There are many people out there who influence the decisions we make. Many of us have role models in our lives with qualities we aspire to have. But probably the most influential people in our lives are ourselves. There are very few people that we trust more than ourselves (if any at all). Over the years, research continues to teach us more and more about the great capacity of our mind. The things we believe dictate decisions we make and behaviors we have. Our strongest beliefs sculpt our way of life (religion, health, family, etc…). For example, if you believe that the Chicago Cubs are the best team in the world, than you are probably a die-hard fan who will continue to follow them no matter how many times they lose. If you really sit down and think about it, your mind is your world, and the relationship you develop with your mind can change your relationship with the world.
How does one evaluate the relationship they have with themselves? One way to do that is to listen to how you talk to yourself (Self-Talk). Are you typically a “glass half full” or “glass half-empty” kind of person? In fact, let’s take that a step further. When it comes to your fitness, are you a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of person? What sort of things do you say to yourself?
- I’ve never done it before
- It’s too complicated
- I’m too lazy to get this done
- There’s no way it will work
- It’s too radical a change
- No one bothers to communicate with me
- I’m not going to get any better at this
- It’s an opportunity to learn something new
- I’ll tackle it from a different angle
- I did not fit it in my schedule but could re-examine my priorities
- I can try to make it work
- Let’s take a chance
- I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication
- I’ll give it another go
One very easy way to make your relationship with yourself a healthier one is to turn your “negative self-talk” into “positive self-talk”. There have been many studies done showing the impact of speaking positively to oneself. One study in particular was done on a rugby team in the Journal of Sports Sciences that demonstrates the power of changing negative self-talk into positive self-talk. In this study, half of the team was asked to consciously change their “self-talk” in a more positive way and the other half of the team was asked to change nothing. It was found that the half of the team that consciously spoke to themselves positively improved their vertical jump performance significantly more than the half that did not. It’s sort of like the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”. If you tell yourself something enough times, eventually you will believe it, and eventually you will become it. If you are someone who believes that they will never enjoy fitness, never find something that is sustainable for themselves, and you continue to believe that, then you are probably correct. You never will… If this describes you, I challenge you to regularly find ways to put a positive spin on your outlook on exercise and make that a new healthy habit!