How to Use Positive Self-Talk in Your Workout

"I am beautiful" written on a bathroom mirror
Applying positive self-talk to your workouts can create (and sustain) motivation, as well as improve your health!

by Autumn Jones

What food is to your body, thoughts are to your mind — both serve as fuel and affect your well-being. Just as you aim to eat healthy food, you'll want to regularly check in with your self-talk to ensure it's nourishing you in the best way possible.

Finding the positive aspects of life (even among negative situations) helps keep you focused and inspires you to do your best. In fact, applying positive self-talk to your workouts can create and sustain motivation, as well as improve your health! According to Mayo Clinic, thinking positive thoughts lowers stress, improves heart health, and boosts immunity.

As Psychology Today explains, "One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy is to intentionally fill our thoughts with positive self-talk." You can start transforming your fitness journey by using the simple tips below.

Start Small

First of all, don't put too much pressure on yourself to nail this on day one. Building new habits takes time, so cut yourself some slack by starting small. To get going, take note of what you're saying to yourself when you exercise. Simply observe the messages and words that are coming through, and decide what you'd like to change.

For example, if you catch yourself thinking, "This is too hard. I want to quit," try switching to some encouraging words to help keep you going. The phrases "I've got this" and "I'm strong enough to finish" are positive self-talk statements that can provide the extra push you need to give it your all!

Connect to Your Feelings

Being clear about how you want to feel during (and after) your workout can help you create your optimistic mental playlist. Ask yourself how you want to feel. Is it strong? Energetic? Flexible? All of the above?

Whatever your answer, use that as inspiration for what you think about while walking on the treadmill or lifting weights. Simply telling yourself, "When I do this, I become stronger," helps create an emotional connection to what you're doing — and can help remind you of your motivation.

Take a Cue

Deciding to use positive self-talk is great, but remembering to build this into your fitness routine can be more challenging. If you want to fast-track this new habit, consider setting up some cues to jog your memory.

For instance, each time you reach for your gym towel, take a sip from your water bottle, or transition to a different exercise, repeat your positive statement in your head. The more times you can say it, the better!

Stick With It

If the first few statements you try out don't quite seem to do the trick, focus on coming up with some new mantras until you strike self-talk gold. In fact, you can even come up with a running list of optimistic phrases to use, so each workout always feels fresh and results in good vibes. Just like anything new, there can be a learning curve with this — remember that sticking with the habit will really pay off in the long run.

Adopting this new way of talking with yourself won't just take your workouts to the next level, it can elevate other areas of your life as well. Speaking kindly to yourself is a powerful tool for getting the most out of life, so use it to your advantage!