Are you a believer??
Well, are you? Don’t worry, this blog post isn’t about religion and it definitely isn’t about that song by the Monkees from 1966. This is about your belief in yourself and your abilities. This belief or lack thereof is called self-efficacy.
This post won’t delve too deeply into the roots of the self-efficacy theory, but long story short, the theory was defined by a psychologist named Albert Bandura several decades ago, and it has to do with how much confidence is possessed regarding one’s ability to be successful. Self-efficacy plays a HUGE role in goal accomplishment. An individual with a high level of self-efficacy holds the belief that while he or she may not be where they want to be, presently, there is a path to achieve whatever he or she is striving toward. If you find yourself doubting your ability to complete a task or accomplish a goal in the gym, chances are self-efficacy is low. The good news is, there are ways to boost it.
Three things to consider are mindset, experience, and relationships. “How?”, you ask. The first thing to consider when attempting to increase self-efficacy is mindset. When thinking about working out, beginning to eat healthier, or goals, does it seem daunting and is there a sinking feeling about the likelihood of being able to follow through as planned? Instead, try thinking about goals in small steps, reinforcing that it is not only possible to achieve those goals, but characteristic of who you are. Take one day at a time, and remind yourself that the goal you are after is something you CAN do (as long as your goal is S.M.A.R.T, as we discussed in the last blog post). Like any other skill that is strengthened in the gym, positivity must be reinforced continuously to change previous thought patterns. Noting small, seemingly insignificant improvements on a daily basis is a good place to begin.
Experience is another area that can help increase self-efficacy. Recall your first day of CrossFit; you may have walked in and been intimidated by the weights, lack of machines, and the buzz of intensity that was nearly palpable in the gym. But you kept showing up. Showing up consistently is indicative that you CAN be dedicated to a goal. Having proven capable of consistency in attending class, what else can you decide to “show up” for? Maybe it’s your diet, maybe it’s a skill that you’ve wanted to acquire for months or even years but haven’t made it a priority. Realizing that consistency has been displayed in one area of your life, fitness related or otherwise, provides evidence the same consistency is possible concerning diet and exercise habits.
The final component of self-efficacy is relationships. One of the most important aspects of CrossFit, in particular, is the community. This community is not only great for accountability, but also for increasing self-efficacy. Think about a boxmate who is in the same ballpark as you, ability-wise. Maybe you snatch roughly the same weight, maybe you both have handstand pushups but not muscle ups, maybe you both are great at rowing. When you see that person acquire a new skill or hit a PR, you often think, “If they can do it, so can I!”. In this way, training partners and community can be integral in increasing self-efficacy. Witnessing the accomplishments of someone who is “similar” to yourself can help with the belief that success can be yours, as well. Within a community, there are copious opportunities to see others’ successes, and in turn, be encouraged about your own.
Having the confidence to achieve a goal may sometimes be even more difficult than the physical goal itself. However, with the correct mindset and belief that there is, in fact, a way to achieve it, you may find yourself to be more of a rockstar than you ever imagined.