Think Like a Paralympian To Improve Your Mindfulness & Goal-setting!

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Photographer: Liam Charmer | Source: Unsplash

With the Olympics and Paralympics underway, many people see it as an opportunity to talk about the legacy of the sporting event. With its feats of athleticism, and how sport should be equal for everyone. Or use it for inspiration porn, and use a Paralympian as a guilt trip for look ‘They’re in a wheelchair! If they can do it, you can do it.’ Which many disabled people don’t like. Plus is actually a very negative and de-motivating mindset to have.

Today I’m going to look at something everyone forgets with the Paralympics and by extension the Olympics. Which, are the core values of the Games’. And explore how they at their heart can make us more motivated; teach us some key skills in life and could be useful as a checklist for mindful-ness.

What are the Paralympic values?

The Paralympics themselves have four values

Determination: Trying to do or continuing to do something even though it is very difficult

Courage: Ability to control fear in a dangerous or tense situation

Inspiration: someone or something gives you an idea for something

Equality: The right of different groups to have equal treatment

Which when combined with the three Olympic values:

Excellence: The quality of being excellent

Friendship: being in a friendly relationship

Respect: Admiration for someone or something

Creates the key values of the Games’ however, these aren’t just fancy words applied to the most important sporting event since Greek times. They are something we should use in our life. To use it as a guide to be better, do better, and make the world better. In fact, they possibly double up as a motivational set of thoughts we remember throughout the day.

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What do they teach us?

The Olympic and Paralympic values are taught to kids in schools. (At least in the UK) in fact, since 2012 every sports department has doubled down on using these values. Why? These are the foundations of what we should act like. Or, what we see in a person we deem morally ‘good’.

They teach us the key qualities and skills we should always try to use to get ahead in life. They teach resilience, communication, and tolerance that is needed throughout the world. However, these aren’t just for kids to learn or to try and hold themselves accountable too. Adults can use these too! As a reminder of how to act around colleagues, and try to use them throughout their working life. And, as a checklist for their standard of work.

Where do we see these in everyday life?

We use these values every day. Determination for when you have stressful projects at work but you push through. Equality is put into practice whenever you share a petition for a just cause.

Although it’s subconscious, and you don’t really associate these actions to the games or their values. As the Games happen every four years and so go out of focus for 3 years of your life at a time. But also, because we’re conditioned to do these things automatically.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, sometimes when we do things on ‘automatic’ we sometimes get lost in the monotony of life and, don’t check in with ourselves and our personal goals.

How could we use this to improve mindfulness?

The seven values make a good checklist to ask yourself or, to check if you're getting everything you want from life.

Every week or so when you have five minutes to yourself. Ask how many actions or plans you completed this week fit into the seven values. Then ask yourself what goals you have for the next week or month.

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Whatever the goal is, and it doesn’t have to be Paralympic or Olympic-sized. it doesn’t have to move several mountains- I’ll give you an example:

Ask yourself what is your goal for the week - Getting to the shops

then identify what is stopping you- Getting on the bus and then moving around whilst lots of people are about

identify which of the seven values you need and where to apply them: Courage to ask people to move out of the way, and to try not to panic. Determination so I don’t back out of what I need to do.

Then turn that into an action...

How will I become more courageous and ask people to move out of the way: When I worry if people will be rude or judgemental- breathe in and out and remind myself it is an intrusive thought and ignore it.

How will I remain determined to go to the shops: I will focus on only getting what’s on the shopping list. Minimizing the intrusive thoughts I get around other people, stopping me from panicking. If I do get too panic-y about crowds then find a quiet corner and use a breathing exercise, or focus on an object in the shopping center and calm down.

Why it works

See pretty easy, right. This method works for a lot of situations. and, it doesn’t have to fill every single value. You could do it for five minutes as a quick check-in. That you are achieving your goals (big, or small) on a lunch break. You could spend longer and write it down.

It will be more fun than your average life map. Due to the fact thinking with these values in mind is endorsed by the Olympic and Paralympic games. The fact you’re thinking like one of the greats will probably give you more motivation to keep check of your goals and mindfulness. Plus, it's healthier than the toxic thinking of ‘If they can do it I can do it!’ or the Paralympic equivalent of ‘They have *insert disability here* if they can do that you can do that too!’

See how it goes and try thinking like an Olympian or Paralympian to improve your goal setting and mindfulness.

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