The Positive Declaration
I love this video! This kid is positive, pumped, excited, and confident to start her day!Â Imagine if you could go into training or competition like this. How much more enjoyable and positive would your experience be?
A powerful tool used in sports psychology is the Positive Declaration.Â It is more commonly known as the positive affirmation, which unfortunately, people cannot help but think of pathetic 12-stepper Stuart Smalley when they hear it.Â Â
In his book The Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker contrasts the softer “affirmation” with the more powerful and assertive “declaration.”Â By definitions, I definitely agree, and like the term “Positive Declaration” too, especially for athletes.
Affirmation: the assertion that something exists or is true; confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc. Declaration: a positive, explicit, or formal statement; proclamation; something that is announced, avowed, or proclaimed
What is a Positive Declaration? Why does having a Positive Declaration help athletes?Â As theÂ defined aboveÂ a Positive Declaration is a statement about yourself that you know to be true, and proclaiming it out loud or to yourself puts you in a positive mindset.Â Â I will give you two examples from recent athletes I have worked with.
Sally, a racer, was having trouble with anxiety before competition. The drive to the event site, the wait for her run, and other “free” time only added to her anxiety.Â Her Positive Declaration, “When I am relaxed, I perform at my best.”Â At her next event, she used this declaration to keep the nerves away.Â She ended up winning her last heat of the day!
Joe, a soccer player, was going through a rough patch in his personal life (due to family issues that were not his fault), that was affecting his performance on the field. His Positive Declaration was “Nothing is going to stop me from achieving my goals.”Â He printed out this statement and put it on his dresser so that it was one of the first things he saw each day. The idea was to move past his family issues so he would be able to focus on his training and compete normally.Â Two weeks later, he revealed that it had an unintended effect – he started scoring goals!Â Normally a set-up type player and a little conservative, he found himself believing that nothing was going to stop him from achieving his goals of playing at the next level.
What do you want to achieve today? What do you want to accomplish?Â What do you know to be true about yourself that is important for sports? Write it down and declare it to yourself daily.
About the Author: Brian Baxter received an M.A. in Sports Psychology. He teaches individuals how to identify and build awareness of their difficulties, their areas of improvement and their strengths and implements strategies to make the process second nature.