Just do it… Right? Nike’s slogan does offer some good advice: sometimes we have to stop worrying and just do. But we do not only want to do—perform—we want to do it at a high level. We want high performance, and simply doing it is not enough.

The mind is at the core. Everything we do starts in our mind—it determines the quality and the quantity of our performance. Without the mind we can do nothing. The mind is our control center and if our control center is not ready to perform at a high level, how can we expect to do so? But if our mind is ready and primed there are few things we cannot do.

In athletics a pregame or pre-practice physical warmup is not only standard but required. The muscles need to be warm, elastic, and active to be able to jump higher, run faster, and prevent injuries. Our mind also needs to be “warm” to perform at it’s highest level and to prevent interference from injuring our mentality.

How do we get our mind prepped to perform at a high level?

We have established that the mind is at the core, but the mind is also has different pieces. It is built of five separate cognitions (or processes) related to performance: motivation, anxiety, concentration, confidence, and decision making. To get our mind ready we need to have all five of these cognitions working together like the cylinders of a car engine. If one is not functioning correctly it effects the whole engine.

To fire up all five of these cognitions we need a spark—a tool. That tool is the Cognitive Structured Journal. Designed by Dr. Manning, the Cognitive Structured Journal accumulates a wealth of knowledge and scientific research into a simple and easy-to-use journal format. Each step of the journal is straight forward but its application goes deep inside our mind and our subconscious. The journal is build of five steps:

1) Objective

2) Plan

3) Strengths

4) Weakness/Needed Improvement

5) Cognitive Evaluation

Over the next five weeks we will go deep into each step of the journal and how each one helps get our mind prepped to perform at a high level. We will also talk about all five cognitions and how the regular use of the journal effects each one. After each blog post there will be an activity that will help you apply the knowledge from the post into your mind and life. Below is this week’s activity:

Application Activity:

1) Take out a pen and paper, or a word application on your computer, phone or tablet. Get ready to write.

2) Write down any rituals you have that gets you in the proper mental or physical state for an activity. Examples include: stretching before playing tennis, warm up exercises before lifting weights, taking a few breaths before giving a presentation at work, sipping water before making an important phone call, drinking some caffeine before work, napping before an important competition, and anything else you can think of.

3) Now imagine you do the same activity but without the precluding ritual. How might you feel different? Would it make you uncomfortable?

The purpose of this application activity is to demonstrate that all of us have little rituals that help prepare us to perform. The goal of these little rituals is to get us in the right state to perform whether mentally, emotionally, or physically.

The Cognitive Structured Journal unlike other rituals does not only prepare our mind but it gets our mind in the right mindset, not only for performance, but for high performance.

Check back next week, or subscribe to our newsletter below for part 2 of this blog series—Getting the Mind Right First.


The Fearless Mind resource center is a critical mental tool for any individual wanting to improve their performance in athletics, business, or personal achievement. Each subscriber gets over 32 individual mental training videos, access to the Mental Strength Journal, the statistics page, and The Zone, a special area with exclusive video content uploaded weekly all for only $20 a month. Click here to sign up The Fearless Mind also offers personal mental strength coaching. To inquire about getting a Fearless Mind coach to work with you personally click here: http://thefearlessmind.com/personal-coaching/

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