“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” Henry Ford
Everyone talks to themselves whether that be on a conscious or unconscious level, unfortunately the majority of people speak internally in a negative manner especially when related to exercise or their eating habits i.e. Vegging out! Some examples of this may include “I can’t get into that dress I used to I’ll never be able to lose that much weight” or “I’m useless at getting to the gym I haven’t got the will power to go” these sorts of phrases can have a negative and lasting effect on our fitness and nutrition goals.
There is a substantial wave of literature that has linked cognitive strategies, such as Self Talk and Self Affirmations to reducing stress and increasing motivation towards exercise and eating healthier.
Being positive and reducing the amount of negative self-talk is a great way to start restructuring the way you think about exercise and losing weight through dieting. Just imagine if you were waiting for your plane to take off to go holiday and the pilot said “I just don’t think I can make it to Crete, it’s so far I just know I’m going to crash”
YOU’RE GOING TO SPRINT OFF THE PLANE AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
Why would you go ahead with the journey? Aren’t you the master of your own destiny? You are the one in control of your life! Why convince yourself you’re not going to succeed? Now look, I know there are some things in life which seem tough and hard to complete but there’s no point in being your worst enemy!
Introducing more positive Self-Talk in regards to your exercise and eating habits will increase motivation and decrease stress. One point to get over is the corniness of the phrases you may use and at first you may laugh at saying “I am great” or “I am fit and I can’t wait to work out today” but trust me it’s OK to laugh at yourself. Like all cognitive skills Self-Talk and Self-Affirmations take practice and persistence, so keep at it until it becomes your norm.
Here are 3 key tips to mastering Self-Talk and Affirmations:
- Keep your affirmations in the present tense or like they’ve already happened i.e. “I have a really good diet” and “I do regular exercise”
- Be specific and productive with your affirmations, although being positive is a great start to reducing stress and improving self-esteem, what we want is improved health behaviours so incorporating environmental statements like “I’m coming up to the cake and biscuit isle I’m not going up their as I don’t buy that stuff”. Persist with these positive statements and the mind will follow affirmatively leading to achieving your results.
- Write your affirmations down and put them in places you will regularly see them i.e the fridge door, in your bedroom, on your sun-visor in your car or set them as your wallpaper on your phone/tablet/laptop.
- Persist, Persist, Persist
I look forward to seeing you in the gym soon.
Luke Greenslade (Bsc Exercise Specialist, MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology)
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks