We know what a great piece of software (aka good programming) can do for our computer. Unfortunately, we probably also know what a virus (aka bad programming) can do for our computer. What kind of programming are you installing into your brain?
The more you practice something or tell yourself something, the deeper the “neural tracks” you lay down in your brain. The deeper the tracks, the easier it is to go down those tracks in the future.
Think about something that you’re good at. Odds are that you weren’t quite so good at it the first time you tried it. But you kept at it, and it got easier, and you got better.
Examples of positive mental programming:
“I can and will do what it takes to reach my goals and be healthy and fit!”
“I can lose weight and keep it off if I make a realistic exercise and eating plan and stick with it. I know it won’t always be easy, but the effort I put into my plan will be totally worth it when I reach my goals.”
“OK, eating that donut wasn’t the best choice, but I can easily get back on track with my next meal. I can also come up with a few strategies for avoiding temptation the next time it happens.”
Examples of negative mental programming:
“I want to lose weight, but nothing I’ve done before has worked. I doubt that whatever I try this time will work, either. If I do manage to lose a few pounds, I’ll probably gain them back, just like before.”
“Crap, I shouldn’t have eaten that donut! Why don’t I have any willpower? What is wrong with me? Stupid, stupid, stupid! Oh well, I’ve already screwed up my eating plan for today…I might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of it.”
Remember Roger Bannister? What if he had told himself that the “experts” were right—a man can’t run a mile in less than 4 minutes? He certainly had ample opportunity for negative talk…he tried and failed to break that barrier many times before he succeeded. If he had chosen to adopt an “I can’t do it” attitude, well, he would have been right. And that, my dear readers, is what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, tell yourself you can do it (because you CAN, darn it!), make a plan, and stick with it. Each time you exercise as planned and make the healthier food choice (and say a little “hooray, me!”), the easier it will be to do it again, and again. And then, POOF, you’re living a healthy lifestyle. Seriously. Would I lie to you?