You are what you eat, but also, what you think about. A thought instantly affects your attitude, which impacts your motivation and actions. Everybody knows a positive attitude attracts positive people. A negative attitude can easily be described by the old saying, “misery loves company”. If you’re complaining constantly, positive people will avoid you and other whiners will hang around you to commiserate.
Your thoughts impact the people who choose spend time with you, but also your motivation for engaging in beneficial activities. The way we talk to ourselves in our private thoughts can either motivate us to create growth in our lives or discourage us from adopting healthy habits. The simplest example of this is saying “I can do it” in your head. If you believe you can do something, you probably can. If you don’t believe you can do it, then you probably can’t, because you’re not likely to even try.
For example, if you think you’re not strong enough to lift weights, then you’ll have a poor attitude about it and be unlikely to weight-train in the first place. This is very self-defeating if you have goals to get stronger. Explore any beliefs like this that hold you back from achieving your goals. Do you talk to yourself in a condescending way?
Nobody means to talk negatively to themselves, but it happens. It might stem from childhood or from a comment someone once made to you. “You can’t do that”. It could also be a lack of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that you are capable of doing something. To enhance your self-efficacy, you can set up a small task for yourself that’s easy to achieve to prove to yourself that you can do it. Can you lift a bottle of water? How about a stack of newspapers? Great, you can probably lift weights.
With more complex tasks, such as running a marathon, start small. Run a 1/2 mile. Then run a mile. This is not only more encouraging mentally, but safer physically.
Sometimes, the smallest word, like “should” can create a sense of discouragement within, as subtle as it is. The way we talk to ourselves might seem positive when it’s actually the opposite. Say these two phrases aloud:
- I should go to the gym.
- I want to go to the gym.
Now close your eyes and say each phrase. Pause after you say it and see how it feels in your body. Notice your tone of voice also.
While they both tell you to do something that is beneficial for you, they are very different. “Should” carries a negative vibration and causes feelings of guilt, which unconsciously brings your energy and enthusiasm levels down. It’s subtle but true. “Want” has a higher vibration and feels more like a desire. Think of how a child’s eyes light up when they tell you something they want. “Want” causes a different reaction in your body and attitude.
Unless it’s a lie. Not everyone “wants” to go to the gym, but many people want something bigger than that. People want to lose weight so they can feel more attractive. People want to get stronger so they can play certain sports. These deeper reasons also want.
Say this aloud: “I want to go to the gym so I can get stronger and hike for 10 miles with my friends.”
Now there is, even more, meaning behind the want. Find meaning within your intentions and shift your thoughts to align with what you want for better success. Pay attention to your thoughts this week and see what you can catch yourself thinking. Then, true transformation begin.