By day, I’m a school counselor (if you have talked to me for more than five minutes I have probably told you this-it’s my favorite thing!). And in the evening I coach Crossfit. These are two things I love and two things that look very different on the outside but share more similarities than I’d realized. The biggest theme I see? How self-talk and the power of our minds can either make us or break us.
The students at my school have different goals than we do in the gym-remain in their seats, keep their hands to themselves (perhaps this goal overlaps?), listen to their teacher, etc. It looks very different than “hitting a deadlift PR” or “getting their first handstand push-up.” But I am going to say the same thing to you that I tell my kids-you are in control of your success-and your success is rooted in the words you say to yourself.
So, without further ado, I present the three most common phrases or words that are likely impeding your success:
1. “It’s too late.”
WHAT?! Stop right now because it’s not. Ever. For anything. It’s not too late to start Crossfit. It’s not too late to decide you want to increase your plank hold by two minutes. It’s not too late to learn gymnastics movements inside the gym. And it’s never too late to better yourself-in any arena! Crossfit is here to help you become your best self-at any season of life. Keep pushing and keep learning-always and forever. As long as you’re alive there’s always time to get better.
2. “This just isn’t my thing.” or “I can’t do this I’m not good at it.”
Um, guess what? No one was born doing muscle ups. You think I came out of the womb knowing how to properly rope climb? I wasn’t even an athlete before I started Crossfit. I cried when I had to do my first handstand (and not the good kind of cry), and now handstand push-ups are my favorite movement! Moral of the story-just because you haven’t perfected it YET, does not mean it cannot be done. Odds are it can, and more quickly than you think. The beautiful thing about Crossfit is that, with practice, anything can become your “thing.”
3. Any self-sabotaging or negative thought you have.
These range from “I am not as good as _____” to “you are weak, pick up the bar!” and everything in between. Negative thinking not only affects your workout, but can change the chemistry of your brain and the quality of your life. Saying mean things to yourself only dampers your workout experience and is in NO WAY helpful to your well-being.
The quickest way to dissipate a negative thought is to audibly, or mentally, say “stop!” (I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s a common practice in counseling). If you are mid workout and a negative thought creeps in, replace it with something you are proud of, or that you like about yourself. Your workout and your quality of life are likely to be impacted.
Remember, you are the only one that can change your inner monologue. If you want success in both Crossfit and life, stay cognizant of the words you’re saying to yourself. A little mindfulness can go a long way.