The Navy Seals have one of the most difficult tests in the world. The test not only requires an incredible amount of physical strength, it also requires a lot of mental toughness and will power. On average, 75% of soldiers who enter Navy Seal school voluntarily quit or suffer injuries that force them to quit. The Navy has found that teaching 4 simple psychological techniques has successfully increased passing rates.
Goal Setting is the first technique. Navy Seals in training are taught to not only make long-term goals but also mid-term and short-term goals. Their training is very stressful and they are taught to focus not on finishing the 2-week course but just to survive until lunch or just to complete the next activity.
Mental Rehearsal is the second technique. Navy Seals in training are taught to visualize themselves succeeding. They don’t just think about succeeding. They practice the tests in their mind and see themselves succeeding.
Self-Talk is the third technique. Humans have the ability to mentally say over 700 words a minute. A surprisingly large number of these words are negative. Seals in training are taught to talk positively to themselves even though they are often tested in very stressful and dangerous situations.
Arousal Control is the fourth technique. Navy seals in training are taught to control their breathing and relax when they face challenges. People under stress release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that can make it difficult to think. With breath control, they are able to slow their heart rate and focus on the challenges in a calm way.
Even though this is one of the most difficult tests in the world, these 4 simple techniques increased passing rates from 25% to 33%. While you’re probably not training to become an elite soldier, these ideas can be applied to many different goals. When you’re making your goals and plans for the new year, don’t just decide what you want to achieve. Take some time to think about how you will do it. What mental techniques can you use to help you achieve your goals?