Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Negativity Police

Is your inner voice a trash-talker? If you've tried and failed to reach your fitness goals in the past, negative thoughts might have been what held you back. Want to succeed this time? Get your journal (or log on to your online Fitness Diary). It's time to get some of those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you have a negative self-image?

Do you constantly say things like "I'm fat" or "I'm ugly"? Do you pick yourself apart and beat yourself up when you look in the mirror?

2. Do you lack self-confidence?

Do you doubt your ability to achieve your goals, weight-related or otherwise? Do you dwell on your perceived limits or fears? Do you doubt your ability to accomplish the things you want to accomplish?

3. Do you feel powerless?

Do you feel as if you have no control over your life, or do you rely on excuses like "I'm genetically predisposed to being overweight"?

4. Do you label yourself in self-deprecating ways?

Do you think and talk about your failure to lose weight as a foregone conclusion? Do you refer to yourself mockingly (or not!) as a stereotype — the happy/funny fat person in the room? Is your e-mail address ""?

Now think about your responses. How would you describe the tone of your answers? Are they affirming and constructive, or downbeat and destructive? Want to turn your thinking around? The following question will help you understand why you have been propagating these destructive thoughts and behaviors so that we can cut them out at the root.

5. How is this negativity hurting you?

Is what you say about yourself really the truth? Or is it a defense mechanism? And if so, against what? Are you just making complicated excuses? How does this kind of negativity help you achieve your goals? The answers to these questions should help you start to see what's at the root of your negative thinking.

Now go back and answer the five questions again, and force yourself to use only positive terms. It can be hard to let go of these negative thought patterns. Often, they're the result of years of self-loathing and your internalizing of the negative opinions and judgments of others, but you can do it. Remember, knowledge is power. Next time one of those negative thoughts crops up, you'll have the awareness to cut it down.

Having Fans Never Hurts
Once you turn your negatives into positives, you might just become your own biggest fan! But having a network of people who genuinely want to see you happy and successful is also essential. The key is to find people who are supportive without being asked. Whether it's your mom, one of your kids, or your best friend, the encouraging and steady presence in your life can bring strength and courage when you need it most.

-Original post from daily email sent 7/23/08 from


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