The outside world can be a negative, scary and pessimistic place; we can’t afford to be negative in our own thoughts as well. Unfortunately, negative self-talk is a common theme. It is something that I see and hear daily inside the walls of our gym, and it bums me out. It doesn’t matter the age, gender, or ability level. We talk down to ourselves, tell ourselves we can’t do something. But if we can’t be our own biggest fan, who will?!
In our gym, negative self-talk ranges from elementary schoolers who are hesitant about trying an obstacle course or playing a tag game because, “I’m not fast”, or “I’m too slow”. To middle school boys who are so lost in their own identity that they aren’t sure what they are capable of, they just know they’re not good at it, (whatever “it” is). To those high school girls who are one bad hair day away from a complete breakdown. To the Mom who is trying to regain her health and body back after popping out a couple kids who repeatedly says “I’ll never be able to do a pull up!” And we can’t forget the middle aged man who “Will never be able to touch his toes”.
A simple tactic to try and help gain some quick momentum and start having positive thoughts is adding 3 little letters to any statement: “YET”. Too often we hear “I’m not strong enough to do that” or, “I can’t do a pull up.” Now by simply adding, yet, everything changes. It identifies where we currently are, what we need to work on and it gives us something to reach for.
Owning the fact that we are a work-in-progress and not a final version is vital for a positive self image. How sad would it be if we lived in this world, but we never changed or progressed. Constantly trying to learn and develop as a person is a huge part of life, and something that Todd Bumgardner and the Strength Faction does so well. Let’s get better, just to get better!
On a more serious note, there may be some deep seeded psychological reasons why we doubt ourselves, question our abilities and we’re our own Debbie Downer. These may need to be addressed through long-term work with a qualified professional and I strongly urge you to reach out to someone if you are in need.
But what we all can do is to give yourself a little pep-talk, speak positive affirmations, start gratitude journalling, and giving back through community service. Constantly try new things, don’t be afraid to fail; the only true failure is not learning from your mistakes. Keep moving forward, keep getting better.