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As a scientist in the centre of the Olympic maelstrom, I get to look very closely at each athlete’s success to dissect it and determine the difference between winning and losing. More often than not, it is the athletes who use their mental skills most effectively who end up on the podium.

Let’s review a few examples from the Vancouver Olympic Games to remind ourselves of how mental skills and habits can be used to ensure success.

Remember Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold medal performance in Moguls? He was the first Canadian to capture gold on home soil. But what was he up to in the 20 seconds before he bolted out of the starting gate? He was repeating his Power Words: “forward” (for his knees) and “soft” (for his jumps).

What about Joannie Rochette? She used relaxation breathing while standing by the boards with her coach to get back into the Zone when her emotions about her mother’s death arose as she was about to start her program. As a result, she went out and won the Bronze medal.

And then there was Canadian skeleton racer Jon Montgomery who has gone on to fame as the host of Amazing Race Canada. He had to prepare for his race immediately after a luger had died in practice. How did he do it? He was so focused on envisioning his race that doing it seemed like an episode of déjà vu.

You will inevitably face challenges as you are working towards your dream. By accepting that you can use mental skills and techniques to influence your performance, you can ensure you are thinking clearly and performing optimally.

Practice focus, positive talk (with power words) and relaxation techniques to boost your mental and physical performance and be in your Zone.

Thinking Clearly is how we can take our better physical health and energy and translate that into a better life on a day to day basis. It is the true potential of the mind-body connection. 

Today's POWER-UP: Apply the 1% Better concept to your mind

EVERY DAY, YOU CAN MAKE A 1% IMPROVEMENT TO YOUR MINDSET! AIM FOR SMALL IMPROVEMENTS IN HOW YOU THINK AND MANAGE YOUR DAYS. MICRO-WINS ADD UP OVER TIME TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE!