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A simple way to get stronger faster

“Think like an athlete. When you think, eat, and train like an athlete, your body will look like an athlete.”

That’s what my trainer says to me every morning. When I’m pushing weights that are abnormally heavy, she says “Smile. Tell yourself you can do this.” When I want to curl up in the fetal position after doing push-ups, she says “Jump up. Look alive! You’re not tired.”

The first week of hearing this made me want to kill her. I wanted to say “Umm..yea chick, I am tired! Don't you hear me breathing hard?!” My muscles were shaking and it literally took me 30 minutes of just sitting down and sipping water to recover. Her workouts made my entire body hurt.

But her positive words helped me make it through. Anytime I would think, I’m not training with her today, I’d hear her voice “Think of how great you’re going to feel afterwards.”

I would also start saying her mantras of “Look alive!” when I felt too dead to workout.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed one session yet and it's been 4 weeks. In fact, every morning, I bound out of bed looking forward to my workouts even though they make me want to cry.

How’d that happen?

Well, it’s simple really. Her positive words stuck with me. Instead of yelling at me and belittling me for not giving enough effort, she coaxed more effort out of me with positivity. When things got hard (like doing bicep curls with 15 pound weights), she replaced my normal mindset of saying “This is too hard. I can’t do this,” to “Look alive. This isn’t hard.”

How we talk to ourselves and each other matters. What you say to others, and more importantly, what you say to yourself creates your experience. Before you say something, really think about how it will affect you and your overall experience in that moment.

It's been documented by physcologists everywhere that it's easier to add an good habit than it is to eliminate a bad habit. By adding the new habit, by default, the old habit disappears.

When something is particularly challenging, what’s a positive phrase you can say as you go through it? Can you say “Smile! Look alive”? When life is handing you a bowl of lemons, can you say “This isn’t hard. I can get through this,”?

If you can change how you view your challenges, life, like my workout sessions, will get easier and you’ll get stronger. The question is, how strong do you want to be?

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