A couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a blog post about why I felt I was cross training so hard at the beginning of last year. It had to do with this voice that lived inside my head that was constantly cutting me down; she told me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t pretty enough, that I wasn’t whatever enough.
And I listened to her.
I believed her so much and so often that I restricted my calories WAAAY below what I needed. (1800? Seriously?) I cross trained 6 times per week on top of attending 3-4 practices. I took on things in my league and in my life that I knew I couldn’t handle. I kept doing this even when I was sore, tired, frustrated, cranky, missing time with my family, and feeling slightly — ever so slightly — homicidal.
And I hate her.
So I’ve decided to leave her. Not just leave her, but cut ties entirely. Divorce that nasty little bitch.
But how do you do it? I’ve been living with her for 33 years. I don’t know how long you’ve had your relationship with this terrible person, but separating yourself from her isn’t going to be easy. She’s your Tyler Durden; running around causing mayhem and chaos inside your brain when all you want is to get some sleep.
Here’s the key: You have to change the way you look at yourself if you want to be able to get rid of her.
#1) Fail with Intent
This is one of the big rocks of #intelligentcrosstraining for a very good reason. Look at failures as open doors instead of closed ones. Examine the failure in the harsh light of day and look for ways to learn from it so that it doesn’t happen the same way again. You don’t reach success without a few failures first.
That voice inside your head uses failure as a chance to scare you into giving up. Well fuck her. Do you know how many times I had to eat shit during a 180 degree toe-stop before I learned how to do it? If I had listened to her and given up because I’d “never get it” I certainly wouldn’t be a very effective skater or teammate and I likely wouldn’t still be playing roller derby.
Whenever I fail at something (right now I’m trying to get edgework and hockey stops down and am having a hard time with it), I always challenge myself to fail better the next time. It reminds me that even through failures I can improve.
#2) Pat Yourself on the Back
Have you ever noticed that you focus a lot of mental energy on your failures, but brush off your successes?
STOP DOING THAT!
Your success comes to you through hard work. Celebrate that.
Did you hold back your league’s best jammer? YES! Celebrate. Were you part of a successful bridge? Congratulations. High five! Celebrate.
Don’t talk yourself out of being proud of what you’ve accomplished. It’s okay to be excited that you won that MVP award or that you jumped the apex during a scrimmage.
Celebrations don’t have to be huge. Although they can be, don’t let me stop you, party animal.
I have a red pen. (I used to be a teacher, what can I say?) And I use this red pen to cross items off my to-do list. The moment when I cross off that item with that red pen is a mini-celebration for me. I love that red pen. And it allows me to celebrate the fact that I wrote the grocery list today because no one else will celebrate that for me.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Celebrate it instead.
#3) Set Small Goals
You may have a goal of scoring 15 points in one jam even though you can’t complete a crossover yet. Dream big!
But how are you going to get there? A goal of that magnitude can be really overwhelming and being overwhelmed is like sending an invitation on a golden platter for your nasty little roommate to come cut you down.
It’s okay to have the big goal, but break it down into more manageable steps so that you can see the progress you’re making towards it. It won’t feel as overwhelming, it will allow you to celebrate your success, and smaller goals can be more easily broken down and learned from too.
My current big goal is to get a bodyweight bench press (which is around 160lbs) and I’m sitting at less than half that. I could easily let my frustration at how much I have left to go lead me into a downward spiral of negativity. Instead, I’m focusing on what I’m lifting now. Last week I got 70lbs for 3 sets of 4 reps (which was a big improvement — yes, I celebrated). This week, my goal is to get 70lbs for 3 sets of 6 reps. The week after that I’m going to try 75lbs for 3 sets of 4 reps.
These goals are easier for me to see myself reaching and are still working me closer and closer to my overall goal. You know the old standby, “Progress, not perfection”.
#4) Say Something Nice
When it comes to how we talk to ourselves, we don’t always follow the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rule. We are our own harshest critics. Being able to look at something critically is important, but there’s a difference between thinking critically and being critical.
Take the time to tell yourself (literally tell yourself) that you are amazing. You’ve made it this far, you’ve confronted difficult outcomes before, you are a warrior-badass-goddess-unicorn-glitter woman (or whatever).
I’m preparing to do a webinar for another organization (Roller Derby Solutions) and I was practicing yesterday. Halfway through the webinar practice, this started happening:
- This is terrible. No one is going to want to hear this.
- Why am I doing this webinar? What the hell do I know about this stuff?
- They’re all going to feel like they’ve been ripped of. What am I even doing?
So I stopped. And I walked around the house talking to myself saying, “This is a great webinar and people are excited about it. You know this stuff; you’ve piloted programs and have data to support how well you know this stuff. No one is going to feel ripped off. They’re signing up for this webinar because they want to hear about this topic. You used to stand up in front of 30+ teenagers and teach Algebra. Seriously, this is nothing.”
I use this tactic all the time when I step on to the track for the first jam. I remind myself that I know how to do this. I’ve done it before. I’ve been successful.
The best part about saying something nice to yourself is that you’re always there. You don’t need to waste time calling a friend to boost you up, you can do it yourself. Because you’re an amazon-princess-luck dragon-donut woman.
Once you’ve celebrated your successes, thought up your small steps, and given yourself a pep talk, it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone.
All the things above are great for helping you build confidence and start to distance yourself from the nasty voice in your head, but where the rubber really meets the road is through your commitment.
Commit to continue doing something DESPITE the fact there’s a part of you that thinks that you can’t.
There’s nothing more powerful than success to really shut that bitch up.
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