Have you ever thought “I can’t handle this”, “I have failed”, “It’s too hard”, or “I don’t have time to exercise”? Did you stop and examine your thought? When you step back and look at these defeatist comments, you will find that they are all untrue. Often we make things more difficult than they need to be by the thoughts and beliefs we hold onto. Maybe it is time to listen to the way you are talking to yourself.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you start to have negative thoughts. These can also work on any area of your life where your thoughts are undermining your progress.
- Am I over generalizing the situation?
Sure, I may have eaten a huge dinner that was full of high fat foods, but I haven’t failed. I stuck to my plan the rest of the day, and tomorrow is a new start. By having an all or nothing attitude, you actually give away your control. You feel awful, and you stop trying to do something about it. It is much more productive to give yourself a break for a mistake, and take back the reigns of control.
- Is there a positive way to view the situation?
It seems unfair that I worked so hard to lose weight without any results to show for it. But, I did find out that I can follow through on my plan. Maybe I will have to try harder than some other people, but I will be a stronger person for it. Dwelling on the negative does nothing to move you in a positive direction.
- How would I encourage my friend if they had this problem?
If my friend was upset that she had gained 5 pounds, I would not tell her that she can’t lose weight so why even try. I would give her my support and let her know I believed in her. We are so much harder on ourselves than we would ever think of being to someone else.
- Is this thought going to help me?
Saying I don’t have time to exercise is not going to get me where I want to be. I need to look at where I can fit in even a short work out, and build from there.
Or, maybe you are just having a generally unhelpful thought. Saying, “this isn’t going to work” is not helpful. Banish that thought and move on!
- And lastly, are my expectations realistic?
It is possible that you have set yourself up for failure by making your goal unreasonable. Maybe you will get to the point where you can take an hour long walk after work, but if that doesn’t fit into your life right now, start with 20 minutes. Set yourself up for success! With each little success, you are closer to where you want to be, and you will build momentum to begin taking more adventurous steps.
Here is a tip. Write down these questions, and put them somewhere to remind yourself over the next week or so to question the thoughts that pop in your head. If you have a good question to uncover an irrational thought, leave it in the comments. Thanks!