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Last month we addressed the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for ensuring a path to success. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, shed some pounds or help your team make the playoffs, staying motivated will get you there. I teamed up with Trish Oberhaus, the team sports specialist, to discuss strategies that will keep you on track to reach your goals.

 

There will always be obstacles along the way to reaching your goal. When you encounter hardships or setbacks, stay focused by using positive self-talk. Self-talk is the internal dialog that reflects and creates our emotional states. Your self-talk can influence your self-esteem, energy level, performance and even your health.

 

According to sports psychologist Dr. Andrew Jacobs, a study on negativity and positive thinking found that the average person requires 12 positive statements to overcome one negative statement. For example, if you say that hitting a certain pitcher is "too difficult," you have to say "I can hit this pitcher" 12 times in order to give you a better chance to make it.

 

So what is the solution? Use awareness and practice to change your negative self-talk. The first step in beating the cycle is recognizing how often you think negatively. The second step is substituting positive thoughts for the negative ones. Instead of telling yourself "I feel slow and tired" remind yourself that "I will keep my pace and finish strong."

 

In addition to saying the positive statement, visualize yourself being successful in your mind, and see yourself doing it over and over. Once you become aware of your negative thinking, and substitute the negative thoughts with positive ones, you will have a much greater chance at succeeding.

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