In a recent study, one group of water polo athletes used positive self-talk while they learned a new task. Another group didn’t. The athletes who fed upbeat thoughts to their brains improved more than those who didn’t. They also had fewer interfering thoughts and were able to focus more on what they were learning.
When I started planning out the monthly challenges for our Healthy Resolutions for 2014 I initially didn’t have reducing negative self talk. But soon I figured out that very few health challenges can be accomplished if every day we are fighting the negative talk telling us we CAN’T!
So here is the thing. Negative self talk can come from lots of different places – the people around us, our own ideas, what we see on TV, past experiences or something we read. It is hard to take down all avenues of this negativity…but I have a few ideas as to how we can jump start this month’s challenge.
Right now (or after finishing reading this post and sharing it!) I would like you to do the following 5 things:
1. Go to your Pinterest board and delete anything with a picture or words that cause you to start thinking you aren’t enough, or you don’t look good enough or you don’t try hard enough. And while you are at it, unfollow anyone that frequently posts these things. We want them GONE!
2. Evaluate what you are watching and reading. If it is causing more negative thoughts than positive, switch it out for something that creates a better environment for change.
3. Choose many ways to track progress. If your goal is to get healthier, don’t just go by the number on the scale (especially if that creates negative thoughts!) Instead, create a way to track the number of days you worked out that week, or the amount of water you drank, or the number of hours you slept or the number of times you chose a healthy snack over a not so healthy one. See the good!
4. On sticky notes or other pieces of paper, write at least 5 positive affirmations about yourself. It can be about your appearance, positive characteristics or something you have already accomplished. Put these 5 (or more!) in places you will see every day – such as the bathroom, the fridge, in your car, on your calendar, etc.
5. Get a friend or family member (or many) and tell them you are working to improve your negative self talk. That way when you might slip up and say something not so nice about yourself, they will remind you and you can then fix it with something positive to say!
The last thing I want you to remember is that in this year of healthy changes, we want to focus on “NOT FAILURE, BUT FEEDBACK“. Every time we try to change and better ourselves it can be a rocky road. But When we might slip up and make mistakes, we must look at it as feedback, not as a failure. It allows so much more room for progress!
Happy positive thinking!