Since our mind creates our reality we need to get in control of our negative thinking. Whenever we are angry, frustrated or anxious we tend to see things in a distorted way and may jump to conclusion about ourselves, others, events and situations. This distorted perception is something you can change and is possible when you make conscious effort to control your self-talk.
Your self-talk determines your self-image. Your self-image, in turn, determines your performance or behavior, which reinforces the performance/behavior. This creates an endless self-reinforcing feedback loop which dooms you to fail if your self-talk is negative. Each time one of these cycles is completed the program becomes embedded even stronger in the subconscious mind. The first step is to realize that negative thoughts are a part of our consciousness and since you have created these thoughts you are the only person who can change this.
One of the most simple and effective tools used for decades by athletes, sport psychologists and mental skills trainers to keep their focus positive and avoid poor performance is the “rubber band method.” Because this method has proven itself over and over again it became a powerful effective tool for all people to apply to recondition their mind to positive self-talk. It can be used to eliminate any performance or behavior.
This method is simple:
- Place a loose, but comfortable sized rubber band on your wrist. It should be large enough that you are able to notice it throughout the day.
- Whenever you catch yourself engaged in negative thoughts or about to do something wrong, such as in the middle of swearing, snap the rubber band and say “STOP IT”. Ouch! You are creating mindfulness, and you begin to associate pain with swearing, which makes you not want to swear.
- Then replace the negative thought or action with a positive one. Examples: If catching yourself swearing, say “I don’t do this anymore.” If you have a weight loss goal and you catch yourself thinking, “I have no self-control”, or “I’ don’t want to exercise”, immediately snap the rubber band and rephrase that sentence to something positive such as, “I am in control of my eating habits”, or “I always enjoy how good and refreshed I feel after exercise.”
- Finally, it’s important to use your imagination and see yourself being successful at: “focused during your golf game,” or “leaving food on your plate as you leave the table a success,” whatever the appropriate scene is for your goal.
Remember, to achieve success it is up to you to address your negative and perhaps even destructive habits. You do have choice.