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                                                                    Olympic Habits

                                                                    by Jonathan Horton

        Doing gymnastics and competing at the highest level throughout my career was a huge blessing that I don’t take
        for granted. Now that I have retired from competition, people frequently ask me how I did it, how I got to the top,
        and how I stayed there for as long as I did.

        I believe anyone can tap into skill sets that have been God-given, and develop them into something that can serve
        the world in an amazing way. In order for me to achieve my dreams of competing in the Olympics and winning an
        individual silver medal and a team bronze medal, I had to have Olympic habits.

        So let’s discuss how you can develop Olympic-caliber habits in your life.

        Be Mentally Tough                    a strong WHY and being committed  and with them about what our goals
                                             to it is essential.                  are. You have to be brutally honest
        To achieve anything worthwhile, an                                        with yourself and determine if your
        unbreakable mindset is required. In  Have A Singular Focus                current  habits  and  influences  are
        order to be mentally tough, you have                                      directing  you  closer  to—or  further
        to be willing to put in the preparation.  Being  single-minded   means    away from—your goals.  One of the
        Whenever you experience a mental  having  the  ability  to  shut  out  the  best things you can do is to make a
        block, the key is to do MORE, not less.  distractions that inevitably come our  list of the things that you know will
        Even if you have to take a step back  way. This was one of my strengths as  take you closer to where you want
        and discover a different solution to  an athlete. I  was laser-focused  on  to be, then take action on that list.
        your challenge, never stop. The little  what I  wanted.  When I  was doing
        things make a huge difference, and  gymnastics  in  college,  the  biggest  As  I  mentioned,  these  distractions
        those who are willing to do the little  distractions involved sleep and diet.  were evident in college. I was one
        things over and over again in private  Whether you are an athlete or not,  of the youngest guys to qualify for
        are the ones who win in public. Think  in order to compete at an elite level  the Olympic trials in 2004. When I
        about  the  little  things  that  made  every  day,  be  mindful  of  how  you  stepped on campus as a freshman at
        you  who  you are today.  You  have  are fueling your body. I had to ask  the University of Oklahoma in 2005,
        experienced successes all of  your  myself,  “What  am  I  putting  in  my  qualifying  for the  2008 Olympics
        life because of the small steps you  body? Who am I surrounding myself  was very much on my radar. People
        have taken. That’s the key to moving  with?”  Sometimes  the  people  who  made  fun  of my lifestyle. I didn’t
        forward now. It’s easy to feel beaten  love us the most are not the people  drink, and I was in bed at 9-10pm
        down  by  life  and  the  things  that  who  are  helping  us,  and  it  can  be  every day because we had 6:00AM
        happen to us. But remember WHY  a  tough  conversation  to  have.  We  workouts.
        you started in the first place. Having  have  to  be  honest  with  ourselves

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