Anybody that’s ridden with me will tell you I talk to myself a lot. Last week, I committed to a long mountain bike ride including two hill climbs and technical descents. During the ride my self-talk ranged from encouraging to questioning my speed and ability. Here’s the thing I noticed, when my self-talk was negative, I felt uncomfortable and unsure of myself and was more likely to get off the bike and walk. Once I turned on my, “Giddy up, Fry!” voice, I was much more successful and the ride was a whole lot more fun. Even when I didn’t make it through a tough section, I had a smile on my face. I had quieted my internal negative voice. I was allowing my best self to shine through and lead me through the ride.

Our self-talk, especially the negative stuff, is so automatic and natural; often, we don’t even realize the voice is taking control. You can turn this around. Here are a few tips I’ve started using to quiet my own loud negative inner voice.

Simply notice the voice. You don’t have to do anything with it, just notice it. Consider challenging yourself to noticing your inner voice 15 times per day. Just for fun, see what it is saying. When you start to notice the voice more easily, listen critically. What’s true and what isn’t? Take what is of value and throw away the rest.

Another step to lessen the inner voice’s influence on you is to make the voice less personal. Instead of the voice saying, “I am not fast enough,” change it up to say, “You are not fast enough.” This seems simple and it works. You will be creating some distance between you and the thoughts.

My favorite quieting technique is to change your language from, “I can’t” to “I don’t.” Instead of saying, “I can’t eat dessert,” change it to, “I don’t eat dessert.” This allows you to come from a place of strength rather than lack.

I hope you’ll try these tips and let me know what you learn about yourself.

To finish off where this blog started, we rode 30 miles and climbed 3,200 feet. It was an awesome day.

Wishing you all awesomeness as you begin to quiet your negative inner voice.