We all occasionally find ourselves in a rut. Even top level athletes and competitors are not immune to mental blocks, and digging your way out of a slump is a crucial skill to master if you’re planning on competing seriously.

Most commonly, mental blocks manifest as a losing streak or a string of failures resulting from a lack of focus. In other words, a slump happens when an athletes temporarily loses the ability to visualize themselves performing at peak levels.

Curing a mental block is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. By following these three steps, any competitor can reverse a slump and regain mental focus.

Step One: Own It

First, acknowledge that you’re in a slump. Admit that you’re having visualization problems, and determine whether or not you want to pull yourself out. Are you going to quit or continue? No one else can make the choice for you.

Step Two: Find Your Why

If you’ve decided that you want to pull out of your slump, and that you’re not interested in ending your competitive career, you’ll need to ask yourself an important question. Why?  Why do you want to continue competing? It’s difficult, it takes time and energy, it requires a great deal of work. Why do you want to keep doing it?

Step Three: Fix Your Picture

We’ve all got a picture of ourselves in our minds. When you’re competing, your picture of yourself should be a portrait of skill, grace, and poise. You’re nailing your routine, your timing is perfect, and everyone recognizes it. But when you’re in a rut, you see yourself tripping, stumbling, failing. This picture needs to be changed.

You’ve completed steps one and two, so you know you want to compete and you know why. Now all you have to do is update your mental image and see yourself succeeding. Once that picture is fixed, watch your slump disappear.