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Mental Game Challenge

Week 4

Adjustment Memory

Think muscle memory. Adjustment memory is your ability to react to tough situations in a positive way and with speed. Any time you fail, there is an opportunity to react emotionally or to adjust our thoughts. There will be some failures where this practice will be easier to apply than others. In the more emotion-evoking times, adjustment memory can be used to how we will respond to those immediate emotions that cannot be avoided.

It is your ability to apply your trained responses to failure or debilitating feelings without needing to think about it anymore. You are working to create your new habit of recovery.

Like it’s physical mirror, muscle memory, Adjustment Memory requires lots of practice to develop and before you can start practice, you need to first learn what your desired reaction is.

You may be practicing bad habits over and over without knowing it right now and developing patterns in your reactions that will hold you back every time you experience failure. Once you establish the feeling you want to focus on after a failure, then it’s time to train your adjustment memory.

Have you been working on training your adjustment memory?

Why You Need It?

REASON 1: Ultimately you want positive reactions to be your first reaction.

REASON 2: You will spend less time in the wrong headspace when you respond the way you “wish you would’ve.”

REASON 3: Recovery overall can be quicker. Remember that mind-eye coordination is a skill that’s helping us to control our RESPONSES to failure and it’s not one that helps us to cope with the failure itself.

Without needing to clean up the mess that a negative (defensive) response makes, it frees up our energy to deal with the actual failure and action requires to address recovery.


Training the brain to react in a specific way is not a new concept. Making things “automatic” is a technique used when training new members of a team or employees. We create systems, expectations, and trained responses so that we can all function together and there’s a method to bringing someone knew into the fold. In the article below, they call this “organizational memory.”

“Just as a body builds muscle memory and instinctive responses, organizations have built-in or programmed memory as well. This organizational memory can show itself in many different ways. In general, there are those things we do at work, or at least the way they are done, simply because that is what a previous leader wanted. The “why” may be forgotten, but the task lives on, sometimes long past the original reason.”


Just like we do with teams or companies, your internal reactions can be trained as well. Adjustment Memory can be your skill that makes positive reactions part of your “system” or internal expectation instead of falling back on the bad habits you may have already created.

It can make “falls” shorter and “bounces back” quicker. In the case where we can train how we think and, in turn, how we FEEL about a failure or bad experience, practicing not crossing over that line that involves emotions will help us to recover faster.

And for those times where emotions hit us hard because the failure was more personal or unexpected; having your Recovery Memory will allow you to treat that emotion like your “failure” you need to positively react to. For example, your sadness about a slump or bad grade can now be looked at as “something you are going through” instead of “something you are.”

Creating your system and practicing those reactions that will get you back to your baseline will help you to identify that pattern as your “normal” versus identifying with the feelings of failure that can be so tempting to sit in. Let me say that again because this is VERY important: Seeing your failures or your feelings about failures as THINGS you need to practice reacting to will make all the difference in how you are able to see your value and the confidence in who you are. Having this perspective will change the way you are able to process each life situation, in general.

Instead of thinking “ I failed, so I am a failure,” or “I am sad;” these switch to “ I failed so I can grow into a better version of me,” or “I’m feeling sad right now, but I know this isn’t how I’ll feel forever.”

This switch is not easy and requires practice to make all that work to learn your positive responses stick. The good news is that research backs this theory- that practicing a desired response over and over makes you better at it.

The term “practice makes perfect” is in the dictionary as “used to convey that regular exercise of an activity or skill is the way to become proficient in it, especially when encouraging someone to persist in it.” It’s for good reason. Even though studies don’t use the term “perfect” to describe results after training and repetition of practice, they do report that response times decrease and that overall performance improved.

Complete Week 4 Journal.


Without Adjustment Memory, there is little hope of elevating your life passed a certain point. Out of all the things we should spend our time practicing in our sport, adjustment memory should top your list. It counts for both sports and life performance, so it should be a no-brainer.

Lack of Adjustment Memory will keep you competing at a lower level than you are really capable of. Elite athletes are faster than the mid-level athletes. Their response times to failure follows suit. They are practiced in dealing with the setbacks and also the emotions that come with them.

Outside of developing speed of reacting well, creating your desired reactions keeps you away from the unhealthy alternative option: ruminating on failures or problems.

Having a plan of attack with your reactions is a step in the right direction, by itself. When you add the fact that many believe it will take hours upon hours to master this new skill, you’ll have too much practice to spend time sitting in the bad thoughts.


ACTION 1: Figure out how you want to respond. How do you want to be remembered in your hard times? Set a target for your healthy responses.

ACTION 2: Fail. Use each opportunity to see how fast you can get to your goal response.

ACTION 3: Challenge yourself to recover quicker. Share your goal with a friend. Athletes thrive in competition.

If you believe that you should be practicing the skills required to master the skills in your sport, you should really connect with this concept. As much as we need practice being our best physically, this is where I tell you how to practice your mental game as well. And now you can see how much practice is really needed.