We are excited to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Shawn Johnson
Shawn Johnson was just 16 when she won four gymnastics medals in Beijing. Now she's trying for London, and this time she's the one making decisions about her training . . .
When I was younger, my coach Liang Chow made all the decisions. I would go to the gym for practice, do exactly what Chow told me to do, go home, come back, and start all over again. If Chow told me to do 50 squat jumps, I did 50 squat jumps. His guidance definitely paid off: four years ago in Beijing, I won one gold and three silver medals.
The road to this summer's Olympic trials has been very different and, in many ways, a much bigger challenge. I'm not the kid I was four years ago — my body and mind are both more mature. There's also been the torn left ACL I sustained on a ski trip two years ago, which has been a difficult and often frustrating injury. But as the 2012 Olympics approach, this time I'm in the driver's seat, no longer just along for the ride. And that feels really good.
Going into this year, I have been trying not to have too many big expectations. One thing you hear a lot from gymnasts is that they just want to do what they're capable of. To me, that means getting completely healthy and in top Olympic shape. Thinking about the Olympics can get a little too overwhelming at times, so I try to make the smaller goals more important: having good practices each day, getting my knee back to normal, keeping myself healthy and happy and doing what I love. That's what it was all about in the beginning, and hopefully that's what will get me back to the Games.
Keep reading to see how Shawn stays motivated.
A "temporary" attitude. I take one day at a time. Each day is a new day and a new chance to be great. If one day is bad, I put it behind me. I try not to look too far ahead or else I lose the beauty and fun of living in the moment.
A power playlist. I'm a country girl and love being able to sing along, so my iPod is filled with Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney. I also have a few pump-me-up songs like "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson or "Part of Me" by Katy Perry. Mixing it up keeps me interested.
A daily reminder of my goals. It helps to read something or see something each day that fires you up and gets you going. One of my favorite quotes: "Every battle is won before it is ever fought." That one gets me going before a hard training.
Rewards, rewards, rewards. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals that are challenging but attainable. It boosts confidence to work for something a little more short-term and attain it than to set a far-out goal that takes years to achieve. Then I treat myself once I've accomplished them — whether it's a little dessert or even a recovery day of massage and spa! It's all about acknowledging the hard work.
Plenty of patience. Bad days, frustrating times, and moments of doubt are just part of being human. I know if I stick with it I'll appreciate these days because they lead to the great ones down the road!
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