Why Self-Talk Matters
Whether it be in sports or everyday life, one of the tried and tested LAWS is that you become what you think about.
But part of what you think about it is HOW you talk to yourself and specifically WHAT you say to yourself.
This is called this SELF-TALK.
Self-talk is that constant chatter in your head of you talking to yourself.
The reason for writing this post today is because I don’t care what your goal is: losing weight, running a 5k, putting on muscle, being a competitive athlete, or even being a stay-at-home mom…
The simple fact of the matter is that you will become a reflection of how you talk to yourself.
And in this post I want to share 5 BIG negative self-talk phrases that you MUST erase from your vocabulary – immediately.
Otherwise, these words will slowly (but surely) poison your mind and shape who you are as a person much like weather does to a rock over a time.
*** Self Talk NO-NO #1 – “I'm so stupid”
This is a biggie...
Please, NEVER ever ever ever ever ever ever (ok you get the point)…
NEVER tell yourself that you are 'stupid.'
Perhaps you did something that was stupid but that does NOT mean that YOU are stupid.
You must be able to externalize (or objectify) certain situations so that you don’t relate them with who you are as a person.
Doing something idiotic (like setting a car on fire – ok that’s a pretty extreme example) simply means thatwhat you did was stupid.
So instead of saying, “I’m so stupid”, you may want to consider saying “What I did was stupid but that’s not who I am.”
See the subtle difference?
Your self-image and self-esteem as so fragile and so important that you have to do whatever you can to keep them intact.
Similarly, failing a test in school does not mean you are stupid. This is often seen in kids who believe that they are not smart because they don’t get good grades.
I say that’s complete and utter crap, especially considering how ridiculously close-minded our educational system is.
You are MORE than your actions.
*** Self Talk NO-NO #2 – “I can’t do it”
First off, yes you can!
And second, who’s talking here? Most likely your lower self that wants to keep you safe, comfortable, and protect (I mean prevent) you from growing.
If you’ve ever done a workout and found yourself saying this to yourself, then that’s where having a trainer (or me on your headphones) can make a world of a difference.
Because when you are pushed to actually do the thing you had told yourself you can’t do…
A whole new world of possibilities opens up.
Look at the show “Extreme Makeover – Weight Loss Edition”…
Here’s a show where trainer Chris Powell (awesome guy, by the way) helps morbidly obese people lose hundreds of pounds in just one year!
It’s an amazing show and I think EVERYONE reading my emails and blogs should commit to watching it each week (Mondays at 10pm on ABC). Could be the best and most inspiring TV you ever watch.
As you can imagine, when someone goes from 500 lbs to 200 lbs in just one year, they become a new person.
Their whole outlook on life changes and they see themselves completely differently too. They will never tell themselves “I can’t do it” ever again.
Instead, they will always have the reference point of having lost HUNDREDS of pounds so, in comparison, nothing else really seems that tough.
You can do it!
*** Self Talk NO-NO #3 – “I’m too…(whatever)”
I’m too old, too you young, too skinny, too fat, etc….
These are statements that essentially say the exact same thing…
That you are not good enough according to what you think is the “norm”.
It’s not true.
I was guilty of this self-talk phrase when pursuing pro soccer.
After all, I was 23 when I went to Europe, which in the soccer world can be considering way to old to sign pro.
But it took a lot of hard work, introspection, and a commitment for me to NEVER use that as an excuse.
Instead, I focused on how my “maturity” added value – experience, leadership, focus, etc…
You are good enough to be and do whatever you want…
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And if they do, just tell them I’ll be knocking on their door!
*** Self Talk NO-NO #4 – “I’m so tired”
If you tell yourself that you are tired, then guess what?
You will feel tired.
Even if you are legitimately tired, you don’t need to constantly tell your mind that you are. Otherwise, you will become a person who is ALWAYS tired.
It becomes part of who you are.
I’ve got a lot of firsthand experience with this one as my dad’s side of the family is always saying how tired they are.
It’s amazing how so many can be so tired. Goes to show you the power of proximity and your environment.
It’s no wonder I spend very little time with them – I get tired just hearing about how tired they are.
If you want more energy then “act as if”.
Stand up tall, shoulders back and down, breathe deeply and fully, smile, and tell yourself that you have tons of energy.
This is especially powerful during sporting events and workouts where you are not feeling up to snuff. But the key is that you must believe it!
Obviously, you’ll want to eat a high energy diet and exercise regularly but you get the point.
Remember, if you resist changing the way you talk to yourself there’s probably a reason for that…
A secondary gain that you are getting for “being tired”. Something you may want to think about.
*** Self Talk NO-NO #5 – “This (negative event) always happens to me”
If bad things seem to happen to you, then stop inviting them into your life.
That may sound harsh but I believe it to be true.
We are 100% RESPONSIBLE for everything that happens to us. And until you can claim and accept responsibility for everything in your life, then you will always be a victim to external circumstances…
Which robs your personal power and plummets your self-esteem.
If something negative happens to you DO NOT say “I told you so” or “this always happens to me” because those statements simply reflect the fact that you are anticipating something terrible to happen.
This kind of self-talk or thinking is self-sabotage thinking.
On the other hand, if something great happens in your life, then you MUST claim responsibility for it. Don’t attribute it to luck because, again, doing so means that you are attributing external forces to controlling your life.
So, good or bad, take full responsibility (but don’t blame yourself) for your life.
No one likes hanging around the “poor me” victim.
Be a leader. Be a person that creates what you want in life.
Sure, some things won’t work out but that’s fine…
Learn from them, adjust your approach, and move forward.
Who you are today is a reflection of the thoughts you’ve been thinking, the actions you’ve taken, and the words that have been coming out of your mouth!
A famous quote by someone I can’t remember once said something like “Would you hang out with you if you spoke to yourself the way you do?”
And that my friends is the power of self-talk!
==> What is some of the SELF-TALK that has helped or hindered you?
Yuri Elkaim is a health and fitness professional, professional soccer player and the creator of:
The Amazing Abs Solution 12-week abdominal and core training program,
The TreadmillTrainer music system and
FitterU, The on-going monthly membership fitness program. Including Yoga for Athletes Program.