Be careful what you say to yourself, because you are listening!*

Wednesday, 13 April 2016, By Christian de Stoop

"Be careful what you say to yourself, because you are listening!"

 

Yeah - this may all sound a little fluffy, but don't let the fluff fool you.

Having completed studdies in coaching, behavioural change and language, plus working in the health and fitness industry for a long time, you really start to notice things…

What separates a person who successfully loses weight (and keeps it off) from a person who, well, doesn't? There are many things that we could speak about, but one of them is your personal language and how you talk to yourself. This has a larger impact than you might think.

This is where it may get a little fluffy - stay with me!
Your subconscious is extremely powerful. You may not realise it, but you are training it every second of every day (whether you like it or not). Your actions, words and thoughts are teaching it how to make you behave and respond. Virtually every one of your behaviours is an unconscious process. When you talk and when you think, your subconscious will unapologetically agree with you, so be careful what you say to yourself, because you are listening!

These are some words and phrases that, as a trainer and coach, I believe will slowly chip away at your goal setting confidence should they not be removed from your personal vocabulary!

"Can't" …That terrible C word!
"Can't" is a completely disempowering word. "Can't" implies an inability to make a choice.
Let me firmly remind you. You always have a choice. Imagine what your control over your actions would be like if you rarely (or never) ever had choice over what you could do? 
A far more empowering way to phrase this is by using words or sentences that imply power of choice. "I won't do that", "I will choose not to today", "I will not", are all examples of phrases that keep choice in your hand.

"I'll Try"
Please open your dictionary and find the word try (and while you're at it, find the word attempt).
After you have found it, use some liquid paper to remove the definition and in its place, please write the word, 'Fail'. After you've done that, rip it out!! Every time you use the word "try", you are telling yourself (whether you're aware or not) that you won't do it, or 'it' won't work.

In the words of Yoda to Luke Skywalker, "Do or do not. There is no try."
-Yes, I just quoted Yoda.

What can be tricky about removing this word is how terribly habitual it is, so ask for help - Tell a friend that every time they hear you use the word try, to repeat back to you the question, "Oh you'll try, will you?"  - You might do the same for them!

"Want"
Q. What do you have to do in order to want something?
A. Nothing. There is absolutely nothing that you must do in order to simply want something.

When you say to someone else or yourself "I want…", your subconscious reacts, like an auto-response, with "yeah, and?", because nothing needs to be done.
That's it.
You want it.
Big deal.
End of story.
There is nothing else you need to do, so nothing then happens.

(Consider - how many things have you been saying for a long time, "I want…" and still don't have or achieved it? …I've been saying to myself I want to learn French for about a decade!! It basically means this is something I simply don't want bad enough right now.)

But what if your goal IS immediately important?
Change your statements to include action:
"I want to lose weight", vs "I am losing weight, now that I have made better lifestyle choices."
"I want to be fitter", vs "I am getting fitter now that I am walking daily."
Do the same with some of your own goals.

The same principle applies to the words, "need to" and "have to". Using these words additionally implies an absence of choice, because you cannot not do it, therefore 'apparently' there is no other option.

Let go of your ego… "I know"
This part sometimes touches a nerve with people… Yes we all have an ego. Park your ego and leave it at the door when you're with your trainer, colleague or friend, etc…

As we get older, we learn more. We know more. There's always even that 'someone' who knows everything!
In actual fact, the more open we are to learning, the more we come to the realisation that we barely know anything at all. The response, "I know" is an ego response. Let it go. The more we "know", the more closed off we become to new information and change. ("I can't be wrong!", says the ego). If we want to change something about ourselves, then we must do something we haven't done before. Understand that this may mean being prepared to let go of something we previously thought or "knew". You can't grasp a new idea or concept, let alone implement it, without letting go of an old one.

My thought provoking (and possibly challenging) question for you is:
If you're not doing what you say you "know", then really, you actually don't know it at all.
So take a moment to ask yourself - "What is something I "know" that I am currently not doing and what must I let go of in order to start doing it now?" - Then make that change.

 

Many of these words and phrases are too habitually used - you may be boxing yourself in without even realising it. -Ask people to point out to you every time you let them slip!

I challenge you:
Make the choice to think, speak with and internalise with more action oriented and positive self-talk this week. Do that and you will notice your perceived control over what you do increase. When you have more control over your actions and thoughts, that's when you really do have power over which direction your goals move.

Try it and let us know how you go!

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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