06/08/2020 # Home
Triggers are things that inspire us immediately into a feeling or action.
Find your trigger word, phrase, song, or ritual to get you “in the zone”.
Remember watching the movie Dumbo as a kid?
Dumbo the elephant was able to fly with his big ears but didn’t believe in himself. Dumbo’s friend, Timothy the mouse, gives him a feather that he claims is magical. When Dumbo holds the feather, he can fly.
Of course, the feather isn’t magical at all.
Dumbo can fly just fine without it (which he eventually finds out).
The feather is a “trigger”.
We all have triggers. Triggers are things that inspire us immediately into a feeling or action.
Triggers “push our buttons” and encourage us to respond. For instance:
- When our phone rings with a 1-800 telemarketer’s number, we instantly feel annoyed.
- When we see a cute baby animal, we instantly feel mushy.
- When we walk out from a gloomy room into the warm sunshine, we instantly feel cheerier.
Our brains like triggers, because constantly calculating all the possible options and outcomes for every decision is a lot of work.
Triggers give our brains “shortcuts”.
Top athletes use triggers to help themselves prepare for competition, stay focused and refocus if they get distracted. Athletes develop a personal “trigger toolbox” of words, phrases, images, songs, and other things that can instantly help them get “into the zone” or feel a certain way.
Like Dumbo’s feather, triggers can help us fly.
Here are some trigger types that you can use to stay motivated, feel energized, and keep your mind “in the game”.
Trigger words or phrases
Like athletes, each of us can find words and phrases that mean something important. These can be:
- technique-related cues for specific exercises, such as “heels down”; “drive”; or “chest up”
- general cues for a particular kind of approach, such as “tear it up”; “play hard”; or “never quit”
- cues that create a feeling, such as “focus”; “calm”; or “energy”
Your words and cues can be silly or serious — whatever gets the job done.
Many athletes use rituals. Rituals are little habits or behaviors that help athletes prepare for events, “release” or “park” distractions, focus, and/or re-focus if they get off track.
- Many athletes have pre-competition rituals, such as wearing a particular piece of clothing or doing things in a certain order.
- Some athletes use “letting go” rituals to remind themselves to “park” other daily-life concerns and come back to them later. A baseball pitcher might brush the dirt off her hands, and imagine brushing away the previous throw’s mistakes. Other athletes pick up an object, imagine their mistakes and concerns flowing into that object, then set the object aside for later, or throw it away.
Think of the rituals that work for you.
Images are powerful. We think in images.
You can use meaningful images to inspire you or to create a certain emotional state — whether that’s revving yourself up, or calming yourself down.
- Think of a time when you kicked serious ass.
- Think of a concept or idea, such as a powerful car engine or racehorse when you’re running.
- Think of a situation or a person that inspires you to be your best self.
- Tack up a photo that inspires you — heck, why not create a collection of them?
Whenever you need to change your mental or emotional state, call up one of your trigger images and immerse yourself in it for a few seconds.
We know you have a “power song”. We’ve seen you belting it out in your car as you whiz down the highway.
Music can be a great trigger — it can instantly change our thoughts and feelings. Develop a roster of favorite songs that get you ready to rock.
When it comes to motivation, find some video that inspires you, motivates you. And watch it frequently or whenever you feel low.
Using your triggers
Your triggers are unique to you. They might seem silly, trivial, or weird.
But as elite athletes know from experience and sports psychology research proves triggers work.
You can use triggers to change your thoughts and feelings — whether that’s getting fired up, focused, or calmed down. When you need to switch gears or stay on track, use words/phrases, images, music, and video that works for you.
Today, start working on your “trigger toolbox”.
Start working on your “trigger toolbox”.
Develop a personal “trigger toolbox” of words, phrases, images, songs, and other things that can instantly help you stay motivated, feel energized, and keep your mind “in the game”.
We deliver all of our products and services via phone 📲. All you need is a smartphone. You can experience PA Coaching by subscribing :