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Positive Reinforcement Will Help You Conquer Your Challenges

I think I can, I think I can – believe it or not, this simple little mantra is a powerful motivational technique.


Dieting is hard. Keeping up the motivation to get out there and exercise is hard. Unfortunately, most of us tend to beat ourselves up for “falling off the wagon.” This is very counter-productive, and it turns out that a little positive self-talk is all you need to get over that hurdle.

In a recent study, Professor Andrew Lane and colleagues tested motivational techniques with over 44,000 people playing an online game. They utilized several different methods, including self-talk, imagery, and if-then planning.

Positive self talk, such as telling yourself “I can do better,” was found to be the most beneficial in affecting the outcome of the game. Imagery was also liked to a positive result – picturing yourself winning, for example.

While this particular study was not focused on dieting or weight loss, the techniques can well be used in being successful in this area.

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In a past article, US News and World Report noted that negative self-talk can drive you to overeat as a way to calm yourself. Unfortunately, though, that creates a cycle where you promote stress. After all, negative thoughts contribute to anxiety and depression which then affect your metabolic state.

So give yourself a break! We are all human and none of us is perfect. We should be proud of our successes and we should learn from our short-comings instead of dwelling on them. It won’t happen overnight, but long-term you should learn to say “I can do this.”

Mind-Body-Green offers these examples of positive self-talk, that are geared specifically for weight loss:
1. I believe in my ability to truly love myself for who I am.
2. I accept my body shape and acknowledge the beauty it holds.
3. I am the creator of my future and driver of my mind.
4. I let go of unhelpful patterns of behavior around food.
5. I allow myself to make choices and decisions for my higher good.
6. I bring the qualities of fulfilment, happiness and contentment into my life as I am now.
7. I let go of any guilt I hold around food choices.
8. I accept my body for the shape I have been blessed with.
9. I let go of relationships that are no longer for my higher good.
10. I believe in myself and acknowledge my greatness.
11. I allow myself to feel good being me.
12. I accept myself for who I am.

Journal Reference:
Andrew M. Lane et al.Brief Online Training Enhances Competitive Performance: Findings of the BBC Lab UK Psychological Skills Intervention Study.Frontiers in Psychology, 2016; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00413

Additional Reference:
US News and World Report - How Negative Self-Talk Is Killing Your Health and Weight-Loss Goals
Mind Body Green - Affirmations That Will Help You Lose Weight

Photo Credit: By Emanuele Spies from São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil - ;funny!, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons