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Try saying this to yourself once in a while.

Two weeks ago I mentioned that Mike and I are doing a super-intense workout and nutrition program to get in tip-top shape for our wedding. It’s taking up a lot of time and requires quite a bit of energy and pre-planning.

As one of my girlfriends from childhood said, though, “You’re never going to regret looking amazing on your wedding day.”

I’ve been pretty darn motivated by the goal of getting my dress to zip up without having to suck in my stomach.

(I tried it on in February and even a really serious inhale would not make the zipper budge. My mom, adorably and lovingly, said, “It’s okay honey. We can just get them to put an elastic panel in the back.” But that is SO not happening.)

Thankfully, the other day I tried it on and it zipped up no problemo. No sucking in required. YES!

So, in these last few days of workouts when my legs have felt like jelly and I’ve had sweat dripping off the tip of my nose, I’ve started to dive a little deeper for inspiration.

Motivation = needing to fit into my wedding dress.

Inspiration = something a little more sustainable and soulful.

I’ve heard a lot about positive self-talk. Likely, so have you.

But I’ve found that I often forget to turn my thoughts to the positive in moments when it counts the most.

During my high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio sessions I’ve been finding that simply looking at my timer, counting down the seconds until I give my heart a break from beating like crazy, is not that inspiring.

Sure, of course we can all do pretty much anything for 20-30 seconds. But pedaling like my life depends on it or sprinting like nobody’s business just to get through the time feels, well, kind of blah.

twitter_standingLife is not meant to be lived counting down the time.

So the other day I was riding a stationary bike that was positioned in front of a mirror. If I looked up I could see my eyes peering over the top of the little workout diagnostics screen.

On my next high-intensity interval I revved the level up to 16, looked myself in the eye, and gave it my all.

As I got to about halfway through the interval I could feel my energy waning. Instead of looking down to see how many seconds I needed to push through, I stared into my own eyes and silently said to myself:

“You’ve got this, girl! You’re amazing! Go for it! You’re doing great!”

In that moment, I tapped right back into my inner 12-year-old, cheering for my teammates and girlfriends on the soccer and softball fields. That enthusiastic little bugger knew exactly what to say! And you know what? She gave me access to a well of energy and fun that I didn’t even know was waiting there for me.

Now, I love affirmations and mantras and all sorts of incantations to keep the monkey mind between the ditches. But, what I’ve noticed is that they can often be long and complicated. And in a moment when my buns are burning and my legs look like Roadrunner, I can’t remember something long and complicated.

Instead, what’s been working really well for me during my workouts are short, encouraging phrases of love, spoken exclusively to myself inside my own head. To be honest, I’m shocked at how well it works and how amazing it makes me feel.

Next time you’re climbing a big hill (literal or metaphoric), you don’t have to recite an affirmative phrase about what a wonderful mountain climber you are, how strong your legs (or scruples, or whatever you’re working on) are, and how you climb mountains with ease and grace.

twitter_standingKeep it simple and just remind yourself that you’ve got this.

Over to you:

What do you find inspires you the most when you’re in a challenging situation? Do you have any favorite phrases of self-encouragement? What’s been your experience with affirmations?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you and continue the conversation!

If you found this post helpful, forward it to a friend who you think could use a little love and encouragement.


  • AS I set out to truly stay committed to ‘affirmations’, ‘a Mastermind group’ and my ‘contemplations/meditations’- I carefully composed a few (I mean, 8) strong affirmations to be repeated, with exhalting, yahooing, crazy positive energy twice a day….It has been over two months. There have been slips and slides in my business, my finances and in my delving in-between the Patsy I present to the world, and the Patsy I am…..yesterday, in the early morning sunshine, I wanted to throw the carefully constructed affirmations , complete with coloured markers and recycled paper….across the room. So…yes, there are moments when I need a short, with power punch….boost to my ability to focus and be, and trust and have faith….or scream, giggle and go walk the dog.

  • susan

    I’m a long time meditator yogini.., now 69 w/ osteoarthritic knees and osteoporotic hips that inhibit pretzel making and inverse poses…. to say the least.., and what me?! mastectomy almost 5 years ago. My path has always been to work on keeping calm, be attentive to what my body tells me, and keep active to solve most anxiety, elevated bp [ what?!] and doctor visits. Indeed these are good tools. However.., somehow I found 2 mantra self-talk phrases that helped when not much else did: “suck it up” and “tough it out”. They have cooled me out, lowered my blood pressure and afforded me another view!

  • Something that really helps me in hard times is respecting things I’m grateful for :)

  • I agree – the simplier the better :) My personal favourite is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This works wonders for me whether I am working out and feel like I am about to collapse or I’m feeling afraid, etc.

  • Andrea

    Thank you for this, Kate. I can so relate to the blah feeling of that encouraging self talk with I’m in the middle of it all. I could feel tears come to my eyes when I thought about giving myself this little self-encouragement. You’re brilliant! Thank you!

