We’ve all heard the saying – whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. Your ability to accomplish something depends on your belief in your ability to accomplish it.
Your belief in your own abilities depends on a lot of different things: judgement, expectations, past experiences, environment. These things drive your attitude, motivation, and ultimately, what you can and can’t do. Self-belief plays a huge role in how you approach goals, tasks, and challenges.
How does this reflect on your adventures – be it hiking, climbing, ski touring, mtn biking etc.? Have you ever felt like you’re getting in your own way when it comes to achieving your goals? Perceptions can influence reality.
Think “I’ve done this a million times before,” and you feel confident heading up a trail. Think “This hike is insignificant,” and you feel impatient and unmotivated during the ascent and descent. Think “The weather is gorgeous today,” and you have a little more bounce in your step throughout your trip. These thoughts or beliefs, however small or minor, directly affect your performance by producing changes in muscle tension, blood flow, hormone production, and attentional focus .
In my own experience, there are two powerful tools that keep me from getting in my own way when it comes to adventures:
A mental image of yourself could hold the most significance in determining your success. Before you head out, picture yourself at your planned destination. Spend a minute or two to imagine the surrounding sights & smells, and the feeling of being there. This mental picture should help you go a long way.
When it comes to mountain sports, it’s hard to hold robust self-confidence in a world that’s ever-changing due to external factors: weather, conditions, terrain, and more. When you understand the malleability of your surrounding environment, your self-confidence may become equally malleable. While you can’t change environmental factors, you can adjust and calibrate your confidence to meet those these challenges.
Self-confidence is a powerful thing. Start believing in yourself.
1. Applied Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance. Krane, Vikki & Williams, Jean M.