CATs that don’t make me wheeze

wet-catAs part of my work I did some research to try to account for why some people at conferences were so out of phase with their colleagues.  Where large numbers reported that they had enjoyed, learned something and were motivated to try something different, there was always a few who were miserable.

We found that 3% of our UK audiences were ‘naturally dissatisfied’.  Regardless of what we did there would always be a small group who had a negative view of their world. Admittedly we all have the ability to throw a few ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) into our pants occasionally, but this group only seem happy when they load shovel fulls into their knickers. Maybe you’ve met someone like this.

Luckily, we Triathletes are a positive, up for a challenge group of people. Even so our inner critic can sometimes sneak a peak in our ear and whisper: ‘This is going to go horribly wrong.’ At this time we need CATs.  Capability Affirming Thoughts.

Psychologist Michael Mahoney, then at Pennsylvania State University, studied a group of gymnasts hoping to qualify for the US Olympic team. The successful athletes constantly encouraged themselves by engaging in positive self-talk. Tell yourself that you can do it and you go a long way towards proving yourself right.

CATs, also referred to as positive affirmations or helpful self-talk, are like a coach motivating you to keep going, to be the best you can.

Examples include:

• "I'm determined to get this done."

• "Come on, you can do it!"

• "Keep smiling."

• "I am a beautiful runner."

• "I will feel like a winner when I finish"

• "Going well."

• "I can swim!"

Memorise your CATs or jot them on a piece of paper to keep at hand. Repeat them to yourself whenever you need encouragement. If you are using the last example you might want to consider swimming lessons before tackling a triathlon.  CATs cannot be used as a buoyancy aid. back to Qi Tri

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