Negative self-talk is a common challenge we face when it comes to achieving goals, whether at work, in our personal life or even at the gym.
In the gym, especially, you’ve probably faced your own inner critic that stops you from leaving your comfort zone and reaching your fitness goals.
The good news is, there are ways to combat these negative thoughts that linger in your head so that you can start managing them more practically and positively.
Here, we share 5 ways to combat negative self-talk so that you can learn to build resilience and start feeling better now.
#1 – Bring your awareness to your inner critic
Much of our thinking is on autopilot. We barely notice all the thoughts that run through our head. In fact, according to the National Science Foundation, on average a person will have about 50,000 thoughts per day!
Combat this by paying more attention to your thoughts. This will help you notice when your inner critic is present.
Try this: For one week simply keep a log of your inner critic’s thoughts. Every time you notice a negative thought or you feel you’re being self-critical, note down 2-3 things about the situation. For example, “I notice I’m feeling guilty that I didn’t complete the entire workout”.
Once you’re aware of the critical voice, you will be able to find yourself in a position prepared to stand up to it.
#2 – Separate your inner critic from you
Once you’re aware of your negative thoughts, learn to separate yourself from them. Negative thoughts linger inside our minds because they are based on outside influences from other people’s expectations, opinions or standards. They’re usually not created from within ourselves.
Try this: Give your inner critic or negative thoughts a name. That way you’re separating your own identity (that is true) from the negative self-talk. It’s about detaching yourself from these thoughts so you can acknowledge them and bring them forward.
#3 – Ask yourself “Would I say this to my best friend?”
A practical way to learn how to manage negative thoughts is to ask yourself “Would I say this to my best friend?”. The answer is most likely going to be, no! You wouldn’t treat your best friend with that kind of negativity, so why bring yourself down?
Check in with yourself. If you notice that negative thought coming through, always ask yourself, would you say the same to your own friend?
#4 – Changing negative self-talk to a positive thought
When you continue to focus on the negative thoughts in your head, you’ll find the intensity and language will increase. To reduce this, it’s best to change your negative thoughts to a positive or neutral thought. By simply changing the language of how you think about these thoughts, it will help you feel less anxious and stressed.
For example “I can’t do this exercise” can be changed to “I find this exercise challenging” or “I hate this” can be turned into “I don’t like…”. It’s easier said than done, but with practice, you will find yourself combating these thoughts positively and their negative power will become muted.
#5 – Practice gratitude
Practising gratitude can have a significant effect on your happiness. Feeling grateful in times of difficulty can reduce the severity of it. In challenging times, even finding small things to be grateful for will help you to start feeling better. For example, feel grateful that you turned up for yourself at the gym today and not be so hard on yourself if you didn’t beat your personal best. It’s about the small wins that combine together to make the big one!
Try this: Every night before bed, write three things (no matter how big or small) that you are grateful for in a journal or on your phone.
Seek Professional Support On Your Fitness Journey
If you feel that you’re unable to manage your thoughts or need professional health assistance, contact your local GP or health community centre.
We also have a team of personal trainers at all of our Crunch Fitness locations who live and breathe a positive lifestyle. They can help you overcome any challenges you face within your own personal fitness journey.
Get in touch by contacting any of our friendly Crunch staff members to get back on track today.