No athlete is immune from days when it’s harder than usual to train. Here are three books to help you find motivation and develop good habits.
Whether you’re a professional or not, every athlete faces days when they don’t feel like getting up early for training; they don’t feel like following their carefully planned out diet; or they don’t feel like sleeping on time. It happens. But, days like these do not have to define one’s trajectory or progress because there are ways out of these ‘slumps’.
Here, we’ve listed three incredibly insightful, practical, and helpful books that every athlete should read to help find motivation, develop healthy habits, and ultimately, reach for their goals.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Atomic Habits, written by James Clear, is one of the most highly recommended self-help books in the world because of its practicality and the ease with which one can apply its takeaways. This is why athletes who need to overcome issues in motivation, or any other area for that matter, need to read this book.
In Atomic Habits, Clear argues that if you’re having a hard time changing your habits (for example, as an athlete, maybe you neglect your nutrition or skip some training days when you’re feeling demotivated), the problem is not you — rather, it is your system. This book walks you through the psychology of habit formation, and how you can implement small and simple changes in your everyday life to create big changes in your routines, which you will, in turn, see in your results.
Through the lessons in this book, which James Clear writes in such a way that they are very easy to apply, you’ll be able to make time for new habits, overcome a lack of motivation, create an environment that promotes success, and get back on track even after an off-day — skills that every athlete with big goals need to have in their arsenal.
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive With The New Science of Success
Another self-help book that many athletes have found useful, especially in driving motivation, is Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. In this book, the authors combine inspiring stories from people who have excelled in different fields, including the field of sports, and go on a deep dive into the scientific insights of cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive high performance.
It may sound technical, but Stulberg and Magness explain every concept thoughtfully so that it is easy to understand how these concepts and findings can help anyone, whether you are a professional or an amateur, achieve high performance. For instance, the book showcases practical ways of how you can enhance performance by alternating periods of intense work and rest, priming the mind and body for better levels of productivity, and utilizing the power of purpose, among many other life lessons.
For athletes, this is a compilation of stories of success, supported by the science behind these successes, and how you, in your own way, can create your own habits that lead to peak performance.
The Mamba Mentality: How I Play
Of course, while science and data from books are all well and good when you’re trying to build motivation and healthy habits, sometimes, what an athlete needs is to hear (or read, rather) about the experiences of a fellow athlete. The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant is a book that has helped many athletes ever since its release in 2018.
In The Mamba Mentality, the NBA legend recounts personal experiences in his life and career as a basketball player, allowing readers to get inside the mind of an athlete well-known and revered for his dedication and hard work. In this book, Bryant tells stories about how he was able to prepare himself mentally and physically, how he played through injuries, and what it took for him to become one of the best players in the sport.
The ‘Mamba Mentality’ — the mentality to strive to become the best version of oneself — is something that many athletes try to emulate, and this is the perfect way to find out what this means, exactly. This kind of mental toughness and dedication goes far past motivation, which is what makes this book something that all athletes, from any sport, can learn a lot from.
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