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ARE YOU STRUGGLING TO REACH YOUR FITNESS GOALS?

Does a lack of staying power and low self-esteem stop you from achieving your fitness dreams? Without willpower, you won't succeed. Self-belief is necessary too. Without it, you're unlikely to stick to an exercise plan. Here's how to create a workable goal and prime your mind with positive self-talk.

Create a plan
Are your fitness goals hazy? It's time to figure out your goals and how to reach them. What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to be slim and healthy? Fit to run a marathon? Or lose a few pounds before a special event? Clarify your target, and you'll know what to do next. 

It's a marathon, not a sprint
A lack of immediate visual progress may reduce your motivation, and your goals may seem unreachable. Develop steps to take on the journey to your target. When you recognize you are advancing, you'll want to continue. Know what you wish to achieve and how to do so. Design a workable plan taking you from a beginner's stage to your aim, step-by-step.

Chart progress
Once you have a fitness plan, chart your progress. It's important to see yourself move forward to maintain motivation. Make a chart and pin it somewhere you spend a lot of time. Plot your progress with a colored marker, and it will be easy to recognize. Also, make appointments with yourself to keep fit. Write them in your fitness journal.

Establish cues
Leave fitness gear within sight, and put photos of role models where you'll see them. Prompts will encourage you to exercise. Also, ensure the healthy diet you eat to support your fitness goals is available. Having nutritious foods in front of you will help you eat sensibly. Tell people about your decision to exercise too. They will remind you about your plans and encourage healthy behaviors.

Fitness journal
Keep a fitness journal. Inside, write about the steps you take to reach your goal. Record what you eat, when you exercise, and what you avoid. For instance, if you pass a cake shop and resist the urge to go inside, write about this victory. Record your efforts, and you'll realize how far you've traveled on your journey and want to continue. Also, your willpower will grow when you note the times you resist opportunities to fail.

Self-talk
Fitness gurus suggest people take charge of their inner voice and use it to help them reach goals and gain motivation. Therefore, engage in positive self-talk to intensify your confidence and willpower when you exercise. Studies agree, proving self-talk about exercising influences whether you're a fitness dynamo or half-hearted. These tips explain how to start, but first, consider the meaning of positive self-talk.

What's positive self-talk?
On one level, you already understand how to speak to yourself positively. You just say motivating things, don't you? Well, not exactly. How you word what you say is significant. For instance, telling yourself you're getting better at weightlifting will only help you a little. Instead, say, "I can handle this," and you send a direct message to your system that you're capable now rather than later. Construct sentences in the present tense to help you succeed.

Of course, there's no point pushing too hard. Be sensible. If you couldn't lift a small weight yesterday, you won't manage more today without strain. Increase intensity and duration when training as your fitness increases, and support your efforts with positive self-talk for the best results. 

When to use self-talk
You might think the best moment to use motivating inner dialogue is when you exercise. This is a good idea, but it's not the only occasion when positive talk can help. Two of the most critical times to connect with your inner trainer are first thing in the morning and before you nod off at night.

When you wake up, your mind is a blank slate, but only for a short while. There's a window in which you can implant ideas before your mind chatters without direction. When you open your eyes, tell yourself you are confident, strong, and a fitness magnet. Add any other ideas you want your brain to gobble up while you can. It will influence your mood and help you stay on track.

Your mind is susceptible to suggestions before you sleep, too, so engage in positive self-talk when you hit the hay. Statements will seep into your unconscious to become part of your beliefs. You might even dream about working out and becoming a fitness dynamo. 

When you exercise, use positive self-talk before and during the moves you've found hard. In the past, you probably filled your mind with negative thoughts like "I can't do it" and "this is too tough." Create helpful inner talk to stop the negativity and boost willpower.

Another time when positive internal banter is useful is when you catch yourself saying or thinking deflating comments. If you put yourself down, correct negativity with uplifting statements, loud in your head. For instance, if you see a fitness buddy training like a trojan and compare yourself harshly, stop. Tell yourself you are capable rather than inferior.

How you talk to yourself about your attitude matters. When you talk yourself down, you suffer. Talk yourself up with motivating statements, and you will feel you can achieve your fitness goals. Your motivation will also increase if you create a fitness plan including steps to reach your objectives. Keep track of your progress and write about your success for high enthusiasm. Use cues to remind you to keep fit, too, and you will succeed. 

References: Hprc-online.org/mental-fitness/performance-psychology/optimize-performance-through-positive-self-talk. Oxfordre.com/psychology/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.001.0001/acrefore-9780190236557-e-157.