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  • The Performance Plan

GRIT is a term you may have heard about, but what does it mean and more importantly how do we get it?

American psychologist Angela Duckworth has described GRIT as a perseverance and passion for long-term goals. When speaking of GRIT, Duckworth explains the importance of committing to our long-term goals (seeing our life pursuits as a marathon not a sprint), even in the presence of setbacks and failure. In the context of our long term health and fitness aspirations (and life goals in general), GRIT may well be essential trait to develop. As such, here are some ways in which you can try to get a bit more GRIT into your life!

1) Strive for Daily Self-Improvement

One of my favourite sayings is “I am better than I was yesterday, but not as good as I will be tomorrow”. This mantra perfectly captures the nature of GRIT. Remember that GRIT is all about long-term perseverance. If you’re only focusing on the short term, you’re setting yourself up to fail. That being said, to help sustain continued effort and keep yourself on the right path, you must strive for improvement on a daily basis (no matter how small). This might be an extra minute in the gym every day, an extra rep on that final set or simply, continually educating yourself toward how you can lead a healthier lifestyle.

2) Develop a Growth Mindset

Your ability to get fitter, faster and stronger is largely self-determined (this is an idea that is empowering and frightening in equal measure). Physical prowess and talent are rarely innate, we are in control of what we are able to achieve. Despite this, we often give up on our long-term goals (usually blaming external forces). By embracing challenges and setbacks and trusting in the idea that we have the ability to continually grow and learn from them, we are more likely to develop the GRIT required to achieve our goals. Remember: “GRIT Trumps Talent

3) Focus on “The Why”

Why have you started on this journey toward a new fitter and healthier you? Is it a desire for a dream body? A sense of guilt? Or a maybe it’s a fear of not being able to walk to the kitchen without breaking into a sweat? Whatever the reason, think about why these goals are truly important to you. To help you in this process, it’s important to identify your core values. What are your values and how does a healthier lifestyle fit in with these values?

4) Be Passionate

When it comes to exercise, the initial problem usually stems from a lack of passion or desire to engage in any form of physical activity. Unfortunately, without passion it’s hard to develop GRIT! To paraphrase psychologist Robert Vallerand, passion represents a strong inclination toward an activity which you find important and one which you are willing to invest time and energy in. Additionally (and here’s the rub) you have to like or even love it! Developing a positive relationship with exercise is often difficult, but a common misconception is that it can’t be enjoyable. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when working toward long-term goals, it is essential that you remain motivated, with the strongest form of motivation often being regarded as intrinsic (motivation that comes from within). Intrinsic motivation can be derived from a desire to master new skills and develop a sense of autonomy. Additionally, research suggests that the strongest predictors of exercise-based motivation are obtained through a sense of enjoyment, competence and social interaction. So, with that in mind, strive to learn ways to exercise, experiment with varied forms of physical activity (yes many of these can be fun) and grab yourself a gym buddy. This will help drive forward your passion for exercise.

To conclude, it’s important you take comfort in the fact that you are the central architect of your own positive and long-lasting change. So that being said….. what are you waiting for? Get to the gym!

For more information on GRIT and exercise advice and motivation, please get in touch.


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  • The Performance Plan

Sport psychology as we know it, is changing and evolving. Recently it has been suggested that sport psychology should be replaced with the term “Performance psychology” and here are a couple reasons why.....


The role of the modern sport psychologist has become about a lot more than just addressing performance issues among athletic populations (although that is still extremely important!). There is now increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of sport psychology principles in broader performance domains. For example, in business and corporate settings, sport psychology professionals are being increasingly employed to help deal with issues such as effective leadership, organisational change and employee well-being.


Those in professions such as medicine, the performing arts and even the military have also been influenced become increasingly influenced by sport psychology practices. To elaborate, recent research has shown surgeons to employ pre-performance routines prior to conducting surgery, using techniques such as visualization to prepare them for complex operations. Fighter pilots have also worked with sport psychologists to enhance their effectiveness in combat, particularly in relation to the employment of more effective visual search strategies. Additionally, the development of techniques aimed toward increasing mental toughness and resilience have been increasingly explored within the armed forces.


Taking a holistic approach when working with performers has also been seen as an increasing part of the sport psychologist’s role. This includes helping performers deal more effectively with lifestyle management factors (rest and recovery, sleep, nutrition, organizational and personal stressors) and broader issues which many may consider to be unrelated to athletic performance


To conclude, regardless of the domain in which we operate, we are all performers. As such, if sport psychology is truly evolving into a broader performance psychology , then the future of the profession may be entering a new and exciting age and the utilization of sport psychology practices may be more relevant than ever.


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  • The Performance Plan

Updated: Aug 23, 2022


Athlete mental health is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in modern sport, with a number of high profile sportsmen and women bravely opening up about their experiences with depressive and anxiety based disorders. However, despite negative connotations, the term “mental health” is actually defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

Before we go anything further, I want the reiterate the importance of addressing mental illness in sport and I fully support the amazing work carried out by health professionals in helping those who experience mental health difficulties. However, in this article I want to focus on how we can work toward promoting positive mental health.

Positive mental health is a topic that is receiving increasing attention from the sport psychology community. In my own PhD research, I am looking at the concept of flourishing, which has been regarded as “the epitome of mental health”. To flourish as an athlete, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. The list is extensive, but here are a few key factors that have been shown to promote positive mental health.

Autonomy – An ability to work/function independently

Personal growth- A desire to develop oneself

Mastery – The capacity to conquer new skills

Resilience- The ability to deal with setbacks

Positive relationships- A support network of people you can rely on

Optimism- the ability to maintain a positive outlook of the future.

Do you agree with this list? What factors do you feel contribute to your ability to flourish as an athlete?

We believe flourishing in sport is unique, so if you have 15 minutes to spare, we would love to hear your thoughts here-

https://cccusocialsciences.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9Gek5kOIzp9kEpT

For more information and support email: info@performanceplan.co.uk


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