The Power of Positive Self-Talk
You may think of talking to yourself as something that only your wacky old neighbor down the street does. But the fact is, we talk to ourselves all day long, albeit mostly on a subconscious level. And studies have found that talking to yourself in a positive way can be a powerful motivator. It can even improve your performance during a workout.
Self-talk is the voice inside your head that reflects your views about the world, other people and yourself. Negative self-talk, such as “I’ll never lose the weight,” or “this workout is too hard,” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the flip side, positive self-talk can give you the motivation to keep working towards your weight loss goals.
So how do you speak to yourself? Are you your own personal cheerleader, or a negative Nelly? Try monitoring your inner dialogue for a day. If your self-talk tends to skew towards the negative, you may need to adjust the way you speak to yourself.
So how do you do that?
1) Keep a log. Maintaining a log of your self-talk can help you to become aware of negative speak. Take note of situations throughout the day that trigger negative inner dialogue, what you say to yourself in these situations, how it made you feel, and whether or not it subsequently affected your performance.
2) Acknowledge the progress you’ve made. It’s easy to focus on the negative- parts of our body we’re unhappy with, or goals we have yet to achieve. But how often do you give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done? Remember that every positive lifestyle change, every workout, every nutritious meal is helping to build the foundation for a healthier you.
3) Learn how to overcome minor setbacks. We all experience them. But beating yourself up over missing a workout or overindulging at a party can dampen your motivation to get back on track. Instead, focus on what you can do better next time. For instance, rather than saying, “I’m so disappointed in myself for eating all those brownies,” try telling yourself, “next time I will limit myself to one small brownie so I can enjoy my favorite treat without undoing all my hard work.”
4) Practice makes perfect. To make a habit of speaking to yourself in a positive way, start every morning with a mental pep talk. Remember, those self-fulfilling prophecies work both ways. Telling yourself “I’m going to stick to my meal plan today,” or “today is the day I beat my record on the treadmill” will help you turn those intentions into reality.
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