Self-talk part 2

on Fri 26 Jul

Have you tried to encourage yourself to do something by focusing on not doing something? 

For example, you say to yourself:

“Don’t fall up the stairs”

“Don’t drop the ball”

“Don’t lock out my knees”

“Don’t go over the line”

The problem is, as soon as you say it to yourself, you’re going to imagine doing it. You’re going to mentally rehearse doing what you don’t want to do. The ‘don’t’ becomes irrelevant. 

Think about it this way, If I say, "don’t think of a pink elephant", you’ve probably just thought of a pink elephant! 

Here’s what to do instead.

Always think about what you want to do in positive terms.

You could say:

“Go steady” rather than “Don’t fall up the stairs”

“Firm grip” rather than “Don’t drop the ball”

“Soft knees” rather than “Don’t lock my knees”

“Stay behind the line" rather than “Don’t go over the line”

Put the focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t want. This also works when we're encouraging our kids to do something.  

So a favourite in this house, "don't spill it" is more effectively delivered as a "go carefully".

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