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Writing Affirmations

Okay Gymnasts,

Let’s keep moving with our affirmations… we started talking about what you can do to gain some inspiration for writing affirmations last week. Affirmations are simply statements or sentences we create to practice positive thinking and develop new neurological pathways based on our own beliefs.

Here are the rules for creating an effective positive affirmation:

  1. Be Positive. This seems intuitive; however, there are many who mistakenly include words like, “I am not going to…,” “I hope I don’t…,” “this week I will not…,” or “I can’t make a mistake on ….this time.” Only positive words are allowed in these statements. Keep all negative words out. Affirmations are using so many senses and we want the negative thoughts to be eliminated and replaced with positive reinforcement.
  2. Be Present. Start with “I AM.” There are other ways to begin, but in general, this is the most powerful and easiest way to start. This is one of the keys to affirmations. The statements must be written as if you already are that kind of person, or performing that kind of skill. Choose empowering words, not weak words. Speak to yourself from a place of confidence and capability, not inferiority or fear. Other options may include, “I see myself…,” “I create…,” “I decide…,” or “I commit…”  Any committed statement demands attention from your brain, and your brain will listen– if even briefly. Which is why repetition and reinforcement are necessary for the kind of success from affirmations that most people desire.
  3. Be Specific. If you want specific results, then tell yourself what those details are in your affirmations. Instead of “I Am Amazing,” you must ask yourself, “What do I want to be amazing at?,” “ What is going to change for me because I am “amazing”?” If you are general, then you will have general results. Be detailed and decide exactly what it is that you want. Do you want to be consistent on your beam series at competitions? Do you want to learn to rotate more on your releases on bars in order to get the power to do a combo? Do you want to get more height on your doubles on floor?

 

A couple examples:

 

  • “I am consistent, strong, and quick as I lift out of my backhandspring into my triple full in my first tumbling pass on floor.”
  • “I am committed to speeding up  on my run as I pull my elbows back and push all the way through my feet going towards the vault table during practice.”
  • “I see myself sucking my feet under me in my roundoff with precision and tightness after my power hurdle.”
  • “I am incredibly efficient when I complete each assignment on beam. This allows me to work on more skills that I enjoy.”
  • “I am calm, elegant, and confident every time I perform my flawless aerial on beam in competitions.”

 

 

 

  1. There’s a 4th step, Mind and Heart:

This is an addition that I hadn’t found in any of the training growing up. 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. If you think about the person who has the skill exactly how you want it, then what do you think they are thinking? What do you think they are feeling? How do you think they are acting? This fourth step is a key factor to affirmations. You can say the words and HOPE you get the results…or you can get the results. One seems easy and nice. The other requires more effort and practice and focus.

Sometimes, we have cognitive dissonance occurring inside our minds. This is a psychology term where our values are not in line with our actions. We weigh what we want with what we are actually doing. This creates an unsettling mental state.

Cognitive dissonance, at times, reveals itself in the form of self-talk. When you want a change intensely enough, despite the automatic pilot your brain wants to offer you for action, you find yourself thinking words of encouragement and debate at the same time. You may even surprise yourself by vocalizing this debate aloud.

However, this self-talk isn’t surprising to athletes. If you stand close to an elite-level gymnast, especially during high-performance moments, you may hear phrases voiced out loud. Elite-level athletes use words to keep their mind focused (which we often call Cue Words) on what’s most important: what they believe they truly want. Often these cue words are simplified versions of longer statements, or affirmations.

 

If you are practicing new thoughts, you will want every sense engaged in the journey of creating new neurological pathways. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself debating with your survival brain on your new affirmations and desired goals.

 

Tell yourself exactly what you do and then see how it’s done in your mind as you say it outloud. You then have a clear picture and it no longer seems overwhelming to actually perform this skill consistently in a competition…or a version of whatever you are planning.

 

So, there you have it.

The 4 step affirmation process.

Let’s review:

 

  • Be positive
  • Be present
  • Be specific
  • Include your mind & heart

 

If you want help creating your affirmations, go to FlippinAwesomeCoaching.com and schedule a quick free chat, I will get you moving along towards your goals in no time.

Have an amazing week!

Amy Twiggs

Sports Performance and Weight Coach

*Go to FlippinAwesomeCoaching.com to schedule a free mini-session today!

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