Mantras. Positive Statements. Intentions. Whatever you call them – they can actually work in terms of your fitness goals. If you just describe yourself as an exerciser or a weight lifter or a runner or anything with an “er” it works. Honestly!
I was re-listening to a Rich Roll podcast with Josh LaJaunie. Haven’t heard of Josh – well if you need some inspiration you should get familiar with Josh. He went from over 400 pounds to a plant based, ultra marathoner. His pyhscial transformation is amazing – but something he said has stuck with me. He tells the story about how one day he just decided he was a runner. Now – at over 400 pounds he wasn’t a typical runner – well – not physically. But – mentally and spiritually he was a runner. He told himself that every day and he used that belief as a filter. The first thing – is what does a runner do? Well – a runner runs. And he did. And a runner fuels their body with good things. And he did. Josh LaJaunie transformed him body by believing and acting like a runner. Seriously, he is something awesome.
What do you want to be? It might be as simple as just adding an “er” to it.
Add an “er”
When motivating yourself to exercise, the tendency is to use a verb to describe what you plan to do (cycle, swim, go to the gym). However, research suggests that you may be more likely to actually engage in the activity if you use a noun to describe who you are (cyclist, swimmer, gym-goer). In other words, rather than telling yourself “I will run,” tell yourself “I am a runner.”
This strategy is based on what’s known as the self-as-doer theory of behavior. The theory states that the more closely you identify with a role, the more likely you are to take part in activities related to it.
And – don’t just tell yourself that you’re a Stand Up Paddleboarder, tennis player, or walker. Describe yourself that way to other people, too. By establishing your credibility as an exerciser with others, you reinforce this identity for yourself. At the same time, you’re building a network that provides support and accountability. Josh told everyone that he met that he was a plant based runner – and it worked.
Shop the Part
Now that you already are a runner or biker or yogi (that one doesn’t follow the “er” rule) your shopping habits will change. You will be more apt to grocery shop from that new persona. You may start buying more fruits and vegetables – awesome! You will also want to dress the part – which may involve shopping. Put your money where your “er” is and be that new person.
Staging the Scene
Environmental props are another way to reinforce your identity as an exerciser. A water bottle on the kitchen counter or yoga mat in the corner serves as a silent reminder of your last (or next) exercise session.
Or a fitness magazine on your coffee table or an app on your phone can promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s always within reach and almost calling you to read it, even if only for a few minutes to learn a quick tip. Plus – designers arrange magazine covers to be attention-grabbing, so they’re high-impact visual cues, and the novelty of new issues keeps them from losing their impact over time.
So – what is your new “er”? Share in the comments below.
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!