Zig Ziglar, a famed sales person, educator and motivational speaker has a saying that not only had a huge impression on me, but is chalk full of truth. It is extremely simple in nature yet powerful at the same time. “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you are right!”
How simple is that? While it may seem esoteric in nature, it is incredibly powerful and true. When I first heard that phrase years ago it changed the way I thought about my life and the things I could accomplish. What I realized is how important not only our frame of mind is, but how important our self-talk is. Your mind only knows what you tell it. It’s like a computer. It simply takes data you put into it and generates an output that shapes that way you live your life.
So you may be asking what does this have to do with exercise, working out or endurance events? That is a fair question. The reason I dedicate so much time in this column to non-exercise information is because for a lot of people, it’s their mind and self-talk that keeps them from undertaking an exercise program or participating in endurance events.
Let me give you an example. I was taking to a friend a while back about running. He had begun a running program and was excited at the progress he had made. He mentioned that he would like to do some longer runs and I mentioned that he should train for and do a half marathon later in the year. His immediate response was “Oh, there is NO way I could ever do a half marathon.” What he told his mind is “hey I will never be able to do a half marathon” and thus he will look for ways to NOT extend past his boundaries.
This is a much more common issue than people realize. Make a conscious effort one week to listen to those around you and to your own self-talk. You will be amazed how negative and limiting we can be on ourselves and not realize we are doing it. I know my fear of water and my inability to swim until I was 46 was mainly due to my own negative conversion telling myself I can’t swim. For others, it may sound like “I can never lose weight” or “I can’t run or do Zumba.” They maybe small and seemingly harmless words but they can have a detrimental impact on our lives.
Changing this negative behavior is easy. As Ziglar said, “If you think you can, you can!” Take time this week and work on your self-talk, turning negatives into positives. Instead of saying, “I can’t lose weight or I can’t run” trying saying “I am a runner and I lose weight.” Try making this a habit and you will be amazed at how you will respond to your new programming.
Next week we will look at success traits for a successful exercise program.
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and Groups Exercise Instructor, exercise, health and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.