Every minute, someone makes a decision to incorporate a fitness program into their life. And every minute, someone falls off of that same fitness program and loses all motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This happens because of negative self-talk. Here you’ll learn why negative self-talk can keep you from getting the results you want in your fitness programs.
Negative self-talk is a destructive habit that forms an essential defense mechanism that we often develop to protect ourselves. Many people end up talking themselves out of actions that may be scary or uncomfortable. “I can’t do this” is really just a way of saying, “I don’t want to deal with the experience of doing this.” We are all strongly influenced by our feelings, which often determine how we respond to certain challenges and what actions we ultimately take. If the feelings are uncomfortable, uncertainty, fear, and negative self-talk arise; then, we often decide not to take any action at all.
Many people assume that if a past experience produced a certain result, nothing can be done to change that experience in order to produce a different result. For example, “I’ve tried every fitness program and diet there is. I know what I should do; I just can’t do it.”
Please understand that you can make the choice not to repeat old patterns of eating poorly, staying inactive and thinking negatively. You have the ability to choose the emotions you have. If you don’t like feeling guilty, frustrated, or doubtful, you can choose not to feel that way. You, and no one else, must decide what is best for you. To become successful at making healthy choices, you must avoid negative self-talk, and start practicing positive thinking.
Positive or negative self-talk can play a big part in your decisions. Be on the “look-out” for negative self-talk and notice how it influences your choices. Notice how it can negatively affect your efforts to change. For example, perhaps you’ve just returned from a week’s vacation where you took a break from exercise and tedious calorie counting. You tell yourself, “I feel so fat and out of shape; I’m back where I started.” You feel guilty and frustrated. “I don’t have enough will-power to start all over again. Maybe I’m just meant to be overweight and out of shape.” Feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, you give up.
First, reflect on the feelings you had before you decided to give up. Your negative self-talk may overshadow the positive, healthy habits you learned before your vacation. Ask yourself if these feelings are reasonable. Are you really back to ground zero? Of course you’re not. You accepted change and developed a new way of living; these skills will be yours forever. The vacation might even have done you some good; everyone needs a break sometime. It’s time now to tell yourself: “It felt good eating whatever I wanted and taking a break from exercising; I had a great time. But now I’m going to focus on the reduced-calorie strategy, exercise program, and active lifestyle I enjoyed before my vacation. There is no reason to beat myself up; I’ll just take it one day at a time.” Rethink your previous decision and take action that will move you forward, towards more positive change.