Have you ever noticed that sometimes you have a hard time letting things go? You made a mistake or wish you had done something differently and you obsess about it, driving yourself crazy, and no matter how much pain and angst it causes you, somehow you just can’t manage to move passed it. One of the greatest skills you can have as an athlete is the ability to let go of a mistake and move on from it. You can expend a tremendous amount of energy ruminating about a mistake you made in the past. If you have a mistake that your mind keeps wandering back to, that mistake ends up being an anchor tied to your waist; an anchor that keeps you tied to the past. It keeps your energy and focus tied to an event that is shrouded in feelings of frustration, anger, and doubt.
As long as you are tied to that anchor there is energy being directed toward the past and that expenditure of energy would be more useful in the here and now. As long as you are tied to that anchor, those emotions that are connected to the event also stay tied to you and you will continue carry the weight of that anchor and those emotions into every performance until you can cut the rope. If you work on one thing this month, focus on letting go of just one of those “mistakes”.
Think about a scenario that you wish had gone down differently. Which one does your mind keep coming back to? If the thought of not focusing on that event fills you with a sense of relief, that’s a good one to choose. Here are a few different ideas for how to let it go and move on:
- ACCEPT – Accept that things went down the way they did. Accept that it wasn’t fair. Accept the role you had it in. Whatever it is you need to come to terms with, it’s time to do it. As long as you keep fighting against it and wishing things had gone differently, you will remain stuck in the past.
- LET IT GO - You need to make the conscious decision to “forgive and forget”. It doesn’t serve you to keep punishing yourself by staying tied to that anchor. It’s time to cut the rope and let it go. Part of what continues to keep that memory fresh in your mind is that there is a strong negative emotion tied to it. Help yourself let it go by re-framing the situation and connecting it to emotions that are more facilitative to your performance. What did you learn from the situation? How was it potentially beneficial to you? How have you progressed since then?
Beating yourself up over this thing is no longer serving you. If you want to work on improving focus and confidence, you need to work on living in the present and cutting the rope to the anchor that ties you down. Accepting that it happened leads to forgiveness and forgiveness leads to moving on. Just pick one. You don’t have to let go of everything all at once. Truly focus on just letting one thing go and you will immediately feel how much that anchor has been weighing you down.