Mental Toughness Life Skill #3– Using Positive Self-Talk and Visualization (Part 7)

images 28I know is extremely difficult to be positive when face with an awful adversity that causes you to be down in the dumps. When this happens, it just feels like the whole world is crushing down on you. When you are at these lowest moments, you need to monitor yourself daily to make sure you don’t let the massive negative frustration turn into self-pity.

This is the worst kind of negative self-talk. It is all too easy to wallow up in sorrow and become the victim. The victim mentality always leads to feeling sorry for yourself as this is the last thing you want as you purse toughing up your mind.  What happens when we start to overdo the “poor…poor me” syndrome is that we start blaming others for our misery and not taking ownership for own actions. This is very dangerous as it can lead to self-paralysis where one does nothing but finger pointing at everyone except one self.  As a coach, trainer and teacher, I have seen this lack of accountability over the years from athletes, clients and students and the results have always been disastrous. These adults who fail to take responsibility for their lives often never break this terrible habit. As a result, they live a life of misery and bitterness and fail to break out of the negativity that has ruined their lives. I know you may think this is a over generalization, but it is not. Blaming others for your problems is one the worst things you can do and a major no-no in the mental toughness bylaws.

This wisdom is not something I learned from watching the Dr. Oz show. Unfortunately, I’m talking from personal experience. I didn’t purse mental toughness training because I was born tough, but learned it because I used deal with bouts of victimization. Like some of you out there, I used to pout and never took accountability for my failures.

When I used to hide in my self-sorrow cave, my productivity faded away completely. I was a useless mess. Instead of working on my life goals, I would soak and feel sorry for myself. Years ago, it would take me weeks, even months to snap out of this funk, but now I am able catch myself when I’m acting like overly needed infant. And when I do, I sometimes wish I could grab a bat and whack myself over the head for acting so pathetic.

So, I am preaching to you all from experience – if you are feeling sorry for yourself, stop it. It’s like the “stop mechanism” skill I talked about that you must have when you are about to give up during a WOD. In this case, you must have some powerful “stop mechanism” statements to prevent you from quitting and forcing you go on.

Same when you are acting like a baby in life too. You must create several and powerful “stop” mechanism” mantras in your personal life as well. They are essential, especially when your world is falling apart.

I know I may sound insensitive to some of you. If I do, I apologize. I know for some of you, life has been pretty unfair to you and some unimaginable acts of cruelties have fallen on your path. Nobody ever deserves to be physically and emotional hurt to the point that they are scarred for life. It just sucks royally when bad shit happens to innocent people.

You may not have in control of what happen to you, but you are in totally control of how you react to the awful situation. You can either pity yourself or do something about it. Being mentally tough is always about fighting back. One way to do this is to shift your analysis of the situation by seeing how you may have indirectly contributed to the situation. I’m not saying one should blame their self for any unfairness, but by seeing how you have made some wrong choices that lead up to the circumstance can help you hold accountable for all of your actions. The reasoning is that if you see yourself somewhat responsible for what has happened to you then you must also see yourself as having the power to overcome the awful predicament as well. This ever so slightly change in your perception of the situation is all about empowerment. In other words, if you caused it, you can also change it. In order to be adept at overcoming adversities, you must be able to learn from your mistakes.

To do this, you must get off the self-pity train and learn to move on. I know this may be some harsh advice for some of you, especially if you are currently struggling with a personal tragedy. If so, grieve all you can now.

But, soon or later, you must become a human fist and strike back at what has hurt you. I am not way advocating violence or implying you go beat the crap out of your enemies. What I am suggesting is that you learn from the pain and become better and stronger because of it.

By standing up against your worst nightmares and moving forward to over come it, is the fighting mentality that you must obtain in life.

This mental toughness training is all about helping you get there.

(To be continued)

Today’s CrossFit WOD –

6 sets

Push press – 6 reps

Pull-ups – 6 reps

Bodyweight squats – 25 reps

Today’s focus is for you to practice using your stop mechanism statements during today’s WOD. Many times during these demanding WOD there will be moments where you don’t think you can go on. These are very pivotal moments as they can either strengthen your inner will or regress you back to a weaker state. So before the WOD, come up with a couple of strong stop mechanism statements that are very personal to you and that you connect with.

Some of my most intimate stop mechanism statements are very powerful because they have such meaning to me. These single statements pack a lot of power because of the emotions that are tied to them. For example, whenever I am to the point where I feel like I am to crack from the WOD, all I have to say to myself is “No! I will not quit! I refuse to be a quit on myself! 

These stop mechanism statements are more than just a bunch of words to me. They hold very strong feelings and personal meaning to me. When I say them, it pumps me to no end and always able to push myself though the WOD, no matter how badly I am suffering. The trick with stop mechanism statements is to always follow up with them with positive self-talk or mantras. So after I say or scream the stop mechanism statements to myself, I load myself up with a much positive self-coaching as possible. These stop mechanism statements is like a shot of adrenaline. Now I must use and continue the momentum with aggressive and positive thought patterns.  The more forceful and clear you positive thoughts are, the less physical pain you will feel.  By shifting your concentration now to the mental over the physical, you will not only be able to go forward in the WOD, but don’t be surprise if you pick up a second wind that makes you stronger and more energetic than just how you felt a minute ago.

When you do, go with it. What you are experiencing is the power of your mind taking charge of an almost bad situation and turning you into an unstoppable piece of machinery.

Be relentless today.

Scaled back version of the WOD –

1. You can do this alternative rep scheme:

4 sets

Push press – 3 reps

Pull-ups – 3 reps

Bodyweight squats – 15 reps

2. Omit the pull-ups

Acceptable alternatives –

1.  Use a Woody band for the assisted pull-ups

2. Horizontal body rows can be done instead of the pull-ups. They look like this – images (18)

3. Jumping pull-ups are good too. Here’s what they look like – download (2)

4. You can do dumbbell or barbell military presses instead of the push presses.