Are your negative mantras in the driver's seat?May 09, 2023
Not too long ago, I did a podcast episode on why everyone needs a mantra (Ep #96). Lucky for me, Susan Garrett's team liked it so much that they wanted me to do a shorter version for their Agility Nation (yay!). And while that was super cool, rethinking that topic reminded me of how often we have negative matras running wild in our heads.
"I don't have time" is an example of what I would call a negative mantra and one we've probably all said at some point. While we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day (and underestimate what we can do in a year!), saying "I don't have time" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But have you ever thought about why self-fulfilling prophecies work? Yes, our beliefs shape our thoughts, and our thoughts shape our actions and our actions, results - 100% But the reason that all works is because our brains like to be correct. Aka, we hate to be wrong.
When we state something - especially something declarative like "I don't have time" or "I can't do that," Our minds work really hard to make that true. Unconsciously, we make tiny choices and move in directions that will prove that statement accurate. Not only is it acting as a mantra, but it's also a fixed mindset AND a limiting belief! Yikes.
So if your beliefs are so powerful, how about we turn the tables and use more positive mantras whenever we catch ourselves being negative? Imagine the results! Start by reframing the ones you say more often - just be sure they are believable for you, or your mind will call B.S.!
I don't have time >> I control how I spend my time.
I'm so busy >> My life is full today.
I'm not good enough >> My inner critic is loud today.
I can't do that >> I'm still learning that skill.
I always get nervous >> I'm learning to control my nerves.
Adding the word "yet" to the end of your pesky thought is a nice little trick. "We don't trial as we practice yet." "My dog doesn't consistently do weave poles yet."
The goal, of course, is to always have positive thoughts and mantras running through our heads. But let's be realistic! The real magic is in developing our self-awareness to the point that we catch the negative self-talk so we can choose a replacement thought that's just a bit better. There is SO much power in being able to choose our thoughts - it puts us back in the driver's seat.
So consider what negative mantra do you need to reframe or jettison altogether. What positive mantra would you like instead?
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