A couple of days ago I did 3 sets of 50 sit ups. In a row. I was pretty pleased – I don’t think I’ve ever done that many before. How did I do it? I told myself I was going to. Simple as that.
This morning I accompanied a group of kids from my son’s school to a running event. They were nervous – for many of them it was their first event. Even more so when they saw the course (it was HILLY!) But they all ran brilliantly, and did their school and their team mates proud. How? They told themselves they could do it.
Sometimes a mental note to self is enough. And sometimes the voice of doubt is a bit too loud and overwhelms any confidence you might have in your ability. So a further step is required.
I find gardening really hard work, and two summers of really awful weather meant the garden had got completely out of hand. This year was the time to sort it out, and I had serious doubts about my ability. What did I do? I wrote myself a big message. It looks like this:
It’s a technique that works for all sorts of daunting tasks you’re feeling overwhelmed by or negative about. Telling yourself you can do something, even if there’s a smidge of doubt in your mind about whether you can really do it, is a really good thing.
We have to be realistic. Telling yourself you can fly is probably unwise. Attempting 150 sit ups when you’ve never even done one might be a stretch too far and leave you feeling disheartened. But setting yourself a realistic goal and then outwardly telling yourself you really can do it WORKS. When (not if!) you achieve it, the positive feedback you get from yourself will make even more likely to work again next time.
I leave myself bold notes, telling me I can do it (whatever ‘it’ may be). On the whiteboard in the kitchen, or sticky notes on my PC. Written in the steam on the bathroom mirror, or scrawled on a sheet of paper on my desk. They are big, bold, confident, happy notes. They shout at me “I believe in you!”
It’s a really little thing, and when I first started it, I felt really silly doing it. I worried I might let myself down. But now, I love my notes to self and leave them up unashamedly. They are happy reminders of how much I can achieve. They don’t have deadlines, and the note can stay there indefinitely as far as I’m concerned. I may not achieve that goal today (I may not choose to), and that’s ok. The point is that I CAN do it. Whether it happens today, or next week, or next year, I’m reminding myself that, even when the voice of doubt in my head is quite loud, I do actually believe in myself.
© Liz Wootton 2013. All Rights Reserved.