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From a young age we may have been told, “You will never____” or “You are always___” or “You are____.”
Maybe a playground bully or someone who we knew was a jerk said something mean—and we were able to dismiss it. But then again, maybe someone close to us, someone we trusted, said, “You will never ____” and we believed them.
We accepted their assessment of us. We accepted what they said as not only a truth, but perhaps our truth. Even crazier (and common), however, is that often we don’t even realize that we have done so.
We don’t remember (or want to) why or how someone said, “You are fat” or “You will never be a runner.”
We just know that we struggle with our weight and believe ourselves to be terrible runners.
This belief set—sprouted from a mere sentence or comment from years and years ago—can easily extend to our habits and beyond. If you were hard to wake up for school, this can translate to “I am not a morning person.” Some things can even be unsaid. For example, if your parents came home from work completely busted up from the day, you may have learned to perceive the evenings as times for complete energy-less sitting, or picking up a beer.
Triathlon is a sport of forward motion, sometimes breaking bad habits and developing consistency. Time and time again, that is what I say is required of doing a triathlon and continuing in this lifestyle.
But in order to even start or continue moving forward, we are sometimes required to break out of the bad thoughts—including the not-so-great trajectories and beliefs that we have heard, curated and then cultivated over the span of our recent existence.
- I am not a morning person.
- I can’t ride a bike.
- My legs are weak.
- I can’t work out in the evening.
- I can’t work out in the morning.
- I can’t work out on the weekends.
- I will never be a swimmer.
- I will never be a runner.
- I can’t swim.
- I am always so slow.
- I can’t seem to ride my bike.
Or the real potential buster: “I will never be a triathlete.”
The simple way to “cure” these phrases and beliefs? Try and flip the thought—just a simple rearrangement of words to begin to shake up the continuous gobbledygook swimming around and blocking our potential. Of course, we must continue these affirmations and begin to make them a part of our belief set. Not easy, but hard work that is worth the struggle.
The decision to believe differently is the first step in moving past some of the past wrongs. A simple choice: I will think differently today. This moment, this second. Something as small as that is a forward step in the right direction.
“I will be a triathlete.”
Just smile, and try a statement (or one like it) on for size today.
Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom) is a recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of the new best-seller, Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You.. She is the host of the podcast, The Same 24 Hours. Meredith lives in Overland Park, Kansas (for now!) with her husband and two tweens and writes about all things at MeredithAtwood.com. Her next book, The Year of No Nonsense, will be released December 2019.