Fake It Until You Make It

Sometimes, doing is believing. Once you see what you are capable of, you'll have more confidence in yourself.
Published February 10, 2016

Picture this: It's a rainy day, you didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and you're debating whether to go to the gym after work. You decide not to, and head home instead. You feel… a little deflated, right?

Now picture it again, but this time, you go to the gym and spend 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer — nothing too vigorous, but enough to get your heart pumping and a sweat breaking. Heading home this time you feel... quietly pleased with yourself. “I did it,” you think. And if you were referring to more than that stint on the elliptical: You're right! Each positive action you take, no matter how small, shows you how much you're capable of doing. Each time you add to your capabilities (“I can walk a mile without stopping!” “I've swapped my ice-cream habit for fresh fruit!” “I go to the gym even when I don't always feel like it!”) you boost your confidence. You come to believe that you have the power to make other changes, and ultimately to lose weight and keep it off.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right,” Henry Ford once said. Believing in yourself can make a big difference in how well you stick to your plan. Along with what you do physically, in terms of small accomplishments, you can also bolster your self-confidence with a few mental tweaks:

Change your self-talk.
Thoughts like “I'll never lose weight,” or “I'm so fat,” leave you defeated. If your boss or a friend spoke to you that way, would you be inspired to do your best? Nope. Instead, be your own supportive coach. Surround yourself with positive people who can relate to what you're going through and who believe in your abilities.

Claim your victories.
Plagued by thoughts of unsuccessful past weight-loss attempts? Think of the success you've had in other areas of your life and apply that confidence to your current efforts. Have you been promoted at work? Designed your garden? Raised happy children? You're already a winner!

Say “thanks.”
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people with a more grateful outlook on life exhibited a heightened state of well being. According to the study, “research has shown that gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope.” Each day, jot down one positive thing you've done or something you're grateful for.

Take time to remind yourself, “I can do this. I will do this. I am doing this!” Make it your mantra.