“The very little engine looked up and saw the tears in the dolls’ eyes. And she thought of the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain who would not have any toys or good food unless she helped. Then she said, ‘I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.'” The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Some days, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, how many miles you’ve run in training or how many yoga classes you’ve been to. Some days a workout, a race or a goal is completed not because of your physical training but because you believe in yourself. As Vince Lombardi put it, “Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. Sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
During my time in graduate school I studied the idea of self-confidence. I found that while it is simple enough to be captured in a 37-page children’s book (that includes illustrations), it is also powerful enough to have filled thousands of pages of scientific journals.
Below are 3 tips on how you can capture the power of believing in yourself.
1. Positive Self-Talk
You know that point in a workout or race when you feel like you just can’t run any further? Start telling yourself that you can do it. This not only helps block that negative little voice that tells you to quit, but if you repeat it enough times chances are you’ll start believe it. Just like the little engine that could, this will help you run to the beat of, “I think I can, I think I can.”
2. Remind Yourself of Why You Can Achieve Your Goal
When self-doubt begins to sneak in start reminding yourself of all the reasons why you can achieve your goal. For example, if you’re running the Boston Marathon for the first time and nervous about running heartbreak hill, remind yourself that you qualified for this, you’ve run “x” many miles in preparation and you are ready!
3. Apply it to More Than Running
Self-confidence is powerful, so don’t just apply it running! Believe that you can achieve your goals and you will be more likely to actually achieve them. So, the next time you are faced with a mountain to climb take a note from the little engine and tell yourself, “I think I can. I think I can.”