Coaches, friends, family can all sometimes bring us down.
Generally they are trying to help and well-intentioned, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes their criticisms can’t hurt.
It doesn’t mean that sometimes their critiques can’t make us feel more insecure.
However, we need to learn to take criticism…It is the only way we truly get stronger.
So how do you learn how to take criticism even when it isn’t said necessarily in the best way?
You learn to be CONFIDENT in your own abilities!
Easier said than done, right?
No you can’t wake up tomorrow and say, “Now I’m confident!”
But yes, you can change your level of confidence without doing more than changing the way you TALK TO YOURSELF.
You don’t have to hit some new goal to develop confidence.
You just have to decide to believe in yourself!
I think self talk is one of the most often ignored and neglected parts of our dealings with ourselves.
We get ourselves haircuts, doctors appointments…we schedule workouts and even plan out meals.
We think about how we are taking care of ourselves and all the things we need to do for ourselves to feel good and stay healthy – except about how we talk to ourselves.
We consider our words when we communicate with others. We compliment and encourage. We focus on the good things that other people do (or at least most people generally try to).
Yet we never really think about how we are TALKING TO OURSELVES. We never try to compliment and encourage. We never focus on the good things.
And positive self-talk is one of the most important things when it comes to developing self-confidence.
Developing a positive inner monologue doesn’t mean you have to wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am wonderful. I am beautiful.” Heck, it doesn’t even mean learning to love your flaws.
It simply means learning to accept yourself and realize that, yes…you do have flaws. WE ALL DO.
It just means making little changes in how you talk to yourself and in giving yourself credit for all of the good things you do. It is like talking to a friend or loved one – you want to motivate them and have them focus on all of the wonderful things you see in them!
Here is what I’ve found has helped me and many of my clients develop a more positive inner monologue and quiet those doubts raised by outside criticism.
Tips to Develop Positive Self-Talk:
1. Before you go to compete, to do a presentation at work, or to do anything challenge, take a deep breath and say, “I can do this.” Think about all of the great things you’ve done and the hard work you’ve put in. DON’T think about the other things you COULD have done.
2. Give yourself credit for small victories. Too often we ignore small victories because we aren’t there at our long-term goal yet. But if you maintain your weight or lift 5 more pounds, even if you aren’t at your goal yet, celebrate that victory! Set short-term goals and track your progress to them. Take time to celebrate even the smallest victories. It will motivate you and build your confidence in yourself.
3. Take a deep breath and think when someone gives you criticism. Often criticism is meant to help us. You can’t let criticism bring you down. If it is constructive, take a second and figure out how to use it to help you become stronger. Criticism doesn’t mean you aren’t still wonderful! We all have flaws and sometimes it is good to discover them so we can make them stronger! Realize that someone is criticizing you because they probably already think you are wonderful and just want to help! Don’t instantly make criticism a negative! Think about how it will make you even better! Don’t focus on the fact that it is potentially a current flaw!
4. “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.” Sometimes criticism is given to try to bring you down. The other person is probably insecure and therefore lashing out. You can’t let every criticism bring you down. We have to recognize that criticism is just other people’s opinions and that they aren’t always right. There are some times where you have to just brush it off. And while brushing it off can be hard for some, if you want to be the tiger you have to. Maybe that means reminding yourself of all your great points or just recognizing where their criticisms are coming from!
5. Build on your strengths. Don’t be afraid to evaluate yourself. Take a second today and think about yourself. If your self-talk is pretty negative, you will find you start to list all the things that need improvement. And then you may even start working on them. But what about the positives? What do you like about yourself? What are your strengths? Haven’t considered those near as much, huh? We always focus on getting rid of our flaws to make ourselves better, but what about developing our strengths? While I do think it is important to spend time making our weakness stronger, I think there is also something to making our strengths even better. Spend some time developing your strengths! It will definitely lead to a little more confidence in yourself and you will spend some time speaking positively to yourself!
Developing positive self-talk is about changing your instant reaction of saying “I can’t” when a new challenge arises to “I can.” Even if maybe you fail, the point is you CAN try. You CAN put yourself out there. You CAN risk “failing.”
Success and self-confidence isn’t developed by WINNING. It is developed by putting yourself out there and risking failure and pushing yourself to work hard to take on new challenges.
I’ve failed more times than I can count. But I have pride in myself because I was willing to risk failure to try something new.
Confidence comes not from being the best or being perfect. It comes from the acceptance that failure, that flaws, are a part of us.
All we can do is our best and that is what matters!
So today I went for a run since I’m actually committed to doing a half marathon this spring…ICK.
Ryan and I have occasionally done the 4 mile run on the beach boardwalk by our house. And honestly, I never have any trouble with the run even if I haven’t been doing any running of any kind.
We even just did it the other week and I cruised along while talking to him. It was fine…not fun…but fine.
BUT while I can even easily survive running 6 miles alongside Ryan, I never really run over 1 mile by myself.
Unlike any other time that I train, I can’t quiet my thoughts when I run for anything over a mile.
I can completely focus and push myself to my limits when I do circuits or weight training or even sprinting, but when I run for longer distances, all I seem to do are focus on any and all little annoyances.
Oh my shin feels a bit tight. Oh my sock is rubbing a little. Oh the headphones aren’t staying in exactly the right spot.
Seriously, I think I focus on every little thing hoping I can just convince myself to stop running.
And the crazy part is, occasionally I will actually get myself to stop.
I’m not actually in pain. I’m not even actually tired.
Usually I’m actually jogging slower than I need to be, but I convince myself that I’m worn out and need to stop because I continue to focus in harder and harder on the little annoyance.
It’s crazy. I can push myself till I’m bleeding or near passing out when doing my circuit, weight training, sprinting workouts, but when I’m running…If I feel my pant leg or shorts leg even rubbing (even if it doesn’t hurt at all), I will use it as an excuse to stop.
For me running for over a mile by myself is a the BIGGEST mental challenge. I need someone there to distract me from my mental whining.
Rarely is my body actually tired when I run. Rarely do I actually get a cramp or stitch. Rarely should I actually ever need to stop. But more often than not, I will cop out when it comes to running.
I will find any excuse to stop. Seriously…any excuse.
My body is fine…my mind is the weak link.
So today I knew I had to suck it up and go for a 5 mile jog by myself. I began all of my mental whining about say…5 seconds in.
Oh the front of my shin is a little tight. Oh my headphones don’t seem to be staying in that well. Oh I think I may be starting a stitch in my side.
But I kept jogging. On my way down the boardwalk, as my the annoyances kept being repeated over and over in my head, I began to psych myself out.
Crap…maybe I should only do the 4 mile run Ryan and I have done. That would be good enough right?
That is when it hit me…
When have I EVER settled for good ENOUGH!?!
So I kept running past our usual turn around spot and headed for the 5 mile half way point.
As I ran back, the negative thoughts began to creep back in. What if I just stop here? Ugh…I’m getting a crap in my side. Why are my headphones not staying perfectly in my ears?
Then I started counting the streets. As they seemed to drag on, I started getting more and more down.
I literally shook my head at myself. What the heck was I doing!?!
My mind was being weak!
I dragged my eyes off the street signs and said to myself, “I WILL do this.”
I then reminded myself that the faster I run, the sooner I will be done.
So I picked up the pace. As I could see myself getting closer and closer to home…as I could see the Newport Pier coming around the corner, I began to sprint.
Just two more streets…
I’m pretty sure the people walking by my house thought I was crazy as I came charging around the corner, but I didn’t care.
I WAS DONE!
I’d made it.
I’d not let my mind give in.
It really is mind over matter. If your mind tells you that you are tired or hurting or uncomfortable, you will stop EVEN if your body really doesn’t need to. If your mind tells you that you CAN do something, you will do it even if you have to overcome stupid annoyances!
So don’t let your mind hold you back!
I constantly remind clients to be patient with their progress. I constantly remind them that it isn’t just a clear upward progression.I constantly remind them that there are slight setbacks and plateaus.
For every two steps forward, there may be one step backwards.
Sometimes though I need to take the time to remind myself.
Since starting my progression on VersaClimber and the Battling Ropes, I’ve seen huge gains – gains in strength, speed, explosiveness and even mental toughness.
But today, I experienced my first “plateau.”
Whether it was slight fatigue, a lack of focus or a slight lack of mental toughness, I just didn’t have it today. My progress on the VersaClimber stalled.
I can literally taste success, I’m so close to my goal.
On Wednesday, I even thought there was a good chance I would hit it today.
I think I set my expectations just a bit too high and put a little too much pressure.
I wasn’t patient enough.
I hate being patient.
But patience is really key. If you get to riled up and put too much pressure on yourself, your biggest weapon – YOUR POSITIVE MINDSET – will go out the window.
I feel like I wasted a few sprints today because I had a negative mindset. I hadn’t hit my goal and instead of getting angry and pushing back and battling as hard as I could, I got down on myself.
That is probably the single worst thing I could have done.
I let my mindset change to a negative one – I let myself listen to my fatigue and make up reasons why I wasn’t able to have reached my goal yet.
I made up excuses instead of just pushing with everything I had.
But I won’t let that happen again. I now have a couple of days of some active rest and then I’m back at it again on Monday.
No self doubts.
Just a positive mental attitude and a knowledge that I’m going to give everything I’ve got until I get there!