I’ve been wanting to write a post about this topic for a while now but wasn’t sure where to start. Coincidentally, a friend who is getting her master’s degree in sports psychology was looking for volunteers to track their negative self talk for a few weeks and I volunteered to help her out. Then, I see that this week’s Wednesday Word topic is “derail” and that was my sign to delve into this topic. Let’s take a look at negative self talk and how it might derail your performance.
For purposes of this post, let’s define negative self talk as using negative thoughts or expressions while thinking or talking to yourself. These thoughts or expressions have a theme of putting one’s self down and judging themselves in a harsher way than they might others.
So back to my experiment of writing down any negative thoughts I found myself making. I was surprised by how many negative thoughts I had in just a few days! Here are a few examples of my crazy internal dialogue from this week:
“I will never be able to keep up with her (on a run)”
“Why did I sign up for that race? I am so not ready”
“Ugh Is that really what I look like?”
“I am never going to get my speed back”
” I should have….”
How does negative self talk derail performance?
I can remember a number of races where I let these types of negative thoughts take over and basically ruin my race. If something does not go according to my plan, I am easily derailed. For example, during a triathlon a few years ago I got kicked in the stomach and swallowed a bunch of water. I was able to collect myself and finish the swim however, all I could think about was how the rest of my race was ruined. On the bike, I pretty much told myself that all my hard work was for nothing because I couldn’t possibly make up the time I had lost. These types of thoughts can easily turn into self fulfilling prophecies for me when I am under stress.
Ironically, I used to work in an eating disorders clinic where I counseled women on how to combat just these kinds of thoughts. It’s very easy for me to recognize this behavior in others and so hard to stop it in my own head. Of course I could write so much more about this but keeping it short and sweet today.
Do negative thoughts derail your performance? How do you combat them?
Don’t forget to join me and Coco for the Ultimate Coffee Date linkup on Saturday!
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