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By Shannon Dey, M.S. Health Education & CEO-Founder Bombshell Fitness

We have all heard the mantras a million times with their cheerful message of success, “Believe and Achieve” or “Believe in Yourself and Anything is Possible”.  However, more often than not, we don’t take these statements to heart.  We let them slip by without registering the meaning, or perhaps giving them a flippant “yeah right!”  Before you brush off these simple but powerful statements, STOP and take note!  A huge factor in success is amazingly simple yet often times difficult, belief in yourself!  Often women start on a journey toward a weight loss or fitness goal over and over again, only to end up quitting simply because they don’t believe that they can do it or have what it takes.  The road to fitness success seems too long or the results don’t come fast enough and they lose faith.  In order to change your life, you have to BELIEVE that you have the power within yourself to make a change and finally find success!

When you believe in your ability to accomplish what is necessary to succeed, your likelihood for actual success is much greater than if you lack such a belief.  Countless research studies have been conducted proving  this exact point.  Belief in one’s self or in psychological terms, “self-efficacy” has proven to be a strong factor in various theories of personality. According to acclaimed researcher and Psychiatrist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is a very strong determining factor in our self-esteem and ultimately our ability to succeed and reach our goals.

What factors determine whether or not your belief in your abilities is high enough to aid success?  Here are a few characteristics:

People with a low sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks and situations.
  • Believe that difficult tasks and goals are beyond their capabilities.
  • Focus on past failures and the possibility of negative outcomes.

When working toward fitness and weight loss goals, an individual with low self-efficacy may avoid trying new training methods because they fear that they may be too difficult, or they may not believe in their personal ability to follow a nutrition plan.  They may also dwell on past weight loss failures and the fear of how they will appear to others due to the lack of ability to stick to a plan.

People with a high sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenges as exciting tasks to be mastered.
  • Develop deep interest in the activities in which they participate.
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments.

An individual on a fitness journey who believes in their ability to succeed, would be likely to try new fitness activities and programs, become deeply committed to fitness goals and spend time learning about new ways in which to reach those goals.  Someone with high self-efficacy will not dwell on past weight loss failures, nor will they become disheartened and unmotivated when results are not immediately seen.

Everyone experiences times where belief in ourselves is high and times in which it was low.  The trick is to maximize our self-efficacy and reap the rewards of the habits that are associated with such positive thoughts.  Here are a few tips that will help you “put on your big girl panties” and face your weight loss and fitness challenges with confidence, strength and a BELIEF in YOU!

  1. Positive Self-Talk – By telling yourself OVER and OVER that you CAN succeed you will actually change your mind and start to believe!  This may sound corny, but research shows that positive self-talk is a powerful psychological therapy tool.
  2. Find Inspiration In Others – Find someone who you admire for her fitness philosophies, dedication or success.  Follow the path of this individual and realize put their pants on one leg at a time just like you, and if they can do it, YOU can do it!
  3. BE an Inspiration!! – Document your journey to inspire others, help others get started on their goals.  You will find that by helping OTHERS, you are more likely to feel GOOD about yourself and positive about your efforts.
  4. GO FOR IT!! – Stop sitting around thinking about it, get out there and GO!  When negative thoughts start to creep in, do something POSITIVE for yourself!  Even if you simply get up from your desk to perform a few quick squats, do SOMETHING to prove to yourself that you have the get up and go to get up and get it done!

Although the path may seem tough, and the road may seem long, BELIEVE in your ability to do what it takes to succeed.  The physique and fitness level that you seek is already within you!  You can’t buy it, you can’t wait for someone to give it to you, it is YOURS to surface!  It is simply up to you to BELIEVE in your abilities, KNOW in your heart that you can succeed and be diligent with your efforts; you will be surprised at just how far you will go!

Reference: – Kassin, S. (2008). Psychology in modules. Boston, MA:  Pearson.