Positive Thoughts For The Day, Make The Pounds Go Away
Can positive thoughts for the day make the pounds go away? Certainly not on their own, but there is definitely reason to believe that approaching life with a positive mindset will help you take more steps in the right direction toward your ultimate fitness goals – whatever they may be. Examining your mindset, and setting yourself up to improve your thought patterns and self-talk habits may just be the missing link to your success!
Everything’s Better With Mayo On It
I was recently reading over an article on Mayo Clinic’s website about positive thinking and it’s impact on stress management and overall well-being. You’ve probably heard about the “Power of Positive Thinking,” but what does this really look like? Some might argue that those who are generally optimistic, and view the world through a lens of positive thought, are living with their head in the clouds, and perhaps even avoid dealing the realities of life. Doesn’t sound very healthy, does it?
In Mayo’s review of positive thought, however, they pointed out this is really not the case. Positive thinkers don’t necessarily avoid or ignore difficult situations, but instead approach them in a more positive, productive way. They expect good things to happen, because they take the necessary actions, with the right mindset, to make sure this is the case.
Positive thinking starts with self-talk. These are things you don’t necessarily say out loud, but you think as you go throughout your day. Think of the first thoughts you have about your day in the morning, what’s the first thing you think when you look in the mirror, if you’re stuck in traffic, when you get a compliment from somebody….and all of the other things that could possibly happen in a day. Do you “have” to do things, or do you “get” to do things? Do things happen to you, or do you make things happen? Understanding how you currently think is the first step to either enhancing your already positive thought process, or turning around your negative thought processes.
Mayo’s article mentioned a few different examples of negative thinking. They included:
Filtering – Filtering out any good things that happened in your day…only focusing on the negative. This is an easy one to be guilty of when you’re looking at fitness. Let’s say it’s weigh-in day, and you didn’t hit your weekly goal — OR WORSE…you gained .3 pounds. You did however, go to the gym 4 out of 5 days that week, eat clean the entire week (no cheats!), and get two compliments from people at work who noticed you’re looking good! If the only thing you can remember from that entire week is the .3 pounds you gained — you are probably a filterer.
Personalizing – When bad things happen, you assume they are because of you. Sticking with the weekly weigh-in example, you would probably assume the scale showed your weight gain because you always fail when it comes to fitness. You don’t know enough about exercise and nutrition, and it’s just not in the cards for you to achieve this kind of goal.
Catastrophizing- Big word, right? Because if you do this – everything is a BIG DEAL. You view everything as a catastrophe. If one little thing (like your weigh-in) doesn’t go the way you expect, you might as well not even leave the house for the rest of the day. It’s all doomed to be a disappointment anyway.
Polarizing- Things are black and white for you…there is no middle ground as far as success is concerned. You are either destined to be perfect, or a failure — there is simply no in-between. Obviously, in this weigh-in situation, you’re a complete and total FAILURE.
Any of those sound like you? Ugh….I was able to pick out a few different thought patterns where I do exactly those things — and I generally consider myself a pretty positive person. Polarizing is probably the one that I identify with most, specifically when it comes to nutrition. I have a tendency to let things spiral out of control if I eat something outside of my plan for the day. It’s like the flood gates open, and I see no point in eating anything of value after I have a cookie. So, it’s not so much that I see my overall self as a success or failure, but I struggle to balance the “good and evil” of nutrition, if you will. Comment below and let me know if you recognize any of these negative thought patterns in yourself!
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
In reality, we all have negative thought patterns at one time or another – probably several different times in one day. Now that we have a better idea of what those look like, we can start working on changing them, before they wreck our progress. The first step to changing your mindset and the way you self-talk, is awareness, which you now have – knowing what your thoughts are and what they look like. Secondly, you’ll want to choose an aspect of your life where your mindset needs the most change. Though you can apply this to any aspect of your life, let’s assume you want to work on your self-talk and mindset regarding your fitness journey.
When you’ve identified times and situations where you’re thinking about your target area, you’ll need to pause at those times, and do a little check-in with yourself.
- Identify the type of thoughts you’re experiencing – Are you feeling negative, positive, neutral? If you’re feeling fine and dandy after a weigh-in, or before a workout, then you’re on the right track! Determining that you’re feeling awesome, positive and motivated is just as valuable information as identifying a negative thought you need to change. This is a sign of progress! If you’re not feeling so hot, you can move on to the next step, and get the negativity outta there
- Re-frame negative thoughts – When you identify negative thoughts, you want to take a minute and talk through re-framing them. Let’s go back to the “bad” weigh-in example. In that situation, it’s easy to default to any of the negative thought patterns we touched on earlier. Instead of thinking, “Well, I tried, and it’s just not working. Losing weight just isn’t in the cards for me.” We want to seek out that silver lining. Something more along the lines of, “That didn’t go like I planned, so here’s an opportunity to be creative, seek out advice, and learn more about what works for me.”
