#UnityFocusChallenge

Professor Andy Lane

Andy Lane is a Professor of Sport Psychology and Director of Research Excellence at the University of Wolverhampton. A keen runner, Andy achieved a sub-3hr time in the London Marathon.

#UnityFocusChallenge

Stay laser-focused and always keep your eye on the prize
Stay laser-focused and always keep your eye on the prize

#UnityFocusChallenge

Have you ever lost confidence and choked as a result? Or maybe you've sacked off exercise simply because you weren't in the mood? Good focus is key for success, while improved concentration is useful in all aspects of life. This week, we show you how to always keep your eye on the prize.

Professor Andy Lane

Andy Lane is a Professor of Sport Psychology and Director of Research Excellence at the University of Wolverhampton. A keen runner, Andy achieved a sub-3hr time in the London Marathon.

Actions

1
Keep achieving

Set staggered goals

It's easy to lose focus if your end-goal seems hopelessly out of reach. By setting immediate, short-term and long-term goals you'll regularly be on the receiving end of those juicy dopamine releases your brain treats you to for getting stuff done. This challenge is simple: write down a weekly training goal (e.g. run three times this week), a monthly training goal (e.g. complete your first 10k without stopping) and a long-term goal (e.g. finish a marathon in less than four hours). That's it.

Not convinced? A 2015 study found that people who write their goals down are 33% more likely to achieve them, while countless high-achievers from Steve Jobs to Serena Williams swear by achievable goal setting.

2
Take notes

Start a training diary

Give yourself a concentration level rating during each training session you do this week.

Make a note of what you ate and drank each day and any other potential contributing factors such as sleep quality.

You'll soon start to identify recurring causes for poor focus and be able to start addressing or, even better, eliminating them.

3
Visualise success

Use positive mental imagery

A technique favoured by elite athletes such as Michael Phelps, visualising your successes in order to achieve them might sound like new-age nonsense, but this tried and tested sports psychology technique really works.

When you step up to take a free kick picture the ball flying in the exact spot of the goal you're aiming for, as you start your long-distance cycle ride visualise yourself having just completed it, or if you're hitting the climbing wall imagine yourself reaching the top and looking back down to where you started.

Whatever training you do, this week consciously use positive mental imagery wherever applicable. Do that and half the battle will already have been won!

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