Updated: Feb 15
This is part of my month-long mindset challenge to help you develop a more positive mindset. Next week we’ll be looking at how we can start to change our mindset on a deeper level, but today let’s kick off with a quick ‘hack’.
We’ve all heard of mantras, and I’m guessing you either use them or think they’re a load of hippy crap. If you fall into the second camp, try and keep an open mind.
The power of mantras
Choose a mantra (or a ‘phrase’ if you prefer). Something positive you can say to yourself when things get tough. It can be as simple as ‘you can do this’, or ‘I AM a runner’.
Now choose something in your training this week that you think you’ll struggle with. It could be a plank, or some calf raises, or you could apply it to your next run or training session.
Try doing the exercise, and when you get to the point where things are getting hard, the point where you start thinking about giving up, try saying your mantra to yourself. At first you’ll probably feel a bit silly, and completely unconvinced, but keep doing it, each time things get hard this week, and see if it helps you keep going just a bit longer*.
Feel silly or ‘false’ using the positive mantra? Ask yourself what you’re saying to yourself otherwise. If it’s something you struggle with then I’m guessing you’re already subconsciously saying something like ‘I can’t do this’, ‘this is too hard’, ‘I’m too weak’ etc. So you’re happy (and hadn’t even thought about) using a negative one? Why not just try restoring the balance with something more positive.
We’re not trying to lie to ourselves or convince ourselves that it it's easy when it's not – we’re just trying to move beyond the negative mindset to something more helpful. To be the coach or friend standing by you shouting you encouragement rather than the spiteful voice telling you to give up.
Try and keep an open mind and keep doing it for the week. Starting something new is always the hardest part, but as you get more used to it, it will start to feel easier.
Forget to apply it? This is the one of the biggest challenges in mindset work – realising when we slip into a negative mindset so we can give ourselves a chance to change it, although it does get easier as you get used to working on it.
If it’s something you’re doing at home try sticking a note somewhere you’ll see it. If you’re out on a run, set an alarm on your watch or phone, every 10 mins or so to remind you to check in, write something on your hand, or tie something on your wrist as a little reminder to yourself.
*This isn’t about not listening to your body – if you’re injured or the exercise feels wrong then of course stop. This is just about being able to delay the point at which your mind takes over and you give up before your body actually needs to.
Let me know how you get on!
Good luck with your Week 1 Challenge.
Do let me know how you get on, either below or on my social media pages: what's working for you, or not, any questions you've got, your favourite mantra, or even a new plank PB!