…is can’t. Before you start rolling your runner eyes and think, “Great, she’s going all annoyingly Hallmark-motivational on us,” stop! Come on, do you not give me more credit than that, have you really not read enough snarky or sarcasm from this runnerchick to give you a little more faith in me?
So hear me out and prepare to have your mind blown. Well, maybe not exactly blown but I hope going forward you start to sandblast the word CAN’T from your inner dialogues. Can’t is like the lame excuse your body likes to use when it’s too tired, the task at had seems like it would take too much work or it’s scary to believe that you are capable of achieving something. Can’t is the lazy runner’s excuse, and what IS scary is that this can’t business is going on all the time in our brains and, for the most part, going unnoticed.
“I can’t hold this pace. I can’t believe I have a whole 16 miles ahead of me. I can’t keep up with this runner next to me. I can’t do cross-training today instead of my run just because of this stupid [insert injury] I’m going to do running regardless.” There’s a 100% chance that you’ve thought some version of these. The can’t beast really likes to rear its ugly head in the middle slog-fest of hard workouts and races. Just thinking can’t, or at least not quickly refuting it, can throw your race or workout down the toilet. But it’s just a thought you argue…
Thoughts are the driving force behind actions. Running is incredibly mental and to perform at your best you have to have ALL elements on point; letting your mind play the weenie ‘can’t card’ is like starting your run with a shoelace untied. It seems not too bad at first but then your whole shoe gets super loose, it starts sliding around, the heel cup slacks and your foot is popping in and out of the shoe for the duration, then you get blisters that last for days…all because of something that you didn’t think was all that big of a deal.
Change the ‘Can’t’ into an ‘I Choose Not To.’ We may not be able to always control the thoughts and words that pop into our brains, but we CAN choose to argue with them or change them around. Replace all of those ‘can’ts’ with ‘I choose not to’ and let’s see what happens: “I
It’s far easier to see the flimsy excuses for what they are when you remove the can’t. Can’t seems to definite, black and white, defeating, not even worth arguing with. By inserting the word ‘choose’ you recognize that you do in fact have a choice in the matter, a decision at hand. You can CHOOSE to go after that hard pace, cling on for as long as possible and gut it out. You can CHOOSE to tackle that 16 miler, take it one mile at a time, use all the mental tricks in the book and make it to the end. You CHOOSE to be a stubborn, stupid runner and run through an obvious injury until it is infinitely worse just because mentally it is too hard to acknowledge you shouldn’t be running.
Ditching the can’t isn’t a one-time thing and it takes practice, just like your running. The first step is just being cognitively aware just how much your brain relies on that stupid can’t word and catching yourself when you hear it. As soon as you do, rewire your brain to use the same sentence but with ‘I choose not to’ and then think about the new version. See that you have a choice to make and decide what is in your best interest.
Do you choose not to dream big and go after goals that will be hard, take a lot of work, and probably scare you? There is a choice there, it’s not merely because you can’t.
Stay tuned, this post is one part in some exciting news I have to share coming up later this week. It’s all about self-motivation, believing in yourself and running towards goals that may scare you!
1) How often do you think you rely on the word can’t or use it in your daily mental dialogues? Do you use it a lot actually spoken aloud too?
2) Take one of the last sentences that you used can’t and replace it here with ‘I choose not to’. Can you share your new sentence and explain the choice that is presented?
3) Can you come up with a great rebuttal for the next time your brain thinks something along the lines of, “I can’t keep going at this pace,” during your next hard workout or race?
Changed to: ‘I choose not to keep going at this pace?’
Rebuttal: ‘Fudge that, I can at least keep going for one more half mile at this pace. I’m way tougher than this runner next to me, and they’re doing it!’ Then obviously just say the same thing the next half mile…keep lying to yourself with the ‘one more’ thing! Hehe.