Positivity is paramount in our daily lives. See the glass half full. Make lemonade with lemons. All that good stuff…happy thoughts.

It can be found, if not created, in your workout world. I had a fellow gym-goer make the comment that she wished she could enjoy exercise as much as I do. She said she has force herself go to the gym. You can tell by her demeanor that she’d rather be anywhere else. I suggested to her to keep looking for what she enjoys until she finds it. But in the process, it might help to turn a negative mindset around to make the experience a positive one.

There are two ways to make it happen.

Positive Self-talk

Self-talk can program your thinking. It can be good or bad.

A relative of mine used to awaken each morning, look in the mirror and say something like, “It’s going to be a great day.” A mantra or positive affirmation can be a more powerful way to start the day than you might think.

In a Yoga Journal article, “The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra and How to Practice it Daily,” Susan Moran explains the mantra. “In understanding how mantra works, it can be helpful to look at its translation,” she said. “The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words—manas (mind) and tra (tool). Mantra literally means ‘a tool for the mind.’”

I like to believe that I’m a positive thinker. However, I chose to be intentional about positive self-talk for my New Year intention. It’s kind of a resolution, in that I’m catching the moment when I have a negative thought about myself. It’s a way to encourage myself to be more mindful of what I say in my thoughts and the impact positivity has.

Positive Mindset

Becoming aware of a fixed mindset and shifting perspective is quite often the key to success. A positive perspective is a set up for growth and moving forward with ease. A fixed mindset keeps us weighed down by negative feelings about ourselves and a sense of failure. Focusing on effort and attitude over ability engenders self-efficacy.

In the training world, I use this same mindset when clients are doubting themselves. I suggest they repeat “You can do it. You can do it.” Much like the children’s book The Little Engine that Could, steering the focus to a positive can work wonders. It’s my workout mantra.

I personally use it in challenging balance poses or when lifting extra weight.

Find your own mantra and encourage clients to do the same!

Gratitude Begets Positivity

Gratitude is an expression of appreciation. And it creates the potential for growth.

A friend told me she started keeping a gratitude journal to make herself see the good in her life. At first, she said it was hard to think of things to write. Within a month or so, she found herself writing down many things for which she was grateful. The daily habit triggered her ability to see the positives.

Do this in the workout world whether you’re working out at home or in a gym setting. Keep a journal in your gym bag or in some handy location. After each workout, write down something (or download a Gratitude app if that’s your jam) you are grateful for related to the exercise routine. It’s just a quick, grateful thought.

Some ideas include:

*feeling happier
*getting stronger
*trying something new
*lifting heavier
*becoming more flexible
*getting more balanced

By keeping an exercise gratitude journal, the workout entwines the mind, body, and soul principle. Val Silver, a Holistic Health Coach explained this in an article, “The Mind Body Spirit Connection” on the Holistic Mind Body Healing website. “The need to support and care for your whole self becomes as obvious as the need to feed, clothe, and wash your body,” she said.

“When you love and care for mind, body, and spirit, your whole self will benefit.”


The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra—And How to Practice It Daily


Kim Becknell Williams

Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.