When it comes to exercise, sometimes the desire is not enough. You may wake up in the morning knowing that the benefits of working out will improve both your body and your mood, but the lack of motivation prevents you from actually getting out of your warm bed. That’s where positive self talk comes in.
Self-talk is extremely powerful and will eventually determine how you see yourself. For example, if you tell yourself every day that exercising is too hard, your mind will eventually come to believe it, and you will lose all hope of making these changes in your life. Both negative and positive self-talk can be self-fulfilling, so it is important to stay positive mentally in order to reach your workout goals. Read on for steps to improving your self-talk, along with a few positive words to help set the stage!
4 Steps for Positive Self-Talk
1. Get started.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” —Mark Twain
“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” —Anon
Most times, the hardest part of exercising is just motivating yourself to get started. For many of us, this lack of motivation is caused by negative self-talk, such as the belief that you have no willpower to exercise or that you’re so out of shape that you shouldn’t even start. Instead of thinking this way, tell yourself that exercising is more than just willpower—it is planning, thinking positively and identifying what exactly you need to change in order to achieve your goal. Understand that wishful thinking by itself will not get you anywhere physically. It is time to become proactive.
2. Find the time.
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” —Edward Stanley
“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces and which most men throw away.” —Charles Caleb Colton
It is true that we only have 24 hours per day, but this should never be an excuse for not exercising. Think of all the time you may waste each day on unproductive activities, such as watching TV or surfing the internet. Understand that even a half hour of exercising instead will lead to significant improvements in your health and well-being. Time management is all about prioritizing, and it is crucial that staying both physically and mentally healthy through exercise be one of the top priorities on your list.
3. Find a physical activity that you enjoy.
“Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make use precious to our friends.” —Thomas Jefferson
“An hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes. An hour on a treadmill feels like a weekend in traffic school.” —David Walters
Physical activity shouldn’t seem like a chore or torture. If you constantly hear yourself talking about how much you hate exercising, try engaging in a different type of physical activity. While some people may enjoy running for long periods of time, other people may enjoy playing a sport, such as tennis or volleyball. It is important for you to find activities that you are comfortable with and enjoy doing because this will ensure that you stick with it for longer. If you are tired of doing the same old routine over and over again, switch it up! You are not confined by rules governing how you must exercise—this is entirely up to you. If you are trying to both get rid of fat and gain muscle, consider alternating cardio exercises with strength-training exercises.
4. Push yourself.
“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.” —Arthur Ashe
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” —Vince Lombardi
Your body right now is the result of everything you have done and all the effort you have put into maintaining it. If this current state is not satisfactory for you, you are the only one who can make those changes. Get rid of your inner critic and focus instead on all the positive changes you have made. For example, instead of thinking about how you missed a day of exercise, think instead about how you exercised three times this week.
Negative self-talk will cause feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy, feelings that will eventually cause you to stop pushing yourself. Change this inner voice to someone more encouraging and positive in order to stay motivated and energetic about reaching greater heights.