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How do you talk to yourself?

Telling yourself you can’t do something before you’ve even tried sets you up for failure, but once you back yourself you’ll get the results you want faster, says New Body Plan’s Joe Warner

What was the last thing you said to yourself?

I mean an internal conversation about something important to you, not swearing out loud because the kids have drawn on the wallpaper again.

The reason I ask is that how you talk to yourself matters. Indeed, I’d argue that your internal dialogue is the single-most significant controllable factor of how happy you are.

Take this example: if you tell yourself you’re never going to lose those extra pounds you gained over Christmas, then guess what? You’re absolutely right. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There’s nothing I can do or say to change the outcome. I’ll back you, though it’s not going to make a big enough difference if you don’t already back yourself. However, if you tell yourself you can shed that spare tyre, nothing’s going to stop you.

Believe to achieve
The trouble is that so many of us are so used to giving ourselves a hard time, which fosters a negative feedback loop of doubt and uncertainty that scuppers our intention to get fitter, healthier and happier before we’ve even had the chance to start, let alone see or feel the early signs of success.

So why are we telling ourselves we can’t do something before we’ve even tried?

A toddler doesn’t fall over after standing upright for the first time and think to themselves, “you know what, I can’t do it. This walking lark just isn’t for me”. They pick themselves up and try again until they succeed.

Ask yourself why
If your inner voice is in the habit of telling you “I can’t” rather than “I can”, I want you to have an internal chat and start asking “Why”.

Here’s what I mean, and what I want you to do the next time you tell yourself “I can’t”. In this example, I’ll play the part of you questioning your negative internal voice.

You: I can’t lose this Christmas weight.

Me: Why?

You: Because I’ve tried and failed before.

Me: Why?

You: Because I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Me: Why?

You: Because I didn’t have a plan or programme to follow.

Me: Why?

You: Because…. Well, I don’t know. Maybe a plan to follow would help.

I can, I will
My point is this: as soon as you tell yourself “I can’t”, start asking yourself “Why?”.

Keep asking until you get to the root of the issue, because within a few quick questions you’ll come to a conclusion that will highlight the positive step you can now take to turn “I can’t” into “I can” – and, more importantly, “I will”.

So, here’s my deal: if you sign-up to start your own New Body Plan fat-loss programme next Monday, I’ll give you my full support.

The only condition is this: you’ve got to back yourself first. If you’re not there just yet, all you have to do is ask yourself why.

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