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Getting goal-ready: how mindfulness can help you tackle anything

When we’re striving to excel at something, how we show up is everything. You could be an employee looking to nail a key presentation. Or running onto the field for a must-win match. Or debuting a piece of work as an artist.

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Whatever our pursuit of excellence, we each need to show up mentally, not just physically. That’s why this month’s featured collection of exercises has one overarching theme: being at the top of your game in your chosen field. We can train the body day in, day out, but if we’re not also looking after the mind, then we are not maximizing our highest potential; if we’re not maximizing our highest potential, we’re not truly ready to pursue our goals. Imagine if you could walk into a competitive arena or a boardroom or a crucial interview, with a mind at ease, in the present, fully focused, not rattled by thoughts, emotions, or surrounding circumstances. Imagine being that mentally strong.

We could all do with being better equipped to be more resilient, more focused, more confident, and more able to handle pressure. Those are just a few reasons why professional athletes are turning to Headspace. It’s also why the app was first utilized as a training tool by Team Great Britain ahead of the 2012 Olympics, and why Headspace now partners with the NBA, the MLS, the LPGA, and U.S. Soccer. But whatever our skillset — inside or outside of sports — it’s an undeniable truth that a healthy mind is a core element of how we perform in life. And a healthy mind — calmer, clearer, and contented — is less prone to being emotionally reactive during the highs and lows, and the successes and setbacks. The mind doesn’t respect whether we’re a pro or a first-timer; nor does it respect reputations, popularity, or prestige. At the end of the day, we’re all human. And because we’re all human, we’re all fallible, meaning we will all struggle with the mind at one time or another.

June’s featured collection: Getting goal-ready

We’ve pulled together this collection of meditations and exercises to help you feel prepared for, well, anything. Tackling goals — at work, in athletics, or anywhere else in life — can be challenging. But if you take care of the mind, it can help you take care of everything else.

Getting ready

Being mentally prepared is equally as important as being physically ready — if we are to show up for ourselves and others. That prep means being clear about our motivation and intentions, so these exercises will help to put you in the right frame of mind. Motivation (sport single) — Get clear on your goals and pursue them with a healthy sense of perspective that’s aligned with the right motivation to keep you on track. Interviews (single) — Showing up and being fully present is key in any given situation. The basis of this meditation, while ostensibly for job interviews, helps us to rest in uncertainty, therefore allowing us to put our best foot forward.

Staying cool

Whatever lies ahead for us, our chances of success are greatly improved if we can keep a level head, stay focused, and remain present. These exercises are designed to keep your head in the game. Concentration (sport single) – If we are to be fully focused, we need to let go of past experiences or any expectations of a certain result — this exercise shows you how. Presentations (single) — Nothing instills calm more than a quiet sense of confidence, and this single meditation anchors us to the moment so that we can put nerves aside and be 100% focused on the task at hand.

Making it mindful

Cycling (exercise) — Mindfulness involves paying attention to the senses in any given moment, and this physical exercise keeps you on track by bringing focus to the body — the cycling rhythm, the sensations experienced, and the surrounding environment. Run Easy (exercise) — Lace-up, release any pent-up tension, and go for a reenergizing audio-guided run with your mental pacesetters: Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe and Nike Running Global Coach, Chris Bennett. Difficult Conversations (single) — Achieving our goals can often mean having some difficult conversations along the way, but they don’t have to be a source of anxiety. Use this exercise to help develop a calmer, more patient mindset ahead of time. Walking in Nature (walking meditation) — Spending time in nature affords us a great opportunity to step away from the thinking mind and put down all distractions, so that we can get clear on why we are shooting for what we are shooting for.

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