choose to focus on what we have left.
For me, practicing gratitude is very helpful. Shifting my mindset away from the negative and focusing my attention on all the good
things that happen to me has been revolutionary. And by good, I’m not just talking about the HUGE wins. It’s about appreciating all the positive stuff, no matter how small. This shifts our perspective and allows us to redefine what we consider success to be. At the end of each day I write down the things that I am grateful for, even when my day hasn’t gone to plan. Drawing out small blessings, tiny wins and progress makes a HUGE impact.
Gratitude is something that I have prioritised for many years and it was fantastic to help manage the stress that life as an elite athlete inevitably brings. I’m finding it especially important now. It’s allowing me to feel more in control of my response, it’s enabling me to see opportunities rather than obstacles and take important lessons from this situation. Running through all these positives is also helpful when the negatives start to give space to my insecurities and I question my abilities.
I expect this situation to get better. It’s impossible to know when this will be and thinking in terms of days and weeks can murder our motivation. If the mountain in front of us looks too hard to climb this can feel off-putting, subtly shifting our behaviour down
an unproductive track. To successfully break through barriers and navigate challenges we need to focus on the here and now. We need to take the positives and learning opportunities from every situation, which focuses our attention on the actions and abilities that will help us move forward.
Remember that even small steps take us forward. Listing just one positive thing per day can contribute to a winning mindset, keeping
you in the here and now and give you the tools to tackle that rocky path ahead.
So, what positives are you going to be taking out of this year? And how are you going to make sure you keep to them?