Tuesday, January 26, 2021

15 Mantras and Mindset Tips for Encouraging Healthy Change


We all know things we could be doing to be happier, healthier, and more financially savvy. Whether it's turning off the computer, going for a walk, going to bed a little earlier, or eating more vegetables, there are things we all know about doing, perhaps even tell ourselves that we should do them, and then...

“All know the way; few actually walk it.” -Bodhidharma

What sets the things we do apart from the things we don't get to? 

One word: Mindset.

Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right." 

Just as we can change our mindset to improve our experiences, when we direct our thoughts we can intentionally improve our ability to meet our goals, live up to our own ideals, and build a better life for ourselves. 

Last year, I broke up with eating things that are bad for me

Once I had some momentum going, I realized that almost all the challenge was with my thinking. 

Every time I hit a plateau, I discovered a new false belief that I broke through in order to keep making progress. 

Our bodies are listening to everything we say to ourselves. When you tell yourself things like "this is really hard" and "I can't do it," you will prove yourself right and keep yourself stuck where you are.

In order to change your life, you have to change your mindset. 

15 Mantras for Supporting Intentional Personal Growth.

Here are 15 Phrases that I say to myself regularly that help me to shift my thinking. Saying these regularly helped me lose 40lbs in a year without any exercise routine even through the lockdown, my husband's deployment, homeschooling my two girls, and being in school full-time myself. While my explanations are directly related to my weight-loss journey, the majority of these can be used for any goal and easily adjusted to fit your own needs.

1.) I'm going to do what it takes and stick with it until I get where I want to be.

It's so easy to try something for a little bit, get discouraged, and then quit. There were entire months where the number on the scale didn't budge but I kept going. I committed to finding out what it would take and doing it. Then I kept my comittments.

2.) What do I get? I'm getting my body back.

The little voice in my head would start complaining, particularly when being around food treats other people were enjoying, and I would start to feel sorry for myself. But, but what about me? What do I get? I get my body back. I get to be healthier for the rest of my life.

3.) I can do this.

Our brains really try to convince us that we really shouldn't even try, that it's hard, and that things shouldn't be hard. But no, there are so many amazing things worth working for.

4.) It's just for a year. I can do just about anything for a year.

Over the years HandsomeJoe has seen attractive job postings all over the world and we daydream about what it would be like to live there. There are very few places that I couldn't live in for a couple years. Even without moving overseas, we all deal with so many harder things than eating intentionally and for much longer. What have you got to lose? (pun intended)

5.) I'm giving myself the gift of weight loss.

Similar to 2.), thinking of my challenge as a gift to myself was a game-changer - instead of "dieting" and "restricting," I was liberating my own healthy body, I was giving myself a gift

6.) I can do hard things.

When things get tough, we sometimes long for times when it was "easier." But how many amazing things are worth striving for? I can do hard things, and so can you. Look around your life and you'll be able to come up with some pretty amazing things you've accomplished because you were able to do difficult things.

7.) In order to get what others don't have, you have to do what others don't do.

It's so easy to live a small, guarded, average life, and I don't begrudge anyone that desires it. However, if you have a dream of bigger things, of a more genuine, authentic, and true-to-you life, you'll have to get off your duff and go the extra mile, for yourself. 

8.) I'm giving up a little now to be freer for the rest of my life. 

I could have tried just a couple things, but I wanted to rip the bandage off. I wanted to go all-in and prove to myself that I could do it, that I could make the shift. Knowing that today is built on what we did before now, what we do now is setting the stage for our life to come. 

9.) Am I hungry or is there another way to meet this need without food? 

So often, outside of genuine hunger, eating meets needs other than hunger. If I'm craving sweetness, how can I add emotional sweetness to my life without eating? Am I lonely? Tired? Stressed? How can I nurture and care for myself in ways that are completely separate from food? 

10.) It's ok to be hungry. 

Biologically, hunger serves a very different function in subsistence living than the majority of us need today. We are almost never in any situation where some kind of food isn't available within minutes. It may not be ideal or even actually food, but there are calories to be had. Acknowledging the voice that tells us that hunger=iminent death is a liberating practice. We're not "dying" of hunger, and no, we could not "eat a horse," the truth is that we're hungry and slightly inconvenienced. The truth also is that food tastes better when we're hungry. Snacking is no good kind of friend. 

11.) The world isn't running out of this food/treat and there's plenty more of it.

Our brains haven't really evolved much in thousands of years. If you're a primitive human and you find a patch of wild berries or an apple tree with ripe sweet fruit, you eat as much as you can because it may be another year before you find one again. We're not running out of chips and there is no shortage of cookies or ice cream. Reminding your brain that "this is not a limited commodity" can help reset the stress of the "now or never" type of instinctual eating. 

11.) I have the rest of my life to eat that.

If I'm so lucky to live into ripe old age, I have decades left to enjoy the most delicious and scrumptious foods. Just as we're not running out of these things, I'm not running out of years to enjoy my favorite things.

13.) I can eat that food any time I like and I'm choosing not to eat it right now. 

Like many of us, I'm not always receptive to being told that I "can't" do something, even if it's me telling myself. While these foods are ones that I don't do well with, technically I CAN eat them. You can circumvent that internal argument and leave you more brainpower for more important decisions by reminding yourself that you really can eat that any time AND you're choosing not to. Reminding yourself of your choice is incredibly empowering. 

14.) I can eat anything I want and I'm choosing to eat in a way that is healthy for me and helps me get healthier. 

Taking 13.) one step further, you can affirm your choices and why you're making them which strengthens your resolve and places your goals squarely in front of you. 

15.) I'm getting healthier and feeling better whether or not the number on the scale is moving.

We want instant results. The harder the goal the more helpful multiple ways of seeing progress can be. While our culture is very focused on weight as a way of tracking progress, it's really not that helpful. There are studies of how widely sizes of people of the same height and weight can vary based on proportions of lean body mass to fat as well as build, musculature, and many other factors. While I never got into the nitty-gritty of tracking my measurements, I certainly had the encouraging boost of feeling my clothes get looser, whether or not the scale showed any progress. 

What phrases do you find helpful in working toward your goals? How can you shift what you say to yourself to support yourself? 

Let me know in the comments! 


  1. Such powerful intention! This is beautiful. I've been working to shed a few pounds out here in the desert this winter. Most of the battle is won just staying focused in the grocery store, since I only have to shop for and cook for myself. also staying away from that awesome donut shop next to the laundromat! I'm really lucky to be living where I am this winter, the weather is almost always beautiful, and I can roll out my yoga mat just outside my door. Sometimes I miss a few days of yoga, for no good reason. Unconsciously, I think my mantra for exercising has been "I want to be a badass." I want to keep this 55-year-old body strong and flexible, so that I can do the fun things I like to do without being sore the next day. It's surprising how sore you can be just from riding your motorcycle for an hour or two. Also, I want to be able to keep up with my grandchildren. This blog post you've written has called my attention to my unconscious mantra. Now I can wield it more intentionally. Love and thanks.❤️

    1. Oh how wonderful! It can be a challenge to close the gap between our "shoulds" and what we do, but it's SO worth it! And you are a badass, and you keep getting better at it. Thanks for being an inspiration to me!