When it Comes to Health, Change Your Mindset to Change Your Behavior

by: Jennifer Plotnek

In order to make effective long-term changes in your health and wellness, it is important to evaluate how easily your thinking can lead to self-sabotage.  As entrepreneurs, you need to embrace the power of thinking positively so the negative patterns do not come into play as you commit to forward thinking this year. Try to unlock the positive messages you send yourself in the business realm and transfer them into other areas of your life, such as health and wellness. It is essential to show yourself compassion and let go of negative thoughts.

The following are examples of sabotaging thoughts that fast-paced individuals commonly make: “I don’t have enough time,” “I travel all the time for work,” “I have to entertain clients and eat out all the time,” or, “Watching what I eat is impossible.”  Do any of these statements sound familiar?  While all of them might be true, they are thoughts that stand in the way of us taking action. As a result of this type of thinking, losing weight can be very challenging.  Instead of thinking you can’t do something, try thinking the total opposite and telling yourself, “I can!”

Sometimes, it is helpful to conjure up a previous success in another area of your life, then take that attitude and apply it to eating and exercise.  It is important to try to stop yourself when you find yourself engaging in negative thinking and be more flexible and compassionate towards yourself.  It would feel much better to say, “I am really busy, but I can take some of my calls by cell phone and walk around,” or,“I do eat out a lot with my clients for business, but that does not mean I have to eat large portions or make unhealthy choices.” Thinking with less rigidity and judgment will allow you to move forward and make positive changes.

How do you change your thinking?

  1. Increase your overall awareness, and recognize when you are having these thoughts.  In essence, you want to practice mindfulness and pay attention to what you are thinking and saying to yourself.  It is crucial that you learn to recognize your inner critic without acting on it.  If you are being mindful, then you are being aware.
  2. Challenge these negative thoughts.
  3. Replace the negative thoughts with reasonable alternatives that are practical and realistic.  The following is an example of how you can alter your thinking and as a result, alter your fate:

Thought:  “I ate something I shouldn’t have. I might as well just start trying again tomorrow.”

Challenge: “Does my whole day have to be ruined because I ate something I shouldn’t have?’

Helpful Response: “I might have eaten something that wasn’t good for me, but I can get right back on track and make a better choice for my next meal.”

In order to lose weight and improve your overall health and wellness, it is not helpful to think pessimistically.  In fact, most people know what they need to do to in order to lose weight in a healthy way. But, due to negative thinking, they have little success executing a plan.  As Albert Einstein said so eloquently, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Try something different this year: think differently. In addition, make a commitment towards taking small steps toward bigger goals.  Focus on what you CAN do everyday to make yourself a priority, and I guarantee that you will be more productive and effective in all other areas of your life.

* This article is part of a monthly health column for entrepreneurs, in partnership with Retrofit. Retrofit, the expert-led, data-driven weight loss program for busy professionals, is designed to deliver lasting results. Its innovative year-long program includes wireless monitoring of a client’s weight, activity, and sleep, as well as private lessons with a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, and behavior coach. Learn more about the company at RetrofitMe.comFacebook , and Twitter. *

About the author Jennifer Plotnek @retrofitme
Retrofit Lead Behavior Coach Jennifer Plotnek is a lifelong athlete who has spent the last 15 years helping other people minimize the impact of their life stressors through exercise, nutrition and self-care. She has a degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado and a Master's Degree from the Smith College School for Social Work. Jennifer has worked in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics and private practice. She co-owns a health club in DC and always strives to set a good example for her three daughters.

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