What’s your go-to mantra?

As we were transitioning from one exercise to another in [solidcore] the other day (yes, this is more work-out wisdom), I got overwhelmed. I couldn’t tell one foot from the other and was just about out of endurance. I thought to myself: “I can’t do this. I’m going to fall over. I. Just. Can’t.” And instantly, the other part of my brain (the part still getting oxygen apparently) said, “Oh, yes, you can. Place your foot on that carriage, engage your core and you can do it.”

Reader, I did it.

Later, walking home on legs shaking with fatigue, I wondered how many times we hear these negative messages in our heads. The self-defeating mantras we recite automatically when confronted with a new challenge or a situation that takes us out of our comfort zone. The “I’m too fat…too old…not good enough…not clever enough” to wear this dress, go for that promotion, assert my wishes” (fill in the blank) statements.

As that delightful Geico commercial shows, “words can hurt.” They can leave damage that holds you back from going after what you can do and what you deserve. They make you feel bad about yourself, your body or your capabilities by reinforcing your worst fears or opinions. Holding you prisoner in a jail of your own making.

How to escape? Be mindful of negative messages. Deconstruct what triggers them and whether or not there’s truth in what you say to yourself. If there is, figure out a solution to the problem. If not, work on ways to overcome what’s basically lazy default thinking that leads to self-sabotaging behaviors. If you’re going to tell a story about yourself, make sure it has a happy outcome!

Can you do this?

Oh, yes. You. Can.