Pumping up Your Attitude

Provides information on how to stick in an exercise routine. How self-efficacy helps in adhering exercise regimen; One way to enhance self-efficacy; Common self-defeating mindset.

By David E. Shapiro, published May 1, 1997 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

An encouraging word from a spouse or friend can help you stick to yourexercise routine. But just as important is the internal dialogue you carry on with yourself. According to University of Waterloo psychologist Lawrence Brawley, Ph.D., adhering to an exercise regimen goes hand in hand with self-efficacy--the belief that you can achieve what you set out to do. And one simple way to enhance your self-efficacy, says Brawley, is by directing your thoughts. Some useful ideas to keep in mind: Failure is often due to specific circumstances that have nothing to do with your true capabilities. It's usually temporary. And it frequently can be overcome through sheer persistence. Reminding yourself of these facts can help get you back on track if your exercise program derails. However, some types of self-talk get in the way of fitness, warns Neville Owen, Ph.D., of Australia's Deakin University. One common self-defeating mindset is telling yourself, "I get plenty of exercise on my job." What people usually mean by this statement is that the strain of being on one's feet or putting up with emotionally trying situations can be exhausting. But while these problems may tire you out, they do nothing to enhance cardiovascular fitness.

Other folks make the opposite mistake, dismissing activities that provide genuine exercise, like walking, as inconsequential. But the truth is that every bit helps. As Owen quips, "If you were walking too slowly to gain any health benefit, you might fall over."

PHOTO (COLOR): Intenal dialogue you carry on with yourself.