Whether it be in sports or everyday life, one of the tried and tested laws is that your self-talk plays a major impact on how you perform and who you become.
That’s right: what you tell yourself and how you say it—self-talk—is a major determinant in your ability to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
I wrote this post after hearing so many unfortunate stories of people who tried repeatedly to get their lives back on the right track: they exercised, they ate correctly, and they even got more sleep. However, the one thing they didn’t bother to regulate was their self-talk.
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.
In this post I want to share six big negative self-talk phrases that you must erase from your vocabulary immediately.
Erasing these kind of thoughts will make room for the kind of healthy habits that will allow you to become the person you’ve always dreamed of being.
Self-Talk No-No #1 – “I’m So Stupid”
This is a biggie.
The number one sin of self-talk is to tell yourself that you’re stupid.
Think about it, how often do you do this?
For many people, it’s a daily ritual which they repeat at work, at home, or even when they’re out with friends. It’s horrendously damaging and must be stopped if you want to achieve any kind of success.
Granted, we all mess up from time to time, but in those cases, it simply means that we did something stupid, not that we are actually stupid ourselves.
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 that what 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 must 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. We all are.
Self-Talk No-No #2 – “I Can’t Do It”
First of all, yes you can!
And second, who’s talking here? Most likely your lower self that wants to keep you safe and comfortable. It may think it’s protecting you, but it’s actually preventing 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. That’s because when you are pushed to actually do the thing you had told yourself you couldn’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 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 whenever it’s on the air (if it’s still on the air). It may very well end up being the best and most inspiring television program 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 engage in the “I can’t do it” self-talk 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-N0 #3 – “I’m Too (Whatever)”
When’s the last time you uttered any of these phrases to yourself? “I’m too old, too 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.”
Here’s the thing: none of that is true.
I had to overcome this negative self-talk phase when pursuing pro soccer. After all, I was 23 when I went to Europe, which in the soccer world can be considered way too old to sign pro.
For a while there, all of the negative things that I thought were being said about me were stuck on repeat in my head.
Despite what some people may have said, I eventually just attacked my new position with a lot of hard work, introspection, and a commitment to never use my age as an excuse.
Instead, I focused on how my “maturity” added value through experience, leadership, and focus. It absolutely paid off.
You are good enough to be and do whatever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially yourself!
Self-Talk No-N0 #4 – “I’m So Tired”
If you tell yourself that you’re 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 eventually becomes part of who you are.
Let me tell you something: that person’s a drag.
I have 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 no wonder why 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, with your 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. The key is that you must believe it!
Self-Talk No-No #5 – “This (negative event) always happens to me”
If bad things always 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.
This robs you of 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 that something terrible is going to happen to you.
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 giving external forces control of 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.
Self-Talk No-No #6 – “I Shouldn’t Have Done That”
Everybody makes mistakes.
You probably heard that a lot when you were younger, so much so that you now take it for granted, but it’s absolutely true: everybody makes mistakes, including you.
When we beat ourselves up for mistakes we’ve made, we pummel our sense of self-worth into submission. That’s absolutely no good.
How then do you expect to do better the next time around?
The key is to simply tell yourself this: “I’ll do better next time.”
Saying this allows you to acknowledge that things didn’t go as they should, but also allows you to use that lesson to power you through your next attempt. This increases the likelihood that you’ll ace it the next time around, no matter what you’re tackling.
Remember the Power of Positive Self-Talk
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.
Your self-talk is perhaps the most important key to the person you’re becoming.
What do you have to say to yourself?