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Power Talk Yourself into Activity
Politics aside, 86-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a role model for taking care of one’s body. I recently read that she “never stopped working out” after her fourth diagnosis with cancer…although she couldn’t always complete her full routine.” (“Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she never stopped working out during pancreatic cancer treatment” by Ariane de Vogue and Chandelis Duster, CNN, accessed 10/22/10, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/21/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-workout-cancer-recovery/index.html) Granted the article says that she has a personal trainer, but that doesn’t strike me as important as her strong will to take excellent care of herself.
Here’s a woman who lives with cancer on her mind even when it’s not in her body. Recognizing the importance of good health, she doesn’t take it for granted. Someone in her shoes might just give up and most of us could sympathize with them. Why bother to do push ups when cancer might recur any day?
The answer is having a particular mindset. Although the closest I’ve ever gotten to RBG is watching a few films about her, I’m familiar with her way of thinking: positive, empowering and optimistic. This is the mindset of success and people with it would not say the following in her situation: what’s the point of exercising if I have cancer or I want to use the time I have on earth to do things I want and not feel pressured to do what I don’t want to do.
This kind of thinking talks us out of doing things and is what I hear too often from clients. They have a million irrational reasons for not doing what’s healthy for them and they believe these reasons because they repeat them all the time: I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, it’s too far away, I hate to get up early, I’m too tired after work, I don’t want to, it’s not fun, what will people think, what’s the use, I don’t like it, I’ll never keep it up, or it’s not going to make a difference. I hope these thoughts sound as silly to your ears as they do to mine. If you think this way, no wonder you’re not getting where you want to go or becoming who you want to be. Your self-talk is a motivation killer.
It’s a simple shift to positive self-talk. Here’s what to say instead of the above regarding physical activity: I have time, I’ll make time, I can squeeze it in, I’ll find the money, I’ll do something that costs me nothing, it’ll energize me, I’ll feel proud after doing it, I’ll go today and see how I feel tomorrow (said each day), I’ll do it because it’s better than not doing it. Write down these words. Repeat them every day. Never say anything else about doing physical activity. See what happens. You too could think like RBG!