Reinvention is defined as the action or process through which something has changed so much that it appears to be entirely new.
I wanted to share an area of my life where I feel that I have reinvented myself. Being a competitive athlete I am often in situations during training or in games where my self talk has impacted my outcomes. Between stimulus and reaction there is a moment. It is in that moment that we can empower or sabotage our future.
Here are some things I found very useful to help improve how I talk to, and about, myself.
Observe Your Inner Critic
Often in our most challenging moments our self-talk becomes relentless and critical. Instead of thinking deliberately and logically, our inner voices are driven by emotion and that influences everything from how we talk to ourselves to our behaviours and beliefs, attitudes, and habits.
My first tip is to listen critically to what you are saying to yourself, and how you are saying it. When your inner voices start blaring words of discouragement at you, pause the conversation and ask yourself; Is it true? or is it useful?
Change the Language
Adding the word “YET” to your self-talk can empower your life. Saying “I can’t do that” creates a ceiling which limits growth. But if you say “I don’t have the necessary skills to do that yet” it opens up a space to reach a higher potential.
A while ago I read a study which illustrated how using the phrase ‘I don’t’ vs ‘I can’t’ either enhances or impedes our goal-directed behaviour. When you say ‘I can’t’ it indicates limitation and constraint. Saying “I don’t” is empowering and shows that you are in charge of your thoughts and behaviours.
Try it for yourself and feel the difference.
“I can’t miss my workouts” versus “I don’t miss my workouts”. “I can’t eat dessert” versus “I don’t eat dessert.”
Treat Yourself as you would a Friend
We are often very quick to use demeaning or negative self-talk, which creates stress and holds us back. Instead, speak compassionately to yourself—just as you would to a friend.
Replacing self-smack-talk with words of encouragement will put you in a better place to meet adversity and challenges and do things that contribute to greater success. Small linguistic changes can mean big life changes.
Give limiting, negative messages a positive and encouraging spin. “I am not good at this” can be changed to “Relax. You are doing the best you can right now.”
Give yourself a high-five, a hug or a pat on the back as you would your friend.
Reinventing your self-talk is not a goal with an end point. It is an ever changing and ever evolving journey of mastery.
Keep growing and becoming all you’re capable of being while acknowledging and being grateful for how far you’ve already come.
“Language shapes our behaviour and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way — can lead to a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.” — Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain
These same principles can also be applied to your health and well-being. Instead of saying “I am sick”, we can say “My body is having a healing response”. Instead of “I have a cut”, we can say “My body is healing”.
If you found this interesting, you might like to read Dr Greg’s article ‘Restart‘.
If you would like to find out more about how your thoughts affect your mind and body, check out The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD.