Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Importance of Self-Talk

Self-Talk Makes All the Difference!

In a graduate course, I was assigned the reading of a book entitled, “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter. I will admit that when I first read the title my thoughts were something like, “oh great, gotta read some psycho-babble!”, but I was wrong! The thesis of the book is that we are so greatly affected by what we tell ourselves, that we actually become exactly what we think. And since we ultimately become what we think, we need to closely watch our thoughts and ensure that they are what they should be.

In my running I have discovered this truth over and over again. I recall once, while training for a half marathon, that there were only two days in the entire training program when I thought, “I can’t do this today” and those were the only two days that I didn’t finish the run. On the other hand, there have been many times that I willed my way through difficult stretches by reassuring myself that I could do it and, without exception, I succeeded. Many of you have experienced the same.

We should not be surprised though, as this is a biblical principle from long ago. Solomon wrote, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is…” (Prov. 23:7). We eventually become what we think. This powerful principle cuts both ways and we need to be on the right side of it, thinking what is right and best to fully reach our potential.

Many people - runners, Christians, and others - short-circuit themselves with false and negative self-talk. They convince themselves of falsehoods that in turn become self-fulfilling prophecies. Yes, there are many challenges, but the strength for the journey is available. Paul declared that he could do all things, not on his own, but because God strengthened him to do so. (Phil. 4:13).

Regardless of your goals, remember to think the best things and the right things, so you can fully reach your potential!

Gotta run!

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