Positive Self Talk
You talk to yourself many times a day, often unaware that you are doing it. This self-talk is not always positive or productive; you are sometimes telling yourself that you are not good enough or that you can’t do something. Or that something is too hard or too heavy or just too difficult.
When you are getting crushed in a training session and someone sprints by you like you’re standing still, does that little voice in your head encourage you or shoot you down? If you are in the habit of negative self-talk, then the voice probably shoots you down. However if you are in the habit of positive self-talk, then you are probably about to start working harder to catch up.
This is something that everyone of us has struggled with during hard training session or trying times in our life. As soon as we start to feel the suck, the negative thoughts start to invade our consciousness. This pull of negative thoughts and self-doubt is a quick trap that is a hard fight to get back out of. But it is a habit and like any habit, it can be broken and retrained.
Getting a handle on this talk and learning to change the tone from negative to positive can have an almost immediate benefit to your training. As your attitude and perspective change from a negative – “can’t do” to a positive “can do” so your performance will change. It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are pushed to your limits, and it’s something we all struggle with. However holding on to the positive attitude is also the mark of a truly mentally resilient athlete.
Mentally resilient athletes are successful not just because they are tough, but also because they have skills to help them push through the suck and enhance their performance. The resilient have a way of transforming these negative thoughts or not letting them invade their consciousness in the first place. They do this through a conscious dialogue of positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk is using a quick saying or phrase to help you concentrate on the task at hand or give you a brief respite from the misery. This self-talk shouldn’t be a negative or something that makes you feel bad about yourself or reminds you of the difficulty of the situation. It can and needs to be a positive and something that you are capable of doing. Something that you believe you can and will do. It can even be humorous, as long as it helps pull you out of the suck and push your performance.
The ultimate goal is a connection between the words or phrase and the belief in what you are capable of doing. You have to believe that you can accomplish what you are saying.
These aren’t magic tricks. They are trained skills that can be used to pull you out of the suck of a hard or particularly intense session. Or hammer a technique or heavy lift that you struggle with. Like all skills the more they are practiced and applied the more confidence you will have in them.
There are three main skills that can be utilized to help develop positive self-talk.
Find Your Voice.
This is going to be your mantra of your self-talk that you use when it’s time to go to work. This is one or two simple phrases or even positive coaching points that you can use during your training. It’s important to keep the phrase simple and positive and repeat it over and over.
Practice for the Suck.
After you get used to making these statements automatic, it’s important to practice for a variety of situations. For example, during a hard stamina effort, you might start with “I’ve done this before, I own this.” If you go out too hard and start to fall off, you can fall back to “I’m not done working.” or “5 Breaths and Go”
When you say your mantra you should have an immediate visualization of what success looks and feels like. The closer this statement can bring you to the feelings of success, the more likely you will be successful.
If you have a hard time coming up with a mantra, try these out to start: