4 min read

Removing Negative Self Talk

Also known as ‘Silencing Your Own Worst Critic.’ We all deal with a little negative self-talk from time to time.

The last week of December has historically been my week for self-reflection/self-improvement mumbo-jumbo, but I’ve also been working diligently on a 16-week program for 80 football players, recording some videos for them and taking some photos.

I may be one of the few fitness professionals who actually gets jazzed up about programming and sharing but I think my football guys are going to make some big gains over the next 4 month cycle — and yes they did, making the playoffs this year for the first time in 3 years.

It wasn’t me, it wasn’t the program. It was their hard work.

I’m excited about this year, hopefully I’ll expose everyone to some new stuff they’ve probably never done before and if they have, great!

Some of you may be thrilled about finishing up some goals this year (I know I am), others may just be excited about life (best way to be) and some others still are excited to start in with their New Year’s Resolutions…next week…

Not a good start to the year right?

Studies — I looked at this week — revealed that roughly 80% of people will not succeed in sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions, which is really unfortunate.

That’s a pretty staggering number, so this year I’ve decided to contribute a little exercise for readers to use, to combat relapse.

This exercise can be used to prevent relapse in any change for life really, but we’ll apply it to the typically resolution cycle.

Now, you can set forth a resolution at any time of year, so if you have something you want to improve, go for it now, don’t wait for next year, or next month.

However, the New Year resolution process can be beneficial because with a New Year, there is a positive feeling in the air.

Accompanying the New Year is the feeling of new life and opportunity for personal growth and achievement, that you can capitalize on. This can make it an ideal time to work on something you’ve been putting on the back-burner until now.

First and foremost, write down what it is that you want to accomplish and be specific, ‘I want to lose weight’ is not specific enough. You need to clearly write out what you want to accomplish, and don’t share it or tell people about it (share your plan, not your goal).

It’s really important to write down the objective so you can visualize it, describe it in detail and run through images of your success in your head.

Just don’t pick more than one thing, or you will not succeed in it.

However, you can’t stop with the goal, you need a plan, you need to figure out what you’re actually going to change that you can practice regularly to move you in the right direction.

Once you have the goal, you have to pick something you can practice daily (or almost daily) that will take you towards your goal.

Next up you need to do is have an honest conversation with yourself as you visualize it. The most important question to ask during this conversation is:

– On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I can practice this skill every day for the next two or three weeks?

If you answer 8 or higher, then you are probably capable of completing that task, if you answer 7 or less, your chances are significantly reduced. Generally speaking, you should have an enthusiastic ‘yes-10’ response for the most likelihood of success and I generally won’t get into something with a client unless they give me a 9 — hey I gotta look good at what I do too right?

If you’d like a list of things you could possibly change in 2011, check out my free worksheets, or send me an email or comment below.

If you don’t feel overly excited about the change, move onto another habit change or goal you can give an enthusiastic ‘yes-9 or 10.’

Don’t try to do too much at once, one or two skills to improve is best.

You need not give yourself the additional stress of undertaking too many things at once, or undertaking a goal/change that you are pretty sure you can’t complete even before you start.

However, this is not to say that you won’t rethink the change/goal. It can change as you go through the process, that’s why you don’t share it. You share the plan!

At some point you will probably feel a bout of negative emotions/thoughts towards the task.

For some of you, this may be this week, next week or maybe it’s not until the end of January.

That negativity is a challenge of relapse and consequently the change long-term. The third thing you should is prepare for that challenge. What will you do if X bad thing derails your plan?

How will you manage the negative self-talk?

If you let those thoughts/emotions take control of the situation, you may come to the conclusion that, ‘perhaps you didn’t really want to do it anyway.’

How to Remove Negative Self-Talk

Saying that last phrase is almost a surefire way to fail, so in order the avoid it, flip those negative emotions/thoughts on their head, using 4 questions from psychotherapist, Dr. Amen, on eliminating negative thoughts/emotions:

1. Is it true?

2. Is it completely absolutely 100% true with no doubt? (Turns out, usually not.)

3. How do you feel with this thought or belief? (Usually badly.)

4. How would you feel without the thought or belief? (Usually better.)

If you challenge the negative thoughts driving you into relapse, you can usually overcome the relapse and continue strongly with the change until it becomes a habit you don’t even think about.

Everyone has heard these negative thoughts from others. People give into these negative thoughts all the time:

“I’m just big-boned.”

“I’ve always been heavy.”

“I’ve just got bad genes.”

“I don’t like eating vegetables.”

“I don’t have time.”

“I can’t cook.”

None of which are true, but you’ve conditioned yourself to believe them about yourself, rather than finding an alternative way to break through them.

You can change.

Break that belief cycle in 2011 and start something new, use the technique above or the worksheets provided.