Imagine this… you come home after a long, hard day at work and you think to yourself, “I’m too tired to go to the gym tonight. I’m just going to stay at home.” So you plop yourself on the couch in your comfy pants to unwind and have some munchies and then suddenly you think, “I did it again. I’m never going to get healthy!” Sound familiar?
As Americans, we are bosses at beating ourselves up even when we’re trying our hardest. We’re also great at forgetting to recognize what we’re doing well, even if it seems like a small win. Why is this such a big deal? Because negative thinking can sabotage your success when it comes to achieving your goals in life (health-related or not). As they say, what you think, you become.
Here’s the deal… negative thoughts zap all of our hopes of being able to achieve our goals and leave us feeling discouraged and defeated. What’s more, often times we’re not even aware of our negative self-talk and their effect on our own behaviors. Negative thoughts can become automatic and habitual and the only way to stop them is to come back at them with a positive thought. Sounds simple enough, yeah? Let’s try!
Earlier, I was really down on myself for not getting to the gym after a hard day’s work. In that moment, I could’ve combatted my negative thought with a deep breath and talked back with a positive thought such as, “It’s normal to be tired after a long day of work. I can try to exercise at a different time next time.” That feels much better!
Here are some other positive thoughts that can help you combat negative thinking…
- “My mistakes do not define me. I make mistakes and can learn from them.”
- “I always have a choice. This is my choice. I can make a different one next time.”
- “I have done difficult things before. I can do difficult things again.”
- “I can enjoy _____. One slip-up is not going to undo all my progress.”
- “It’s hard to change old habits, but I can try.”
- “It’s never too late for healthy habits.”
- “I am doing this for me.”
Remember friends, progress, not perfection, is the key to long-lasting healthy behaviors. And just like muscles get stronger when we work them, so can our ability to stop negative thinking form spiraling out of control when we come back at them with more positive thoughts.
LINDSEY JOE, RDN LDN –Lindsey is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Nashville, TN. She graduated from the Dietetic Internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and prior to this, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a meal planning master, Lifestyle Coach, and TN Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nashville Media spokesperson. Lindsey is passionate about helping people ignite the healthy that makes them happy and you can follow all her food-filled adventures at @themealplanningmethod!
*Photo by Christy Shaterian