  • Kate,

    thanks so much for sharing this personal story! Congratulation on how far you’ve come already! This is amazing :)

    As I am training with high intensity as well I couldn’t relate more. This moment when your body gets weak, your mind needs to take over and do the last couple of seconds. Oh, who would have thought how long 7 seconds can be.

    No time for long self talk, keep it sweet and short. It’s this moment where the fighter voice appears, saying: YOU CAN DO THIS! Ha, true that, I can do this. We ALL can!! One of the first things I am telling my clients is that my workouts are designed super short, but to get the most out of it, they need to give everything and push there boundaries. This way they finish not only stronger physically, but also mentally. Love this!

    Thanks again!

  • krizia

    my mantra would be:
    I have what it takes.:)

  • Jane

    Thank you, Kate…I needed this reminder at 64 with only 2 months away from 65. I’ve always described myself as an industrial designer by career path and sculptor by passion. Early forced retirement at the end of 2012 due to closing a business startup backed me into my paradigm of financial struggle as long as I can remember. I bought the starving artist myth…HOOK, LINE, & SINKER and stood envious from the sidelines as an in-house corporate designer and design manager when talking to sculptors who had survived the lean times to build a body of work and gallery representation. Being forced into retirement has been a gift in having time to sculpt again after 15 years of financial struggle…brought on by circumstances that required a resolve to be captain of my fate and look hard and long at my old paradigms about money. I’m not out of the woods yet but I have renewed hope from the deep satisfaction of following my passion and recognizing a refinement in my work that only comes with the years. For a long time, my mantra was simply “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!” More recently I hear “You’re SO close…stay focused, believe and succeed!” And thanks to your gifts of encouragement, I’m adding…”YOU’VE GOT THIS GIRL!” Thank you, Kate. Jane ox

  • When going through cancer treatments and not thinking I could stand one more day of it my 9 year old son told me that I should think of the treatments as video game star ships shooting at the bad cells. To him it didn’t get much simpler than that. It worked for me. I would just visualize the ships shooting the cancer cells and it would make me smile and clearly I got through it.

    Now I am getting back in shape and I blast awesome music and think of the Nike saying “Go For It!” It works for me. I have just recently lost quite a bit of weight. Feels great. Feels Healthy.

    Your book and blog are wonderful, Thank you for being you,

    • Kate

      I love your sons advice. So simple and genius. Thank you so much for sharing that Diane and I’m so psyched for you that you’re on the healing path!

  • Kate I love this! YOU ROCK! I’m in an online boot camp(really just a b/c for time realtions).It’s Breakthrough Wellness. Kick the Negavitve voice aside..Look into those eyes and see who you are revealing!!! The Health is starting there…Jonathan Roche! Awesome dude and team!We have assignments like not saying anything negavtive about ourselves, listen to positive content,write out the new you reveal her/him to us…..we workout for Mood up, Energy up…30 minute interval workouts maybe after your time with this for maintance…It’s awesome!

  • Sharon Alce

    My friend who passed 8yrs ago…..would always say to me ‘life is not a dress rehearsal’ ……I hear her Saying this when life gets a little tricky…..I say to myself ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,you are doing great girl’ :)

  • Rose

    Thanks for your advise
    Lately what I’ve been telling myself
    “If your tired of starting over again
    Then don’t quit”
    Congrats and keep going

  • “You’ve got this!” is definitely my go-to, especially when that awful clock is ticking down.

    My REAL pick-me up, though, is pushing through with my husband and screaming, “You’ve got this!” at each other. It definitely makes ME push harder when I yell it to him!

  • I do gymnastics and coach it but I started quite late. Vault used to be the scariest because I had to run for it and the result was always a toss up – either seal dive across it (I have a hilarious video of this) or do a decent job and not kill myself. I always kept my coaches terrified and guessing as I ran for it… but since it’s such a quick thing, no amount of advice seemed to help me very much.

    However, one mantra my coach told me to focus on was ONE word. Not a sentence, just a little word like ‘drive’ while I’m running and forget the rest. That was probably 10 years ago and every once in awhile, I will come back to this word. It takes some practice but when you’re packing in a whole lot of courage and strength and coordination into that one word, it’s more than a mantra: it’s potent power!

  • Connie

    Kate, I’ve loved reading your stories of your HIIT because I’m doing that training too and love it almost as much as you do…LOL!! So, before I begin, I always say my little prayer to the Divine, which is “Okay, I’ve shown up, now I cast the burden of this workout to you. Do what’s right for me today.” Then, during the sprints I just repeat “Breathe” (in my head) and let the Divine handle the rest, with an idea that whatever I’m doing must be just right for me, right now, because, really, it’s the Divine doing it. Then, at the end, I don’t have to listen to that little voice that wants to say “Did you sprint hard enough?” or “Are you sure you gave it your all?”

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