Did you know we have internal dialog going on all the time? Our internal messaging system, much of which is in the subconscious mind, governs our beliefs about who and how we are and what we believe we can do. Most the time, we aren't even aware of it.

However, when trying to change a particular behavior to reach a goal, you must tune in and identify any thoughts or beliefs that are not aligned with your goals or vision of how you want to be. How do you tune in to your internal dialog? One of the ways you can become aware of what your're saying to yourself is to keep a journal. With my clients,  I provide a template for recording eating behaviors,  and the thoughts, feelings and situations related to the eating behaviors. It's called kj's Eating Behavior Journal, and my most successful clients use it religiously and completely. Not only do they record the information, they also use the form as a daily self-assessment tool. Once you become aware of your counter-productive thoughts, you can challenge them and begin to change them.

Here is an example. One of my clients was having trouble motivating herself to keep her goal of walking for 30 minutes three times per week. This was part of her plan to achieve her vision of being healthy and fit by the time she turned 40. After some tuning in to her inner critic this is what she heard herself saying. “I really don't feel like walking today, it's cold out . . . oh what's the use, I never stick to an exercise plan anyway, I may as well give up.” Does this sound familiar? If you listen, you can challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Then you can turn around what you are saying to yourself.

In this case, you might give yourself permission to do just part of what you originally comitted to. For example, “I am putting on my walking shoes, and I will at least go to the end of the street. If I don't feel like continuing, OK, but at least I am getting myself prepared and on track.” Chances are by the time you get to the end of the street, you may find yourself saying “it's not so bad.  I can do this. I can keep going.”

Many of my clients have used this technique of taking smaller steps to gain the confidence they need to know they can succeed. It's ok to give yourself permission to do this. The main thing is to try to do something every day that moves you toward your goal, AND then reward yourself for doing so.