1. BE AWARE OF YOUR OWN NEGATIVITY
The first step to developing a strong Crossfit mindset is to become aware of the content of your self-talk. Many people aren’t even aware that they are being negative. If you start to feel either bored or anxious, then you’re already too late. Recognise what you say to yourself as soon as possible.
‘Take note of whether your internal dialogue is positive or negative. If it is positive, KEEP GOING. If it is negative it must change…’
2. CONTROL NEGATIVE SELF-TALK: THOUGHT STOPPING
Once you become aware of negative self-talk, it must stop immediately! In competitive Crossfit, you can’t afford the luxury of adverse thoughts. They snowball quickly and before you know it, you are hoping for it all to be over – or worst of all – you have already stopped!
Actions can aid ‘thought stopping’ and it’s common for athletes to wear bands around their wrist to snap when a negative thought arises. This behaviour reminds you to ‘snap out of it’. Try this in your next workout to help keep your crossfit mindset positive. Pick something individual that works for you – either way, use a psychological cue to keep your positive thoughts, and strong performance, on the right track.
3. RESTRUCTURE YOUR THOUGHTS
Once you have stopped those repellent, negative thoughts, you must restructure them. There is a legitimate reason for the thought in the first place. Whatever the cause of the thought, it has to be approached in a positive light so that you can move forward. Restructure the dialogue into positive self-talk.
- Think about WHY you feel that way?
- What is the cause of that negative feeling?
A common example would be when you come up against superior opposition. You could easily avoid the challenge and tell yourself that ‘this athlete is better than me, this will be embarrassing’, or more intrinsically “my self-esteem is about to take a blow”.
Clearly there is no benefit to thinking this at all. Such a trail of thought needs to be restructured into a positive outlook; ‘this is a great opportunity to see where I am at, this athlete will bring out the best in me’. By repeating these messages over and over you can remain positive.
- Try to step outside of your own ego and look at the situation logically and objectively.
- Don’t let your tiredness, competitive edge, mood, or any other emotion affect your judgement.
4. CROSSFIT MINDSET: COUNTER NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Keeping negative thoughts completely out of your own consciousness is difficult, and requires a good amount of mental toughness. However, don’t look at this skill as repressing negative thoughts through effort.
It is important to be mindful of each negative thought as well as the cause of it. Once restructured into a positive statement, you need to counter the argument put forward by the feeling of doubt with a positive ‘case’ (such as a lawyer would do in court). This can be a memory from your past where you performed well at a particular skill, or a time you exceeded your perceived ability.
By presenting the case you are essentially convincing yourself that the original thought was irrational. This will reduce the chances of it returning and improve your crossfit mindset, additionally giving yourself a positive outlook.
5. REFLECT ON YOUR PERFORMANCES
After training or competition, take time to reflect on your mental game that day. Which negative thoughts were present and what were they about?
- An approaching event?
- Your ability to execute a skill?
- Your fitness?
Take a note in a journal of these and start building your case, right that second! Practice the skill, work on your fitness, research tactics or the opposition for the upcoming event. This way, if the thought does return, then you can counter it with the constructive work you have been doing.
From now on there is no such thing as a negative thought. You think it because you’re ambitious and you want to be better, it’s just not being communicated in the right way. Every thought has a positive intention; it’s up to you to recognise it and turn it into positive action.
All images © StevieD Photography