Have you ever felt nervous about starting a new fitness routine or meal plan? How about going to a personal trainer? Have you ever said to yourself, “there’s no way I can do that!” or “I’ll never stick with it so why even bother?”
You’re not alone! Feelings of uncertainty and low self-confidence are common when beginning anything new, but especially when it comes to exercise and changing your eating habits.
Establishing a new fitness routine and a new way of eating can be challenging but that doesn’t make it impossible to do! Here are three proven methods you can try TODAY to help you build confidence on your new health and fitness journey:
Positive Self-Talk: First, it’s important to become AWARE when your thoughts turn negative. When thoughts such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to fail” or “I’ll never reach my goals” arise, notice them. Call attention to them in your head. Then, purposefully rephrase them in a positive light and say it OUT LOUD, two to three times: “I CAN do this!” “I will keep trying!” “I will get stronger!” “I can and I will reach my goals!” Although it may seem cheesy, studies have shown positive self-talk can have a HUGE impact on success with both exercise and eating healthy. Likewise, negative self-talk can have a huge impact on failure. Have you heard of a self fulfilling prophecy? Studies also show if you expect to fail, you often will. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, then you can’t. So let’s focus on making those self-fulfilling prophecies positive! You CAN succeed! I believe in you and you should too!
Start Small: For most people, trying to change too many things at once can be discouraging and lead to quitting. It can also be unsafe. Someone who has not exercised in five years should not attempt to begin a super high intensity, 7 days a week, exercise program right off the bat. They could get hurt or feel unsuccessful if they couldn’t complete it. Instead, set realistic, but still challenging, small goals and make incremental changes, like the steps on a ladder. For someone who is at a beginner fitness level, starting a lower intensity or easily modified intensity exercise program for 3 days a week would be a good plan. Similarly, changing one’s calorie intake from 2500 calories per day to 2000 calories per day would be a good start, rather than attempting to jump from 2500 to 1500. Starting small and achieving successes as you go will help you feel more confident and enable you to stick with your new lifestyle longer!
Positive Self-Monitoring: Next time you workout, bring a piece of paper and a pen. As you go, or at the end, write down everything that went WELL during the workout. Don’t focus on what didn’t go well. Only focus on the positive. Write down the moves you were able to accomplish. Write down how you felt when you achieved them. Think about the way you feel about completing the workout. You may be tired afterwards and even feel sore, but those are NOT the feelings I mean. Are you proud that you did the workout? Do you feel accomplished? Focus on the GOOD feelings and write them down. Purposely focusing on the positive aspects of your workout will help you feel good about it. It will focus your mind and thoughts on your successes which, in turn, will increase your confidence. Keep this paper and read it again before your next workout. Then repeat the process with the new workout. Over time, you will retrain your mind to see the good you’re doing and that will feel AMAZING!!