Tell Debbie Downer to Take a Hike!

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Getting motivated to get moving can sometimes feel like more effort than the actual moving part. There’s that sleepy voice that implores you to hit the snooze button one more time, pleeaase or the one that promises you’ll definitely, absolutely work out… tomorrow. But some of these voices are tougher to ignore. The ones that say, it’s too hard or why bother? These are the voices that can stop you in your tracks and have you diving head first into a bottomless bowl of double-chocolate gelato.

But you CAN overcome self-defeating, negative thoughts with a few simple tricks and find more fun throughout your day.

  1. Recognize Negative Thoughts to Neutralize Them. It’s not enough to just ignore negative thinking. When your minds starts slipping into negative thoughts, physically stop and recognize the message. Most negative thoughts have a pattern that plays on repeat: This is sooooo hard… or You’re not an athlete, why are you even trying? To break negative thought patterns you need to recognize, acknowledge and answer them. Tell yourself, Yes this is hard, but you’re doing it! or Nope, I’m not an athlete. No one is counting on me to bring home the gold. This is my body. I deserve to be healthy and have fun! It might feel weird at first. Do it anyway. Soon, those loud negative messages will fade away and you’ll find yourself having more fun.
  1. Watch Your Words. No matter what you’re doing to move more, eventually someone will say, Holy bleep you look fabulous! Be conscious of your response; it’s common for women to deflect compliments or downplay our accomplishments. Telling people Oh but I run slower than a three-toed sloth or I have the coordination of a moose on skates might be funny at first, but self-deprecating quips quickly become part of your mental script. Just say Thanks! or Yes! I’ve been hula-hooping twice a week! Resist the urge to demur, deflect or downplay your effort. In fact, go ahead and brag about yourself!
  1. Set small milestones and goals and celebrate each one. Did you move for 30 minutes 5 times this week? Give yourself a gold star or that rockin’ gold bangle. Focus on what you did accomplish rather than what you didn’t, then do more of the stuff that gives you reasons to celebrate.
  1. Distract Your Mind. Total silence can allow the chatter of negativity to run unchecked through your mind. Give it a heaping helping of “SHHHH!!!” with great music or conversation. Make an uplifting power playlist or work out with a friend to keep the conversation and encouragement flowing. But be careful – misery loves company, so let your workout partners know that negative talk is out of bounds.
  1. Set Yourself Up for Success. Ready for some realness? You’re not going to be great at everything and you won’t enjoy every form of fitness. And that’s OK. If running makes you feel bored or frustrated, switch to an activity that fires up your endorphins. A group boot camp with a wide variety of exercises might make you feel more energetic. A flying trapeze class may give you a jolt of mood-lifting adrenaline. A hiking club can give you the workout you want with people who share your sense of adventure. We’re not saying to quit when the going gets tough, but there are lots of ways to get moving. Do what nourishes your soul, and the body will follow.
  1. Treat Yourself Like a Child. We are often kinder to others than we are to ourselves. When a child is learning to ride a bicycle, we encourage them to keep trying and cheer even when they only stay upright for a few seconds. When they fall, as they inevitably do, we don’t tell them they’re clumsy and should give up. Of course not! So when setbacks happen, treat yourself with the same “kid gloves.” And get right back up.

Just like any other skill, positivity takes practice, especially when you’re taking on new challenges or going after a new goal. By being mindful of your own thinking, you can successfully tell those Negative Nellies exactly where to go!

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