Everyone has a set of ideas (positive, negative, neutral) that they believe to be true about themselves. Here are some that I believe about myself.
- I have short, brown hair.
- I’m an excellent teacher.
- I’m a mediocre musician.
- I love public speaking and am good at it. (Looking for a speaker? Hit me up!)
- I hate peppers and coconut.
- I love a good salad.
- I have too many things on my plate right now.
- I enjoy writing.
- I sometimes feel competent writing.
- I get cold easily.
- Athletically, I am slow. I will probably not ever win a race.
- I’m deeply loyal.
- I have trouble remembering people’s names.
- I created the cutest boy on the planet.
And so on. You get the idea.
Things that we believe to be true steer us over the course of a day. However, in the world of healthy living, much of our self-talk does a lot of damage.
- I have no self-control.
- This is just how I am.
- I love [chocolate, ice cream, cake, chips, whatever].
- It’s genetic.
- I could never [enjoy exercising, do a race, give up junk food, reach my high school weight, whatever].
Do you see how these might be problematic?
“I have no self-control” lets you off the hook for poor choices.
“This is just how I am” and “It’s genetic” mean that it’s impossible for you to change which also lets you off the hook (and is largely not true!).
“I love [junk]” makes it much more difficult for you to avoid those foods/drinks, even occasionally and makes you more likely to feel deprived when you do pass it by. (This was part of my identity crisis with regards to ice cream.)
“I could never” shuts down big opportunities as well as all of the little opportunities that come along with the big ones. (People I’ve met, things I’ve learned as a result of running a health coaching business for a while would not have happened if I had been closed to the possibility of trying it, even if the business didn’t work out in the end.)
What does your self talk sound like? Are you reinforcing what you actually want reinforced? If the answer is no, pick one and change it! Yes, you will absolutely catch yourself chattering the old chatter sometimes—it’s habit! Just talk positively as often as you can remember, stick with it, and see how it slowly changes you.