I would like you to look at deliberately reinforcing a positive belief system about yourself, your life and your sport. This is a very deliberate action, especially since most of us are programmed to have negative belief systems about ourselves, our lives and the sports we play. This is especially true for those of you who have played a sport for more than a few years and had time to build fears, doubts and negative perceptions or expectations about how you will perform.
In thinking about negative perceptions, did you know that they are just like any other habit? Consider a nail biting habit for a moment. Will that change on it’s own? Do you just wake up one morning and all of a sudden you aren’t biting your nails anymore, after doing it every day for years and years? No, you won’t. It takes a very deliberate action to stop. But first, you need to become aware that there’s even a problem you would like to change. Then you take very deliberate action and very deliberate steps to make the change. It is like catching yourself every time you might go to bite your nails and having a plan to do something else instead. You might move your hand away, put a toothpick in your mouth or something like that. It’s standard behavior modification.
So we are all familiar with habits and how things can be on autopilot. Unfortunately, negative belief systems and thought patterns are on autopilot as well. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to automatically think that way and feel like you can’t do anything about it. You can do something to change those thoughts. I do it all the time. One of the reasons I enjoy and do hypnosis as a profession is because I feel like I can help people more quickly and at a deeper level with habits like this. We all have areas in which we can improve, and I hope this complimentary mental training helps you to take the first steps toward realizing your full potential.
First, just like with nail biting, you must become aware that you have negative perceptions and thought patterns going on within your mind. I also feel it is very important for people to realize just how detrimental that kind of thinking really is. It is not enough to just see it happening and not really care to do anything about it. You should see that it is happening and decide that it is important to make the change, and want to reinforce positive beliefs instead. You are not free to perform your best until you get rid of those negative perceptions, and there are many other benefits to changing them as well. But you won’t be able to do it unless you see it as a problem. You must build the belief system that it’s important to think in a more positive, loving and limitless kind of way.
This is one of the examples I use to help clients get to that place of knowing. Take a minute right now, and think of an athlete that you admire. Go ahead and let a few names come into your mind. Usually when I ask someone who they think of and then they tell me, it’s pretty common that the athlete has a calm, cool, collected kind of manner. He or she is able to stay calm and confident under pressure, is consistent and able to maintain a high level of performance no matter what. That person can maintain his or herself under pressure and consistently perform well, while still being kind, generous and peaceful – all of those good qualities you or I might hope to have ourselves.
If you are someone who thinks of a person like that, it tells me that you recognize the benefit of having those kinds of character traits and how they help with one’s performance. Now let’s stop to think of someone who appears negative and has a negative attitude while performing, and who doesn’t hold out well under pressure. Does that person get angry or frustrated and show it in his or her actions? Is he or she able to maintain performance and be consistent, or does he/she appear and act in an inconsistent, aggressive and easily frustrated manner? It’s pretty likely you did not choose to admire someone like that, nor would you want to emulate that behavior or performance.
It is great that you can notice the difference in those kinds of traits and how they affect somebody else, but recognition is not enough. You need to really understand that the more calm, peaceful and positive someone can be under pressure, the more they can truly perform better no matter what. Allowing that to be part of your belief system is important for you to make that change for yourself. Do you reinforce that positive belief in your own life?
Others who lack peacefulness and are easily frustrated and agitated end up riding an emotional roller coaster. They have highs and lows; they experience a lot of excitement when things go the way they want, and anger and frustration when they don’t. With that emotional roller coaster also comes a roller coaster performance; they perform well at times and dive bomb at others. They lack consistency and are not able to perform at their best.
Take this information and find evidence for yourself in your own life. Maybe the person you most admire is not a sports figure, but it could be an entrepreneur, manager, executive or business professional. You can also admire people in your personal life and be amazed at how they perform and act in their relationships. Maybe you really admire how some people interact with their significant others, and how they treat them and are able to handle themselves. There are a lot of people you can look up to, for a variety of reasons. I used athlete in my example, but do not limit yourself to sports. You can reinforce positive beliefs in all areas of life, not just sport.
By finding your own evidence, it will confirm that you have an understanding and desire within you to be that way yourself. So now it is time to take action. Just like the nail biting example, change won’t happen just because you decide you want it to. The stronger your beliefs in what it is you desire and the more clarity you have, the easier it will be to make those changes and move your life or performance in that direction. But if you don’t even have that clarity or decide that it is important to you, you will continue to flounder around and ride your own emotional roller coaster with inconsistent performance. Do you want to live your life that way?
Make a choice today, and help yourself to change with the following affirmation: “I now deliberately reinforce positive belief about myself and stop reinforcing negative perceptions of myself”. Think of negative self talk or perceptions as an unhealthy, limiting habit. It’s just like the nail biting that has gotten out of control to the point that you are injuring yourself. Stop reinforcing the negative behaviors and negative perceptions of yourself!
If you are used to having negative perceptions about yourself, you are probably thinking “I can’t think of anything positive”. If you just came off the golf course and had several bad shots, your tendency is probably to focus on those; but what about the thousand positive and good things that happened out there? That is what I am talking about. Take the focus off of the negatives or the limiting ways you view your performance and flip it over…look at how far you’ve come and how well you are doing instead.
This can be applied the same in life as well as in your sport. You can walk away from a business meeting and feel like you blew it, because maybe you did not close the deal or achieve some other significant goal. Instead, you can decide to look at it and see what you did well. What progress did you make compared with previous meetings? Why not focus on what you handled in a good, appropriate way and decide to learn from the setback you had, and just apply what you learned to your next meeting?
As you go on about your day and all this week, keep saying to yourself: So I now deliberately reinforce positive beliefs about myself and stop reinforcing negative perceptions of myself. I truly hope this helps you break the negative perception habit in several areas of your life. For more information on this or other performance improvement areas, please contact me. I am available to help you apply this and other teachings, and am happy to do it. It is so important to reinforce positive beliefs in yourself, and I wish you much success. Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!
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