Negative self-talk or negative thinking can impact your progress to making positive, healthier lifestyle changes and achieving your physical activity and nutrition goals. Often, we are our own worst critics and are harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Just think how lonely we’d be if we talked to family and friends the way we talk to ourselves.
So how do we flip the script in our minds to harness positive self-talk and positive thinking as a tool for achieving our health and wellness goals? The short answer is practice, practice, practice. Many people work for years and years and enlist the help of therapists or counselors to combat negative self-talk.
Here are a few tips:
Catch yourself thinking those negative thoughts.
The first step is to recognize it happening. Stop those negative thoughts in their tracks and flip them to a positive thought.
Change your excuses to opportunities
“I can’t run outside because it’s raining” becomes “I will run outside in the rain because it will make me a stronger runner on nice days.”
Change obligations or “shoulds” to choices
“I have to eat salad” or “I shouldn’t eat ice cream” become “I get to nourish my body with these fresh veggies” and “I choose to eat fruit instead of ice cream right now because it will get me closer to my healthy living goals.”
Leave thoughts of comparison in the dust…
and realize that everyone is starting from different places and working on different things. We are all working on something in our healthy living journeys.
Don’t give up!
Keep your health and wellness goals in mind and remember that lifestyle changes happen little by little and step-by-step.
Keep things in perspective…
and realize that one missed workout or one treat meal won’t completely derail your hard work and is not the be-all, end-all of positive, healthy lifestyle changes. What you do most days will have a bigger impact than what you do once in a while.
Adopt your own positive motto,
mantra or philosophy to get you through the tougher moments. “It’s okay,” or “I can do hard things.” Choose positive thoughts and love yourself into change for long-term health and wellness.
Alison Bradow is the chronic disease prevention coordinator at the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing. Contact her at (517) 827-9656 or at ymcaoflansing.org.