Have you ever watched a football game in which one of the teams makes a mistake and this mistake seems to cause the team to fall apart? Suddenly, they can do nothing right and the game is out of control. Have you ever had a situation in your personal life in which you thought things were going perfectly until one mistake. Then, things seemed to spiral out of control?
This phenomenon is known as the downward spiral. Chess phenomenon and learning expert Josh Waitzkin discusses it in his book, "The Art of Learning." The downward spiral occurs because we become fixated on the idea of perfection and believe that great performances must come from perfect performances. When we inevitably fail, it shatters our mental image of performance. However, great performers learn to capitalize on their own mistakes. They develop resiliency.
One way of developing resiliency in your own life is to incorporate it in your training by focusing on decreasing your recovery time between exercises. Here's how to do it. When doing weighted exercises, decrease your time of rest between sets. For instance, instead of resting 2 to 3 minutes between sets, cut your rest down to 1 minute. In that minute, focus on your breathing and restoring as much of your energy as possible and returning your mind to a state of complete readiness before the next lift.
You can also work this concept into your high intensity interval training ("HIIT"). High intensity interval training is a type of training in which you perform quick sets of cardiovascular work. For instance, I like performing 500m rowing sprints on the rowing machine. I'll perform four or five sets of this routine. However, when I do this, if I want to work on resilience, I will reduce my rest time to 2 minutes and less.
With either weight training or HIIT, log your rest times along with your workouts and try to reduce rest time while maintaining strength.
It is important to remember where the strategy fits into your training. Resilience training is a way of developing mental resilience. The focus of this type of training is to work on your mental game, not necessarily your physical game. You may see greater physical results by allowing yourself longer rest. However, this strategy undoubtedly improve mental toughness and outlook.