If your a baseball fan, you always recognize when an athlete is in the zone. Whether its a batting hit streak, pitching a no hitter, or making countless diving catches, it appears that they are on fire. We see happen this in all major competitive sports and are always fascinating by long winning streaks. Its exhilarating to watch a player or team seemingly land on cruise control towards one victory after another.

Ever wonder why or how this happens? There is a reason for it and it goes way beyond beginners luck. In psychology its called the associative phase of learning and development. This is characterized as a phase of momentum. Less mistakes are made, neurological pathways become facilitated and hardwired. You are actually having to enlist less higher brain activity to succeed as your struggles diminish and your efforts shift into a flow of cruise control. You are now in the zone! You’ve got your groove, and hit your stride. Its the greatest feeling and the most rewarding positive mindset reinforcement to have a successful rhythm .

I’m sure we have all recognized moments in our lives when we’ve been in this glorious place. It could be getting a good grade in school, achievement at the workplace, mastering a musical piece or hobby or connecting in a meaningful relationship.

The million dollar question is how do you get there and what’s the secret to making it last?

Behavioral rhythms happen all the time They can be passive and arise out of default, or they can be deliberately cultivated. They arise from countless repetition and practice. In most circumstances, you have full control over there design and execution. The secret is to recognize the pattern so that you can anticipate the outcome before you reach it.

In order to reach the associative phase,one must first get through the initial struggle and inertia of the cognitive phase. This is when the most mistakes are made and the results are never close to matching the effort put in. If we are mentally prepared to initially suck at something, then we can have the will and patients to realize that future success is an inevitable outcome down the road. Neurological facilitation is not personal. It doesn’t matter if you believe you are worthy or if you of good moral character. It doesn’t matter if your wealthy or blessed with good genes. All that matters is the consistency by which you practice over and over again. The direction that we need to aim for is to make the practice efforts automatic

Designing an intentional rhythm is possible It just takes some structural planning in advance.This is how we can orchestrate a winning streak using my 3 faceted volcanic model.
1. MINDSET- The main mental components we want to be in check is to first choose an objective that really matters. Whether its a hobby, work project, instrument, relationship, fitness or dietary goal, it has to be very important to you and be in sync with your philosophical value system. The second mental preparation is to prepare for the initial inertia and to embrace the struggle. You are going anticipate great initial difficulty and allowing yourself to make countless mistakes is essential. Give yourself permission to SUCK. Its the normal part of the learning process. Everyone has to go through it. You just don’t necessarily see it because when you go to a performance, all you see is the talented perfect execution. You don’t hear the countless sour notes that went into perfecting the music. When asked about Michael Jordon’s record breaking statistical achievements, he was quoted as saying” its all about embracing the process. In my career I have missed over 9000 free throw shots too.
2. STRUCTURE- The architectural design and framework is a vital component to provide the necessary environment to practice in. I have always taught parents to provide a safe environment for your kids to fail in. Failure is nothing more than success training. I prefer using the terminology of Sucking at something because it is more humorous and is more of a transitional word on the path towards long term improvement. The other essential component of structural framework is time. Time is finite. Everybody gets the same 24 hrs/ day.You must choose your time and set it aside for practice. A good strategy for this is to try getting up 1 hour earlier. It may seem like an awful consideration at first but relax! You will habituate. Just like everyone eventually does during the spring/fall time changes.
3. ACTION- As I have stated before, when everything else is in place, carrying out the activity is the easiest step once you become familiar with the process. The most important task in this step is to keep building the streak. Don’t ever miss. Trust that you will get through it and believe that the glorious groove is just around the corner.

I wish that it was that simple. The truth is that all streaks come to an end and there are countless physical and mental barriers,obstacles and distractions along the way. Next week I’m going to address some of these barriers and demonstrate how to overcome them. Until then, enjoy the wave of success while your on it!

Do you have any spring aspirations of exercising outdoors? Or perhaps eating a healthier springtime diet, or maybe picking up an old hobby that used to give you great satisfaction once? Please share