If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life (and mainly through sports) it’s that what you think is what you create and who you become. High performance athletes are trained to control their thoughts and practice positive affirmations daily.

I often speak to my kids about the importance of using positive words and self-talk to help them succeed at challenges they’re facing. When my daughter was four, we were in the playground and she told me that she couldn’t climb up the rope ladder. I told her that she just needed to say to herself: “I can do it! I can do it! I can do it!” As we chanted this mantra together, she managed to climb the rope ladder all by herself (and you should have seen the look of pride on her face!). Now my husband and I often notice that she says this out loud to herself whenever she is trying something that she finds challenging so this small lesson has already started to make a big impact in helping her to create success in her life.

It’s Really Quite Simple…

Negative thoughts create negativity; positive thoughts, by contrast, create positivity and abundance. My son, when he was 7, summed it up perfectly. I remember him sitting at the dining room table in deep concentration while building something with lego. It took him several tries to get his creation to look just as he wanted it and it had required patience and problem-solving to figure out which pieces he needed to use to create his unique lego spaceship. When he finished, he looked up and said:

“You know Mom…it’s easier than you think because if you think you can do it, you can do it… but if you think you can’t, you’ll fail.”

I was speechless. Then I just looked at him, smiled and said: “That’s exactly right!” (And of course I ran to my notebook to capture his words of wisdom!) I felt so much love and gratitude for this little boy, with so much wisdom at just seven years old.

The Simplest Way to Change Your Life is to Change Your Thoughts

What you think is what you become and impacts the life you’re creating for yourself. The best part is that you can control your thoughts and (re)train yourself to feed your mind positive, nourishing food that will build and reinforce your self-confidence and help you create the life you want.

What you think also affects what you say (believe) about yourself. And for those of you who are parents, remember, there are little eyes and ears watching your every move and listening to everything you say about yourself. So the next time you want to express some “truth” about yourself, like that you are clumsy, forgetful, or not athletic at all, remember that each time you repeat that in your head and out loud, you are reinforcing that exact quality in yourself. (And please, do your best to refrain from imposing any limiting beliefs on your precious little bundles of potential!)

The next time you think or say that you’re not good with money or that you’re trapped in a job you hate, stop yourself! It’s important to remember that the things you think and say have a powerful way of manifesting within your life.

Turn Your Negative Self-Talk into Positive Affirmations

Instead of just repeating the same old phrases to yourself, try rephrasing your negative thoughts and statements into positive ones.

Instead of: “I’m not good with money” say: “I’m excellent at managing my money.”

Instead of: “I’m a terrible mother” say: “I’m a warm, loving mother” OR “I do my best and my best is good enough.” (Thanks to my wonderful sister Rachel for this last one!)

Instead of: “We can’t afford it!” say: “We’ll be able to afford that soon.”

I know this sounds hokey but it actually works.

Here’s My Real Life Example…

When I was in university, I was one of the smallest players competing at the Varsity volleyball level. I knew that because of my height I had to work harder to be an effective blocker (a blocker is a person who jumps up and tries to defend right at the net from an attack from the other team)… so I used to recite this affirmation every night and before every practice: “I am an excellent blocker.” 

When I first started saying it to myself, I didn’t quite believe it. But after repeating it to myself thousands of times, I really started to believe it. Those five words become a compelling mantra that made me feel confident, powerful and fierce. I also learned and perfected strategies that I could use, as a smaller player, to make myself an effective blocker.

At the indoor Canadian National team tryouts, one of the last challenges for all the setters trying out was one-on-one blocking against a power hitter. The coach matched me up against one of the biggest and hardest hitters at the tryouts (I’m pretty sure he was intending to set me up to fail). I, standing at just 5’6” (with shoes on), was facing down a player who was at least 6’2” and probably outweighed me by at least 60 lbs… and wow, could she ever hit hard!

The drill was designed to see how many blocks I could get out of 20 attacks. I started out by blocking her seven times in a row. She started getting frustrated and tried to hit harder and harder and I kept shutting her down. She was only able to get about three attacks past my block out of 20 (and you should have seen the look of disbelief on the coach’s face – or was it horror?). I definitely surprised her (and the coach) but I didn’t surprise myself. I had talked myself into believing I was an excellent blocker and once I did this, I committed the time and hard work to learn how to create that reality: I became an excellent blocker.

Are You Willing to Give it a Try?

So here’s the challenge my friends… pick a skill or obstacle that requires you to shift your self-talk from negative to positive in order to be successful. It might just be an everyday challenge you are facing like organizing a part of your house so shift your self-talk from: “I’m not a tidy person” to “I’m good at keeping my desk (or closet or kitchen) clean.” Or it could be a bigger challenge like performing well in a job interview so shift your self-talk from: “I always choke in job interviews” to “I am going to kill it in this job interview!”

The first step is to deliberately take control of your self-talk. (The next part is putting that positive self-talk and newfound belief in yourself into action!)

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Originally published at www.possibilify.com