As a Muay Thai fighter, I’m always asked where I find my strength to go through each fight, or what motivates me to deal with a full time work as a nutritionist plus my boxing career. Without thinking twice, I say that it is all about following a dream I turned into a reality and goal setting was a huge part of that.
I can say that as an athlete, I am most of the time motivated, for a fight, for beating up an opponent, for the next goal that is within my reach. But of course when a loss or a difficult sparring day comes or that dreaded training session when nothing goes as planned, you struggle.
And that is the key point that makes it all a journey.
As a nutritionist, I see my clients having all kinds of struggle in pursuit of their goals. Most of them are motivated, which you might think will make it easier for them to overcome their problem, but you are wrong, they still find it really hard.
In that moment I go back to my “boxer side” so I can understand them. Sometimes I am really motivated about a fight and do everything to be ready and perform at my best, but during the fight it doesn’t happen.
Sometimes it’s that my opponent was too good, or I made several mistakes, or a bloody elbow landed on my forehead and the referee had to stop the fight. Other times I just wasn’t listening to my corner, or I put so much pressure on myself that I ended up overwhelmed and couldn’t make it through.
So what comes next?
Maybe a couple of days to recover, mentally and physically and then I am back in the gym, starting my next training, focusing on what is coming next.
What should my clients do? I think exactly the same.
Whenever my clients fail on their nutritional program or lifestyle change, no matter what the reason, they should then take a break to recover, reset then start again, focusing on what is coming next.
Even if that again is again and again. They shouldn’t go back thinking that it’s going to be ages until they reach their goal, no.
I can’t start motivated a training session thinking it’s going to take ages for the promoter to give me another world title shot, if so, I will not train at all! I have to start thinking on my present, on what’s next, on my next fight, my next opponent, what I did wrong last time, and make that drive me.
My clients should be thinking on their actual situation, on what they are going to eat on that meal, on whether they will go to the gym to work out or go for a run after they leave their kids at school.
There is no chance that they should let their mind go back to the past where they failed or to get desperate about the future to come.
They have to simply put in 100% effort at that moment to do the specific task in front of them.
Instead of wasting time thinking about what went wrong, it’s better to use it to take care of that moment that they are facing. It’s the same as if next time during my fight training, I will not think about the elbow on my forehead, but about the correction on my stance to protect my face more, and put all of my efforts on that specific moment at training.
In the long run, when goal setting, me and my clients will see the result and most likely earlier than expected.
Then there is this feeling of self-awareness that we all have to look after.
Sometimes we are so stressed to get to the goal, that we don’t see small results.
It happened to me the other day that while one of my trainers was holding my pads whilst my other 2 trainers were looking at us, and I kept stressing about what they were going to say about my technique, power, etc.
As soon as we finished, they just made a couple of comments on things I could improve on but that was it!
It felt so encouraging to actually see that they were happy about my performance. I put so much pressure on myself I couldn’t even see I was actually doing my drills just fine.
Same happens with my clients, when goal setting they put so much pressure on themselves to make it all perfect, that they don’t see the small results happening, like making a healthy food choice, or saying no to a bag of chips from someone at work.
They have to learn to know that small steps mean the most on their journey to their ultimate goal, and for that you have to practice to be self-aware without becoming overly critical.
You should see the good and the bad, all together, that makes the difference, don’t focus only on what you are doing wrong.
Last, but not least, there is one useful tool I try to use always on my fight day: visualization.
The day of your fight, you are usually resting and just relaxing, to keep yourself full of energy. On those moments, I try to think of the fight and visualize myself winning.
Sometimes I even think of how I am going to win (if with a knee, or an elbow, if by points or a knock out). That helps me a lot, because with those images on my mind, I feel like I know what is going to happen.
And actually many scientific studies had proven that visualization in sports it’s a great technique to achieve success, it makes me succeed even before going on the ring.
So why shouldn’t my clients visualize themselves getting to a goal.
They have to see in their minds eye themselves achieving that goal, not only the result, but also the process. This takes goal setting to the next level. They can also visualize themselves going to a family dinner and eating only nutritious food, avoiding all junk food and sweet drinks.
They can visualize themselves going to that challenging core workout they see happening in the gym at the same time they go for your normal workout, but that they are still afraid to try.
They can even visualize themselves getting to every small goal in the journey for their big goal.
If you see yourself doing it, you will believe in yourself and set your mind into knowing you are capable of achieving what you just visualized.
I’ll end with this quote, which summarizes everything I’ve discussed and is the essence of how I get the strength to fight and should inspire you to keep pursuing your own goals:
“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile”.
About the Author
Pierre Gagnon practised concentration and insight meditation intensively from 2010 to 2012, then went on to study meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh with the venerable Ajahn Po from 2013 to 2015. As well as his own practice, he has coordinated meditation retreats in the south of Thailand which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
Having a great passion in the field of neuroscience, he likes to integrate these concepts into meditation practice. He believes that much of our life is lived resisting and defending against internal and external experiences that people perceive as threats. Through the development of concentration and meditation, we can insightfully see that all experiences are harmless and there is no need to defend of contract around them. Pierre has experience coordinating concentration and insight meditation retreats, teaching the relationship that exists between Buddhism and neuroscience.
About the Author
Bochakorn began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.