Honestly, as I’m writing this, I’m laughing to myself about how cheesy it sounds. I don’t even like cheese, but when you’re working on re-framing your thought process, you almost need to start there. Those key words: learn, opportunity, etc. — they’re the big players in re-framing a tough situation. Having things not go as planned sucks, no doubt…but it happens all the time, in fitness, and in life. Turning “failures” into opportunities is how you grow and progress, but you first need to teach yourself to identify these situations as the beginning of an opportunity, and not the end of the only attempt you’ll ever get at being successful.
- Actively seek out positive energy – This is the BIG one…and the most fun! No matter how much of a naturally positive person you are, you don’t have to generate all of the energy by yourself. There are a ton of different ways to inject it into your day. Here are a few of my favorite:
1. People – Surround yourself with positive people. People who you can talk to about anything that has you feeling a little down. We can all use a reminder that we have support from those around us, and they might be able to re-frame a situation in a way you never even thought of. Adding a positive people to your life, and eliminating the negative ones will improve your quality of life immensely, and also help you be successful!
2. Podcasts – I had never listened to a podcast consistently until this summer, but I found Everyday Is Saturday, which is a motivational/entrepreneurial cast. I love Sam Crowley’s speaking style, because it’s casual, and genuine. Lots of talk about chasing your dreams, creating momentum, focusing on what’s important in life — those kinds of things. If you’re into that, I would recommend checking it out.There are also a number of fitness, life, business, sports, etc. podcasts out there that will probably hit the nail on the head for you. These are awesome to listen to in the car, at your desk, while you’re hitting some cardio — whatever! All you have to do is listen, and let somebody else fill your brain with copious amounts of positive energy
3. Music – This is self-explanatory. I think, for most people, we have a bunch of emotional connections and memories associated with music. I know when I hear certain songs, I can picture myself back in a situation where I heard, how I felt, what I was doing, etc. I have a couple go-to songs make me happy (Dog Days Are Over ), motivated (Heart of a Champion – old, I know), and anything else I need to be. You probably have some, too – don’t be afraid to bring those bad boys out when you’re need a lift.
4. Reminders – Visual reminders are a great way to keep your positive energy high, and they’re really easy to put in place! You can find all kinds of inspirational decorative things at nearly any department store, if you want to be fancy – or you can even take a saying that you really like, or has meaning to you, and write it down. Post-it notes are an awesome place to put thoughts your want to remember, or run through, several times every day – you can put them on your mirror, the fridge, in your car, on your desk — anywhere!
5. Tooting Your Own Horn – Take time every day to recognize yourself for all of the awesome things you did that day. They don’t have to be major things – we’re talking like…drinking 8 glasses of water, going for a walk instead of taking a nap, having fresh fruit for dessert instead of cake, get 7-8 hours of sleep – the little stuff that we so often forget to recognize ourselves for because we’re too busy worrying about what the scale’s going to say. You can throw in bigger victories, too, but you should be able to identify at least 10 small things you did each day to move you closer to your goal. You might just surprise yourself when you realize all of the things you’re doing right!
What Positive Thoughts For The Day Can Do For You
No matter what you do to keep positive thoughts rolling through your mind for the day, working to maintain this mindset is ultimately going to benefit you in the long run. While research is still ongoing as far as the direct effects of positive thinking on health, it is thought that those who are more positive live longer, show fewer signs of depression/anxiety, get sick less often and have stronger coping skills during stressful life situations. This makes a lot of sense, because those who approach life from a positive standpoint tend to be more active, and take better general care of themselves.
A positive mindset is your greatest weapon on your fitness journey. You won’t always be at your best, and there will be hard days, but approaching difficult situations with a variety of strategies to keep you in the game is going to make all the difference in the long run. Surround yourself with positive people, recognize yourself for all the great things you have accomplished, and continuously seek out opportunities to learn and progress. You CAN do this!
What strategies do you use to keep a positive mindset? Do you have favorite song/podcast/saying you use to motivate yourself? Comment below and let me know!
Thanks for being you — keep it real.
Founder: MCP Total Fitness
Mayo Clinic article: Click Here