Welcome to the new year, I hope everyone had a great New Years eve and New Years day too 🤗.
Between Christmas and New Year you perhaps received that ideal piece of home exercise equipment, so now you are ready to start using it (?) or perhaps you took to the gym, let's take a look at how we can keep motivated, keep those New Years resolutions and achieve those goals.
It's no secret that gym membership and exercise in general goes up significantly in January but doesn't take long to drop off as people give up.
One simple thing you can do to help yourself is become aware of the language you are using when thinking about or discussing your goals and progress 🤔. In Sport there is a term known as positive and negative coaching. An example of this would be a coach telling a swimmer "your times are really slow this week, what's going wrong". This is an example of negative coaching, A positive alternative may be : "This week let's explore how you can speed up".
Now, you can forgiven for thinking this is all a bit "politically correct, touchy feely don't want to cause offence' clap trap 😤. But please, don't confuse it as that at all. The human brain functions on imagery!
Don't believe me? ...here's a little test for you to try: I am going to suggest you don't think about something, so here goes: DO NOT THINK ABOUT PINK ELEPHANTS.
What did you think about? What picture came into your head?... Hang on, I thought I told you not to think about that 😂! You can't though, it's simply the way we are and the way we learn.
Let's use an everyday example. If asked you to get me some bread you would go and LOOK for bread, which you successfully buy because you recognise it, you are unlikely to come back with a tin of beans.
But what if I asked you to buy me a 'Rurp' (answers on a post card please, it does exist).
What is it? Where would you get it? If you have never seen a 'Rurp' then you have never linked that word to an image, so you have not the faintest what I am asking for.
Careful choice of language is essential to success and sometimes safety! A command to a gymnast of "don't open out to early, we don't want you to land on your head" is actually downright dangerous; we have just put an image into that athlete's mind of opening out too early and landing on their head. There is now a genuine chance that that will actually happen 😱. We should be saying "stay tucked and make sure you get your feet under you".
Suggestion and imagery really is that powerful.
So, words and imagery are incredibly powerful especially at the subconscious level. High level athletes, coaches and Sports Scientists have known this for decades (and of course, here at The Reinge Clinic you will find we have been/are all of these! Yep, that is a younger me in the photo above 😀👍).
Hopefully, I have convinced you that this is genuine and worthwhile, so let's take this into something meaningful to the New year Exerciser, because how you think or talk might affect your success or resolve!
Here are a few examples:
Negative: I hate exercise but I suppose I have to!
Positive: I do find exercise challenging
Negative: I can't manage that!
Positive: I wish I could do that!
How about this though. Here's a couple of slightly more subtle ones:
Negative: I don't have the time (this is a really powerful one "I DON'T", you are just shutting the door...period!)
Positive: How am I meant to fit this in (this is just as powerful in conveying frustration and dismay that your time is limited but you are actually questioning how it could be achieved rather than just saying NO!
Think about this one too:
Negative: I am not getting any fitter/lighter!
Positive: Why am I not progressing.
We are still using the word 'not' but we have now inserted just one positive word.....'progressing', which will automatically make you visualise what you are trying to achieve.
So, we can still shake our head and make a negative statement... I am not because by inserting just one positive word, we will subtly change the outcome of that statement.
So here is a tip and a task. Become aware of positive and negative words and phrases you use. When you identify a negative statement write down how you might repackage that, soon enough it will become natural and subconsciously you will massively increase the likelihood of achieving all your fitness and rehabilitation goals.
Happy New Year and happy training 😉