This one simple phrase will help motivate you

If you are a morning exerciser like me, you have probably started many days where you literally had to drag yourself out of bed, reluctantly put on your gym gear and force yourself out the door to go for a run.

I exercise five mornings per week – it’s become habitual. But I definitely have days when it’s the last thing I want to do. My inner-sloth says, “Just lie in bed a bit longer – it’s so nice and warm in here! Please don’t make me lift weights in the freezing cold garage on this horrible winter’s morning! Please, no!”

But my inner sloth-tamer retorts, “You have to exercise! Go! Now! C’mon, I said go!” And begrudgingly, I go and do it. Urgh.

But could there be a better way of talking to myself? Perhaps a method that actually makes me want to go and exercise rather than feel as though I am being bossed around by a nasty little sloth-taming slavedriver? Turns out there is.

While competing in a 100km ultramarathon in 2011, Turia Pitt was caught in a grassfire and suffered full thickness burns to 65 per cent of her body. But surviving is the least of her achievements.

Pitt has gone on to become a bestselling author, a two-time Ironman and a humanitarian. And in 2017, she gave birth to her first son, Hakavai.

After becoming a mum, she became aware of her own self-talk about feeling as if she ‘had’ to do certain things.

“I have to go clean his room or I have to prepare his food or have to wash his clothes,” Pitt would think to herself.

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“When you tell yourself that you have to do things it’s really easy for you to resent them and for them to feel like an obligation and something that you don’t actually want to do.”

After reflecting on the impact that her inner voice was having, Pitt made a simple change. She started saying “I get to”.

“I get to pick up Hakavai, I get to play with Hakavai, I get to be around and I get to watch him as he grows up. And for me, just changing my language suddenly reminded me that it was an opportunity. It was a choice, and it was something that I got to be really grateful for,” she said.

Pitt also started to use this strategy in her professional life. As part of her work, Pitt delivers a lot of keynote presentations. She often feels very nervous beforehand and gets stuck in her own head, undermining her own focus and confidence. She worries that she won’t articulate herself clearly, or that people will think she is an idiot.

“I have to really stop and remind myself that it’s not that I have to do a speech, but that I get to do a speech. It’s a pretty awesome opportunity that a room full of people potentially want to listen to me and want to hear what I have to say,” Pitt said.