Do you have a mantra?
I ask because it's something I feel very strongly about and it's something I don't think enough of us really put any thought or attention to. I'm not going to go into the history or cultural significance of mantras in this blog post but that's a super interesting subject for another time. Instead, I'm going to simply define the term as I'm using it here as a word or group of words that are either uttered silently, or out loud, to yourself, sometimes in repetition. Clean and easy. It's just some words. But those words can be magical when used the right way - by you, for you. They can lift you up, they can help you shake off anxiety, self doubt, they can push you forward when you're lacking motivation. Words matter.
The one I come back to for myself time and time again is "Yes you can". It's particularly useful when I'm struggling with a task or obligation, and I am trying to drum up some courage or inner strength or personal motivation. You may have heard me say it out loud in a class during squats or burpees or pretty much any other move that I'm ready to give up on: "yes you can!". Oh, you thought I was talking to you?
The beauty of having a mantra is it's like a great handbag. You can always have more than one. Even though (if you click on the link above you will see that) it has multiple purposes, a specific structure, and is important to ritual, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to picking your own mantra and what the words are. As long as those words have meaning for you. So, for my purposes, I treat the words I choose as a pep talk to myself.
Mel Robbins (who some of you know I love - former lawyer turned awesome-sauce motivator, I mean come on how great is that) just released a book in the last month called The High 5 Habit. In it she talks about the science of neuroplasticity, which I've talked about before, and how something as simple as giving yourself a high five in the mirror in the morning can actually turn your mindset from "ugh" to "yes!". Just a simple action in the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning. Wow. Well, I use my mantras in the same way. When I catch myself heading down the rabbit hole of self-doubt, I have a phrase I turn to. I say it and I smile (even if I don't feel like smiling). It's my way of being my own cheerleader even when my team (me) seems to be losing.
It doesn't have to be deep. Don't overthink it. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with something and needed a little boost? Start there. Write it on an index card and put it next to your toothbrush so you can see it every morning and before you go to bed every night. Set it on an alarm on your phone. Lots of unique and clever ways to give yourself a pep talk. I want to hear what you come up with, and if you have a unique way to deliver the message to yourself.