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Miki Tips: Do you hear what you’re saying?

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“The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.”
            – CrossFit Founder and Coach Greg Glassman

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. How many times have you walked into class, taken one look at the WOD, and thought, “Oh no…”
“…I’m terrible at double-unders.”
“…I can’t do muscle ups.”
“…this WOD is going to suck!”

As CrossFitters, we pride ourselves in learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. It’s part of why we were attracted to CrossFit. However, it’s natural to be intimidated from time to time by the work put in front of us.  The good news is we have the ability to help ourselves break through those mental barriers by using positive self-talk.

Practicing positive self-talk teaches you to make positive choices in your weakest moments. It can be as simple as telling yourself, “You got this!” when when you’re 209 air squats deep into Murph.

SealFit Founder Mark Divine encourages us to develop a personal mantra that we can repeat to ourselves when negative thoughts threaten to derail us, like “Day, by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” or to use power statements like, “I got this!” or “Piece of cake.”  You get the idea.

When a negative thought comes up, don’t worry and obsess over it. “Name it to tame it,” says Justin Su’a, sports psychologist for the Boston Red Sox.  “Notice the negative thought, name it, and let it go. Then reframe the thought in a positive way.”

I have been finding this exercise particularly helpful, because it’s not about ignoring reality. It’s about acknowledging the reality instead of fearing it.  For instance, instead of thinking to yourself “I hate handstand push ups; I can’t do them…” try changing your inner dialogue to turn it into a positive statement, such as, “Ok, handstand push-ups are not a strength of mine YET, but I’m going to do quality single reps and not care about my time so one day they will be.”

It puts us into a fix-it mode as opposed to a powerless one so that you are now actively part of the solution instead of being at the mercy of something.  So, if double-unders are your nemesis, the next time they turn up in a WOD, see if you can view it as an opportunity to get better at them (Just ask my husband – it took him 4 years, and if he can get better at them, anyone can)!

Catch yourself when you reflexively react with fear, and see if you can’t find a way to reframe your thoughts and feelings. Don’t defeat yourself before the battle begins. Language is a powerful ally. Use it to your advantage!

Henry Ford said it best: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right!”

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