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Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?: What Olympic gold really takes

douglasGabby080512_optBY JENN A. NOCERA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

"Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal."—Vince Lombardi

I love watching the Olympics. The best athletes in the world come together to compete after four years of preparation. It is amazing to witness them achieve their goals and dreams. In our fast-paced, high-tech society, I can't help but wonder if the average American appreciates all of the hard work and effort that go into becoming an Olympic athlete.

Teenage gymnast, Gabby Douglas, came under fire because of her hairstyle. (She pulls it back into a ponytail and uses gel and clips to hold it in place.)  The gold medalist admits to being confused by the comments about her hair. She Googled herself a few hours after winning and found social media was lighting up over her hair - not her gold medals! I'm confused, too! Can you imagine the excitement of winning being tainted by such comments?

It's been comical to listen to people talk about the Olympic Games. Everyone's a critic while sitting on the couch, eating and watching on TV. But, what does it really take to make it into the Olympics?

The athletes are completely focused on their training. They follow a rigorous diet and exercise regimen. They spend the majority of their days practicing, weight training, stretching, eating right, sleeping right, and learning to manage stress and maintain focus. With their coaches, they set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) goals to strive for.

The athletes train full-time, leaving no time for side jobs or traditional 9-to-5 careers. In the United States, families foot the bill for the training of young athletes. Obviously, this puts a financial strain on families as they cover the cost of training facilities, coaches, equipment, uniforms, travel, and extra food. Athletes and their families make tremendous sacrifices in order to compete in the Olympics.

In addition to physical conditioning, the athletes also use sports psychologists to help them focus, manage pressure, and cope with ordinary life stressors. They learn relaxation techniques, visualization, and positive self-talk as they prepare for the events.

It is fascinating to watch all of their hard work and preparation come together as they go for the gold. Hopefully, the Olympic Games of 2012 will remind us all of what we can achieve when we really commit to achieving our goals. Nothing will change in your life by wishing and hoping.  Going for the gold in life requires a serious commitment, hard work, support, and focus. What can you do today to move toward your goals?  Have you taken the time to develop an action plan? What are you willing to sacrifice?

Coach Jenn A. Nocera, MA, MFT, CLSC, CPFT is a Life & Wellness Coach, Personal Fitness Trainer, and Psychotherapist. Contact her to find out how Coaching can help you cultivate the mindset and habits necessary to master your challenges rather than fall victim to life's circumstances. Please contact Jenna at 732-842-3515 or visit www.FormulaForExcellence.com for a consultation. Click here for a Free Report on Resiliency.

 

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