Remember learning how to lose? The idea is to use losses as clues to what you need to change so you can improve. Once you figure out what to change, how do you change it? Lanny Bassham uses directive affirmations. A directive affirmation has a time limit, a goal – whatever it is you want to change, the payoff, and your plan to reach the goal.

I get nervous during a match and then I speed up and then I forget what I’m doing and then… the match is over. Here is my affirmation for nervousness.

6/7/04 Once the match starts I feel comfortable because I have prepared as well as I can. As a result, I am relaxed and perform better. I rehearse everything that happens on the day of the match, I practice 3 times a week, I record my performance analysis and read and visualize my Directive Affirmation daily. Once the match starts I feel comfortable because I have prepared as well as I can.

By June 7 (21 days from now), I expect to feel relaxed when I compete. Optimism never hurts. It’ll be worth it because nervousness is hardly optimal. And my plan is to rehearse everything that could possibly happen. Notice that I’ve left something out here. If you have a poor image of yourself then you have a big problem. Sorry, not sure I can help you with that.

Bassham tells you to run this affirmation for 21 days and then take a break for 9 days before starting another one. I’ll tell you how it goes.

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