As a coach, I'm always working with clients on their language, particularly the language we all use with our self talk while working out... Language is a huge part of the internal story we play in our thoughts and the story we create in our head. It therefore, can greatly effect our happiness, self worth, satisfaction, performance and so much more. My two least favorite words I wish we could figure out how to remove from our vocabulary as a whole are SHOULD and JUST ....
So many of us are always 'should'ing' on ourselves and others- this word can destroy relationships, break bonds of trust, and lead to major feelings of guilt and shame. It's actually almost impossible to use the word, should, without an attached feeling of guilt &/or shame placed on self or the person it's being directed at. I hear it in the gym all the time. Coach compliments Peter, and Peter responds, "oh I should have been able to do 10 more pounds...I should have gone faster... I should be able to RX... I should be able to do HSPUs... I should have done more..." It's so degrading... In using this word we place this arbitrary expectation on ourselves that we "should" be better then we are, completely discrediting the effort we have put in and the greatness in where we are at. In my opinion, the simplest way to improve the entire emotional response around this word is by replacing it with COULD. Should often leads to guilt or shame, while could creates an opportunity to learn, a lesson. Coach says to Peter, "oh that squat looked great!" Peter responds "thanks coach- it was feeling really good- I think I could have loaded a few more pounds- I will definitely hit it next time!" In this situation, rather then shame himself, Peter took the compliment, acknowledged his efforts, and recognized how he would be even better in his next attempt! It's simply so much more constructive.
My other least favorite word is JUST. Damn this word discredits everything awesome we do!!! Coach says "Jane.... Awesome effort today- you looked great!" Jane says "oh it was just body weight... It was just scaled ... it was just the barbell...it was just single unders"....boom... Jane instantly reduce the effort that she put into something and discredited herself, rather then acknowledging the greatness in the effort. And many of us do this all the of time in and out of the gym...It makes me so sad when I hear clients should'ing on themselves and just'ing their bad ass efforts... Let's all learn to compliment ourselves and take a compliment from one another!!!
Admittedly, as sad as it makes me when I have clients use these words on themselves, I'm equally as guilty... As a matter of fact, I realized I did it to myself this past weekend.... I decided to do 16.1 for fun. I can't do chest to bar pull ups yet, so I opted to do the scaled wod. Going into it I found myself utterly embarrassed that I was doing jumping pull ups. Could I have scaled up to kipping pull ups? Maybe 1-2 incredibly crappy ones at a time- for a very limited number-with a lot of rest in between... but what would I have gained? Nothing. A wod, against the clock, is not the appropriate time to practice a skill... Time set aside for skill development is appropriate time for honing in on our skills. And if I was standing around taking 30-45 seconds of rest between every 1-2 crappy flailing pull ups - I wouldn't have gotten the same type of workout. And, worst of all I would have been potentially setting myself up for future injury or development of poor mechanics and bad habits... And most of all - it really was just for fun...so I did what I knew was truly best for me - and I did it as it was scaled. I had an awesome workout - a great score - and it felt amazing.... But, what's the first thing I said when someone fist bump me & tells me great job? "Oh it was just the scaled wod"...HA!! I straight justed on myself!!! I completely deminished my own efforts... All this pep talk to client after client helping lift them up, and I couldn't walk the talk! This is so not ok! How about a simple "dang thanks!!! I worked hard and had fun!!" because that is what truly mattered...
It's only ego that allows these silly words to creep into our vocabulary and mind... I strongly hope that we all, myself included, will start being kinder to ourselves... And try to stop being so dang hard... it's ok to have goals, to strive for more and always work toward being better, but we need to celebrate the wins along the way, acknowledge where we are already kicking butt, and take opportunities to learn how to be better, without discrediting how hard we have worked to get exactly where we are today!