We have spent a couple weeks talking about affirmations, how to get inspiration for them and how to write them. Today, let’s focus on how to use them daily. Or at least how I use them and have used them since I was 16 when I was an elite gymnast. They are a powerful little tool.
They work well if you believe what you are saying, but do nothing for you if you have underlying doubt. This is the reason why I now add so much more than just affirmations and visualization to athletes mental core workouts. I add the step 4 of mind and heart and I will talk more about that here. And a process called the Neutral Thought Method…which we will talk about as well soon.
So, I like to call this the brain game because we are essentially playing a game with the brain– we are not lying to the brain when we use affirmations, instead we work with the brain to create new paths to consider and eventually believe. We find missing pieces to a puzzle as we work on our beliefs about our new affirmations… the puzzle of how we can go from what we currently believe about a skill or routine we are doing to what we want to believe, or to the positive affirmation. An affirmation is written as if you already are the person doing the skill in the manner that you desire. So after you have written a few affirmations, then I like to do a quick routine to practice the affirmations and reinforce them cognitively.
The Brain Game routine:
5. Mind and Heart: This is that addition that I haven’t found in any of the training that I’ve had. I talked about it last week as one of the 4 required steps to building an affirmation. You must include your mind and heart. Saying words has no impact without the emotion of belief and visual connection. Watch in your mind where you see yourself BEING and who you tell yourself YOU ARE. You will be thinking/ feeling and acting like the person who has already achieved the goal that you are seeking in the affirmation.
We begin to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is another psychological term that means we create our results by our choices, beliefs, and actions that fall in line with what we want. Our results are proven by our thoughts, and our thoughts direct our emotions, desires, and drive. It all works together to create our performance, score, or outcome.
I would often have a set mental routine made up of words before any competition. Most higher-level athletes have these verbal routines. They will vocalize words and phrases to themselves to keep any distractions out.
I teach my athletes they need to choose what they will and won’t allow to reside in their minds. Fear of the unknown likes to present itself as a valid thought. You decide a change will be made. In doing so, your senses are heightened, you find yourself talking out loud at times to convince your mind that you can make the uncomfortable sacrifices and feel the uncomfortable feelings required for the desired change.
Avoiding any change and staying in your comfort zone is the easiest form of living. This is exactly what our survival brain wants us to do– be comfortable.
We do this by filling our time with things that keep our mind distracted from what we really want. Avoidance at gym may occur when you choose to stay on beam as long as possible because beam is fun and easy, instead of rushing over to the bars where you know you’ll have to do strength and skills that are hard and scary.
You can say you want to be an elite gymnast, but your actions are leading you far from that reality. Another example is choosing to sit in splits with the weight on your arms instead of allowing the gravitational pull to release the muscles into a lower split. Or, collapsing after the assigned 20 push-ups at the end of workout instead of seeing what you’re really capable of and performing an extra 5 pushups without anyone else knowing.
Use the tool of affirmations to help you create a mental picture of what you are working for. The affirmations will help you stay committed to your goals. If you do not believe the affirmations, then work on thoughts in between what you think now and the affirmation until you get there.
This is what i call the Neutral Thought Method… and that will be our topic for next week.
Don’t forget to create a daily routine of writing, posting, reading out loud, look in a mirror and include your mind and heart when you create your routine for the affirmations you have written.
Have an amazing week!
Sports Performance & Weight Coach
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Flip It Friday Weekly Mental Core Workout Tips: