According to research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the most effective way to stay on track with your goals is actually super simple: Give yourself a good old-fashioned pep talk. Out loud.
We’ve all had days where we hit the wall mid-workout or leave the gym knowing we weren’t at our best. But rather than beat yourself up, a large new study suggests that a certain motivational technique might help you crush it next time—though you might feel a bit funny doing it.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably struggled with some of these inner thoughts on the treadmill:
To study the effectiveness of different motivational techniques, the researchers had 44,000 participants complete a competitive task and measured improvements in performance using three techniques: positive self-talk, a motivational video, and if-then planning. (Want to get in shape, fast? Check out Women’s Health‘s Ignite routine created by Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger.)
As part of the self-talk test, they had participants say phrases like “I can do better next time,” “I can beat my best score,” “I can react quicker this time,” etc. And they found that the competitors who used this method scored better on their tasks every single time.
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Admittedly, giving yourself a mirror pep talk might make you feel a little awkward in front of your fellow gym goers, but if Jessica can do it…
And if someone does make you feel dumb for giving yourself some vocal encouragement in the middle of your squat presses, you’ll be getting the last laugh when you totally out-perform them.