The Dodgers, Lakers, Storm and Lightning—these are just a few of the teams that triumphed and brought home championship trophies in 2020. But after reaching the pinnacle, how do the pros find the drive to try for another title just a few months later? Or, on the other hand, as the new year unfolds, how does one unearth motivation after a period of uncertainty and unrest? Whether you’re coming off a major high or low, the approach is the same, according to performance expert and author of the new book The Art of Impossible, Steven Kotler: “If you summit the mountain, or get your ass kicked by life and don’t summit the mountain, it’s about resilience, grit and resetting goals to absorb the current challenge into a greater goal,” he says. Kotler—who also founded Flow Research Collective, a neuroscience research and training institute that works with Olympic athletes, executives and members of the U.S. Special Forces—says taking advantage of our “inherent goal-setting machinery” can boost motivation, enhance performance and increase productivity by 11% to 25%, referencing the theory developed in the 1960s by psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham that still holds true today. Set manageable, process-oriented objectives that align with your passions and lead to higher-level aspirations, Kotler says, then maximize productivity with positive psychology basics (below). “You have to give the body goals so it knows where to go,” he says.
CATCH SOME QUALITY ZZZ’S
Along with good nutrition, hydration and daily exercise, the human body needs seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night to perform at peak levels.
Social support is critical, especially in the current times of less face-to-face contact. Actively seek out meaningful conversations with loved ones.
MANAGE ANXIETY LEVELS
A five-minute gratitude practice, meditation session or a simple workout are all tools that can help calm the mind and control the nervous system.