“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”
Negative self talk can be an absolute performance destroyer, and as a CrossFitter you probably have some experience with it. Reinforcing to yourself that this workout is going to be really hard, or that your goal is out of reach, can actually make that a reality. On the other hand, establishing a positive self image and internal dialogue can push you to achieving greater things – especially if you really believe it! In this blog I’ll cover how you can eradicate negative self talk, and flip the script to create and maintain a positive attitude during the toughest training sessions.
In my last two posts, I introduced the concepts of box breathing in order to practice focusing on one thing, and then during that breathing practice how to “witness” the thought patterns that arise. Once we have worked with these practices for a bit, we can then shift to not just noticing and dismissing the thoughts that come up, but doing something about the negative thoughts. This process is called Interdiction.
The word Interdiction means to “prohibit” or “forbid” something. If we dissect the word Interdiction, we get “inter” – meaning between, and “diction” – or words. So if we are interdicting certain thoughts, we are forbidding them from taking hold, even in between words. As you witness a thought arising during your breathing practice, if it is tinged in negativity, like “I don’t want to do this workout today,” or even “I don’t have time for this breathing practice, I wonder what I missed on Instagram,” you immediately interdict the thought with a powerful phrase like “STOP.” Then you will reframe that thought in a positive way, like “this workout is going to help me reach my goals,” or “this is important to me, I need to stay consistent.”
Practicing this in a controlled setting like when you are in a quiet space will hone your ability to notice the negative thoughts and have a strategy to combat them. Then, when you are in a more chaotic environment like a 25 minute AMRAP of burpee box jumps and sandbag carries, you will have that skill in your back pocket. As you notice the negativity seeping into your active thoughts, you can stop what you’re doing, come back to focusing on your breath, and interdict the negativity with a positive affirmation. “I’ve done harder things than this before!” or “Never quit!” are mantras that I will (internally) shout to myself during the hardest training sessions that test my will to keep going. Then, charged with a positive vision, you pick up the weight and keep on trucking, stronger than before.
In my next and final post in this series, we will shift gears away from training and get more introspective with our newfound focus and positivity. We’ve created a strong base of mental control, and now we will layer onto that a series of questions. Negative thoughts will still rear their ugly heads, but we have the skill to knock them out and ask, with a quiet mind, who we are and what we want to become.
Until then, keep practicing, and stay positive!