Whether it’s in sports, school, work, body image, or life, it becomes very easy for people to focus on what they are doing wrong and all of the negativity. People want to succeed at what they’re doing and feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. However, it can be challenging, when one is constantly telling themselves, “This is terrible,”, “I’ll never be good enough,” or “I don’t think I can do this,”. Thinking positive is a way to turn those thoughts into something positive that will help you achieve your goals and feel better about yourself and whatever you do.
In sports, all athletes struggle with the pressure of wanting to win, not let down their coach, teammates, and parents, and perform with perfection. They also struggle with the ups and downs in their performance and when they are going through a rough period, they tend to think negatively which will only make things worse. Two words that are heard often are “can’t” and “don’t”. There are a lot of coaches out there who will tell their athletes, “Don’t hit the ball out,” or “Don’t lose,” and that causes the athletes to think about what they should not do versus what they should do. Then when athletes have talked themselves into doing the wrong thing, they start to believe that they can’t shoot a free throw, or land their back flip, or hit a float serve. Everything can go downhill if this negativity isn’t stopped in its tracks.
For example, in tennis, I can be very hard on myself. Now that I’ve been cleared to start running and playing a little bit of tennis again, my dad and I have been playing quite a bit so that I can get back into shape for the high school season. I haven’t played in about six months and getting back on the court for the first time was great, but there was frustration that came with it too. My groundstrokes were definitely not what I remembered them being and I struggled to get the ball in the actual court. My dad would ask me how my groundstrokes felt and I told him, “I’m not getting the ball in the court” and “I can’t seem to hit forehands”. After I told him that my dad told to focus on what I can do right for the next shot. I’m much more successful when I focus on the positive and what I can do to improve versus how bad my last backhand was.
The idea of thinking positive has been something I’ve been working on for a long time in tennis and life in general but it can be hard. It’s very easy to slip into a negative mindset but when you focus on what you can do to get better, you’re probably going to improve and feel better about yourself.
These same ideas can be applied to how you see yourself as a person and your goals in life. Maybe you think that you aren’t pretty or you don’t fit in. Those same two thoughts could be turned into something positive. Even in something “ugly” or negative, you could find something “beautiful” and positive to think about. And with the whole “fitting in” thing, isn’t it better to be yourself and discover who you are than fake it and be in unhealthy relationships? If you think that you aren’t good enough to try out for something, too shy to ask a teacher about something in class, or you’ll never be able to go on that trip to Japan that you’ve been dreaming about forever, you’re probably right, if you aren’t doing anything about it but complaining and thinking negative thoughts. If you think positive, you might not reach your goals when you hope you will but you’ll get there eventually. And if you don’t give going for your goals a try, how will you know you could have accomplished them anyways?
So with those same thoughts up above, you could turn those into “I’m going to make the best of this situation” “I’ll work towards my goals and achieve them”, and “I can do this”. Turning your negative thoughts into something positive, will help you out in the long run. Set goals for yourself, stick to those goals, and think positive. The road to your goals might be rough, but in the end, all of your hard work will have been worth it. You can do this!