Positive Self-Talk Makes a Difference

Self-talk is the internal conversation that you have with yourself. Believe it or not, the way you talk to yourself can have a big influence on how you feel and act.

That's why it is so important to be aware of the conversations you have with yourself about physical activity and your fitness abilities. It can have an impact on your performance and whether or not you stick to your plan.

Don't set yourself up to fail by thinking things like, "I've never been very athletic, so there's no way I'm going to be able to keep up this exercise routine."

Fortunately, you can turn negative self-talk into realistic, positive thoughts.

Below are some examples of how to turn negative conversations with yourself into positive, encouraging thoughts.

Next time you find yourself having negative thoughts about exercise, make an effort drop the negativity and turn it into positive self-talk.

Distorted Thoughts and Positive Alternatives

All or Nothing

I didn't walk every day last week. I'm an exercise failure.

Positive Alternative
I walked 4 out of 7 days last week; some exercise is always better than none.

Disqualifying the Positive

The only reason I parked far away from the entrance to the store was because I couldn't find a closer spot.

Positive Alternative
I like to walk; it is a good, healthy activity for me to do.


I can't run, so I can't get enough exercise to do me any good.

Positive Alternative
I'm glad I decided to get out an walk. Some exercise is better than nothing!

Negative Interpretation

My doctor wants me to have a foot evaluation before I start doing more activity. That must mean exercise is bad for my feet.

Positive Alternative
Because I have diabetes, I always have to take very good care of my feet. I'm glad that my doctor is making sure that the activity I do is right for me.


The weatherman has something against me. I was planning to walk, but it has been raining cats and dogs all day long. I just can't win.

Positive Alternative
You can never really predict the weather, so I'm glad I have a plan for doing exercise indoors on rainy days like today.


This page was adapted from I Hate to Exercise, 2nd edition, by Charlotte Hayes, MMSc, MS, RD, CDE. © American Diabetes Association.

  • Last Reviewed: December 17, 2013
  • Last Edited: March 18, 2014

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