Self belief is the bedrock of achievement. Self belief is not the same thing as self confidence. It is the way we label ourselves and the things we believe about ourselves. But those labels and beliefs are not necessarily true or fixed and can be negative and detrimental to our training and performance.
Not backing ourselves to win will lead to falling short of hitting our goals. What we believe is what drives our behaviour, so if you find yourself not getting the results you want, have a look at what you believe about yourself as that could well be the culprit.
Here’s a few examples of negative self belief:
- 👉 All or nothing attitude: thinking that if a performance isn’t perfect it’s a failure
- 👉 Labels (the way you describe yourself or your behaviour): “I always choke….” “I’m a slow runner”
- 👉 Comparison: “I’ll never beat her”
- 👉 Rigid or critical thinking: “That’s just the way I am” “I always mess up” “I should have done better”
If we can challenge any negative beliefs we can change the way we act and what we do. Shift your beliefs and you can shift your behaviour.
Behaviours become habitual too so if you’ve ever found yourself in a rut of repeating unproductive behaviours like skipping training sessions, getting stuck in a negative thought cycle during long runs/rides, or not quite reaching your potential in races you are unwittingly giving your brain a pattern to follow and our brains love familiar patterns because it’s comfortable.
Here’s an example of an athlete whose self belief issues are causing him to struggle to execute a training plan. He tells himself he is not committed and dedicated enough. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the time or the ability, it was that he had written a story about himself that not only wasn’t true but it was detrimental to his goals.
On the surface this behaviour and thinking looks like self sabotage but it isn’t. Yes the behaviour is unhelpful but your mind always has the best intentions, it isn’t trying to derail you. So you have to work out what intention that thought or behaviour really is. In the example of the athlete who, despite setting high goals and expectations, can’t stay committed to a training plan, he thinks that by not putting 100% into training and preparing for a race his reward may be that he can’t be disappointed when he gave all he had and then still fell short of his goal.
If he only gives 70% and falls short that’s because the preparation wasn’t there, having nothing to do with him. However, he may believe (even if it’s subconscious) that if he gave 100% and fell short of his goal then it would mean he isn’t good enough and doesn’t have what it takes. The reward is that he gets to protect his sense of self worth from the result.
So, the faulty core belief that needs to be changed here is they think they’re not good enough or that his results are linked to self worth.
To change the behaviour, the belief system needs to corrected. By putting intentional work into separating self worth from the results, this athlete can achieve the same reward (protecting self-worth) while the behaviour can change (committing to training and racing at 100%).
You core belief that needs changing may be different to this one of self worth. But beliefs can be changed and when you identify what your belief issue is and practice changing it then your behaviour will change accordingly. Tackle the belief and you will hit those goals.
Belief is truly the groundwork for achievement. So as the quote says whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. So which one are you going to think?
If you want to identify your own self belief issues and arm yourself with tools and techniques to manage them please get in touch.