Your Inner Athlete: Attitude Of Gratitude & Performance

Your Inner Athlete: Attitude Of Gratitude & Performance

Dr. Haley Perlus continues with tips about ways to empower “Your Inner Athlete.” This week, Haley talks about mental toughness, including an attitude of gratitude, which is critical to achieving your goals in sports. In life.


The truth is it doesn’t matter how educated you are about the do’s and don’ts of food and fitness if you don’t have the mindset to follow through on your intentions. Mental toughness, specifically an attitude of gratitude, is the key to high performance and permanent results.

The best way to explain what it means to have an attitude of gratitude is to focus on the Gratitude Five: Love, Labor, Learn, Laughter, and Let it Go! 

Love. For optimal performance, one of the greatest shifts in perceptions is moving from an attitude of what do I have to do to what do I get to do. Although you may have begun your nutrition and fitness program for extrinsic motives such as trimming fat or qualifying for a race, when you pay attention to the strength, enthusiasm, courage, and confidence you experience, you will develop a deep love for your healthy behaviors and, even more important, a profound love for yourself.

One way to shift your perception about food and fitness is to replace damaging old thoughts with new, empowering, and loving thoughts that will keep you in an attitude of gratitude and enhance your performance. For example, replace My body was not meant for yoga with Yoga challenges my mind and body to experience amazing things! And replace I hate spinach but I have to eat it to Spinach gives me the iron I need to thrive!

Labor. Any worthwhile performance goal requires you to fight for it. Top performers understand that to experience ultimate pleasure, they often will endure some pain and discomfort. What helps them to cope with the pain is acknowledging it exists, accepting that it’s part of the process, and being grateful for it because it is a sign they are on the right path to personal excellence.

A good friend once told me that, in every training session, he experiences a moment of struggle. It’s in this moment when he says to himself, “Why am I putting myself through this?” He then reminds himself of his performance goals and immediately shifts his perception to one of gratitude for the struggle. It’s the struggle of that last pull up, mile run, or five more second hold, that will make your goals a reality.

Learn. Many of my clients explain to me that learning about fitness and nutrition is overwhelming and confusing. They want someone who will tell them what to eat and how to train. How about you? Would it be easier to someone just gave you a set menu each day, told you how to move to exert the most calories, and sent you on your way? Although I understand the desire, I also know that, without a clear understanding of why you eat and train a certain way, the behavior of simply following someone else’s instructions will not help you to get results that last.

Every day, you can visit for new information about nutrition, fitness, and mental toughness. I recommend setting a goal to sift through the content and pick one tip to experiment with. Focusing on one tip to implement will eliminate any overwhelm and make room to truly appreciate what you just learned and how it will help you to improve your performance.

Laughter. I know that your health and performance is serious stuff. That said, when you do make a mistake, appreciating the experience and using laughter to move through it will help you to bounce back quickly. Humor is a main ingredient for health, happiness, and resilience. Humor will help you to cope with any setback by reducing anxiety and enhancing your mood. The next time you find yourself feeling awkward in a new yoga pose, tripping on your trail run, or burning a new recipe in the oven, do your best to be grateful for what that experience has taught you. Laugh at yourself to make the moment less intense. Then, you’ll be able to not just move forward quickly, but also with a fun story to share with others.

Let it Go! Professional athletes are obsessed with their performance. It’s a healthy obsession because just as they are 100% committed to practice and competition, they are equally grateful for the time off the field. Your performance goals are important – as they should be. When it’s time to eat and train, exert maximum effort towards your goals. Then, leave your nutrition and training “on the field” and carry out the rest of your day with equal enthusiasm, dedication, and gratitude.

The Gratitude Five provide a great overview of what it means to have an attitude of gratitude that can help your performance. Experiment with one today and observe how it influences your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and ultimately your ability to achieve optimal results.

About Dr. Haley Perlus:

The event wears its name like a glove: “WOW.”  The acronym is a perfect fit for Becca Tudor’s awesome Weekend of Wellness, relatively new festival (the 3rd annual gathering took place in early June) that celebrates overall fitness, including ways grow a spine, man up –  yoga, kettle bell, Pilates, cycling, kids’ classes – and also get educated about health trends in general through lectures by doctors, nutritionists, and renowned experts in the field of sports psychology.  Experts such as Dr. Haley Perlus, a stand-out on a long list of superstar women featured at Telluride WOW, already a no-miss event if you are on a path towards personal transformation.


I attended Haley’s lecture about the psychology behind good nutrition and overall health. The holistic contents turned out to be a back door to ways to live a healthy life in general. We were all left wanting more from this buff, blonde brainiac, so Telluride Inside… and Out invited Haley to blog on our site. And lucky for us all, Haley agreed. 

BIO: With a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, M.S. in Sport Pedagogy, and numerous fitness and coaching certifications, Dr. Perlus is an expert at empowering athletes of all types and health enthusiasts achieve peak results. An adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, international speaker, former Alpine ski racer, appointed Industry Leader for, and author, including soon-to-be-released “The One Minute Diet and Guidebook to Gold.”

Dr. Perlus helps people reach their highest standard of performance. For further information and a free chapter of one of her books, visit  

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.