Watch your Language - Our internal Dialogue dictates our physical results

Watch your bloody language – Our internal dialogue dictates our physical results.
The internal and external dialogue you use when training or competing or getting ready to do either will ultimately have a direct impact on the physical response you get.
It will determine whether you are able to throw the shot, push the weight, move the way you want to or produce the power when you need it the most.
Thinking that the words you use don’t have any bearing at all on the physical output and all the signals that are sent to your body is frankly naive or you are in the “it’s the way I have always done it” camp in which case you probably wouldn’t even be reading this article.

Think about this for a moment. Have you ever been at a family or social gathering and there are small children lurking around so you are desperately trying to remember “NOT to swear in front of the children”? And what happens next? That’s right, you swear like a trooper on heat at a knitting circle.

This is only one small area where the language you use determines the results you get and it is a vast and complicated subject so I’m focusing only on one small area of this right now. As a therapist and also lecturer in neuro linguistics, the language element of what we use with clients is vast and is a therapeutic tool and can, in one fell swoop, complete demolish someone’s old belief system they had or give a perspective and understanding they never considered before. We change behaviour purely using linguistic techniques, so if we are able to do that only by using specific wording in a particular format and questioning techniques, then what do you think happens to your body and the commands given through the language you use internally when you are trying to achieve the best you have ever done?

All I’m going to discuss is the “negatives” in your language for the moment. So if you try really really hard right now to NOT think of a blue tree – what happens?? That’s right – a blue tree pops onto your head. Put this in a training or competing context. Say, “don’t lose control of the bar” or “don’t get caught with a jab” or don’t get stuck on the 5 rep like you did last time”.

Lets take the “DON’T lose control of the bar”. In focusing on the fact that you are worried about losing control of the bar, you then home in on that very thing happening making it “lose control of the bar”. By doing that then the signals and impulses from the brain produce a message to start losing control of the bar, like you have before, and therefore you actually start to do that very thing or at best, just feel unstable because you are looking for it.

In focusing on the DON’T – you are then creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and the brain is exceedingly obedient. You have to “watch your language” and also be careful what you wish for because whatever your attention is turned to is what all those electrical signals will produce.
The brain is an incredible mechanism which thousands and thousands of receptors and impulses which will leap into action with whatever you turn your direct attention to. Your internal dialogue is no exception and so you have to be extremely careful what parts on the brain you are engaging when you focus on something.

Someone who suffers with anxiety will have real fear of certain situations and so will focus very hard on “NOT having anxiety” at a certain time. They search for it, waiting for that familiar feeling to appear and in doing so actually set the signals in motion to start then entire chain reaction happening.
This is where we must be very precise in what we want. How we want to feel. The results that we want.

The internal and external dialogue has to “clean”. As in without the tarnish of the negative in there. So the “don’t lose control of the bar” will be “keep the bar steady and controlled” or if you want it to feel a certain way “progressive and strong”.

A footballer I worked with in Premier League had come back after a knee injury where he had been tackled badly. His fear was the same thing happening again and he described the feeling he got of someone literally putting the brakes on him when he realised he was going to be tackled and there were two thoughts going through his mind. One was “DON’T get injured” and the other was “DON’T lose the ball”. So needless to say, the body went into motion and made sure he didn’t get injured by slowing to a snail’s pace pretty much giving the ball away AND losing the ball.

A simple change in his internal dialogue was all he needed and he decided the outcome he wanted and the phrase he was going to use instead was “it’s my fucking ball”! So, watching him on the TV at his next game, someone came in to tackle him and my client steamrollered all over him and scored. A very proud moment knowing he was thinking “it’s my fucking ball”!

So, when you are faced with something you are worried about, challenged with or had trouble with something before, first of all decide on the outcome you want. Then decided how you want it to be or feel and run that repeatedly over in your head so that you
1) cause a pattern interrupt on the old thought process
2) Redirect your attention to what you DO want
3) engage a different part of the brain and signalling to create the outcome you want.
Such a simple technique with a myriad of things happening behind the scenes in your brain and physical output. Something else you could try is to have a conversation without any negative in there, No “don’ts” “wouldn’t” “shouldn’t” “cant” “wont” etc in there and see how difficult it is to actually have a conversation without any of those in there? It’s extremely hard to do which also emphasises how common those negatives are in our language and how many negative instructions we are sending to ourselves and others all the time.
So – watch your fecking language and be careful what you wish for!