What do you say to yourself when the time comes to do your goal? What do you speak over yourself? Is it encouragement or condemnation? Whether it’s a fitness goal and you are driving to the gym, or a nutrition goal and you’re walking the aisles of Trader Joe’s and spot your favorite new treat. What do you say?

Are you telling yourself, “I have to go to the gym”, “I can’t eat that”, “I can’t even believe you want that”.

The words we speak to ourselves can make us sabotage our own goals. We can be so harsh. The things we say (that no one hears) can either give us that extra jolt of motivation we need to press “start”, or they can cause us to pass the gym altogether and stop by the drive-thru instead. “Tomorrow will be better”, we say in defeat.

Truth is you don’t have to do anything. You are an adult. You can eat what you want, you can choose to exercise or not, you can engage in whatever activities your heart desires. (Just don’t forget, every choice has a consequence- good and bad.)

What you want out of life is a matter of choice. What are doing with the choices you have?

Telling ourselves we can’t have something often makes us want it even more. Telling ourselves we have to exercise doesn’t exactly motivate us to action. Am I right?

Maybe the tough trainer act helps for a little while, maybe it’s carried you through a few weeks, but I don’t think it will help you cross the finish line next year. I don’t think it’s sustainable.

If our goals are ones that will truly make our life better, then you need words spoken to you and over you that produce healthy growth. You need words that speak life, not ridicule.

Instead of saying things like, “I have to (exercise)”, “I need to (lose weight)” I can’t (eat carbs)”, what if you started saying things like, “I get to (exercise), “I want to (have more self-control)”, or “I can (eat healthy)”.

Those subtle differences change the way you think about the goals you’re trying to accomplish, and change how you see yourself. You’re no longer trying to satisfy the impossible-to-please-drill-sergeant, your focus is on what you CAN do and who you want to be, not what you can’t do.

Many of the things we desire are all about mindset. And often our mindset is influenced by what we say. If we changed the way we talk about the things we want, I think we’d find ourselves doing more of the things we really want to do.

There were a few phrases I said over and over to myself last year when I was struggling to put on my running shoes. The biggest one was, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I ran 10 miles this week?” That was it.

I didn’t berate myself, or make it a “I have to”. Truth is, I didn’t have to (and I have an entire year of failure to remind me), but I really wanted to.

On the days I didn’t feel like running I’d say to myself. “It’s just 30 minutes. I can run for 30 minutes.” There were a few days I had the sniffles or a head cold and I’d tell myself, “Just try”. So out I went. Even with a cold. In fact, I must say, I’m pretty sure running healed my colds faster. I could be wrong, but in over a year I haven’t been so sick that I couldn’t run at least ten miles in a week.

It’s the small window of decision that changes everything. And once we make the decision, it’s easier to find the motivation we’re looking for (as long as the goal is something we really want).

What are you saying to yourself? Are you beating yourself up over what you have to do or need to do? Shift those “have to’s” to “want to’s” and see how you’re able to find a little extra motivation that may not have been there.

What words do you speak over yourself? Start speaking words that bring life.

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