Are You Ready for a Change? Attitude is Everything

Posted: Aug 03 in Weight Management Strategies by

by Heather R Mangieri, MS RD CSSD LDN with thanks from Tracy Boykin, RD

This is an excellent blog post on the American Dietetic Assn site. Enjoy!

“Have you heard the famous quote by Henry Ford, “Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right?” I have seen this quote written a few different ways, but the meaning is the same. And, it’s true! The idea that we need to believe in ourselves to have success can be identified as far back as Henry Ford’s famous quote. But it was in 1977 with the publication of Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying Theory of Behavioral Change, authored by Albert Bandura” that the idea became really popular.

As a registered dietitian, I work with private clients on weight management and sports performance issues weekly. When I first meet with clients in my office, I start with these very important questions:

  1. Why are you here?
  2. What is your expectation of me {as your dietitian}?
  3. Do you believe you can obtain your goals?
  4. Who or what is holding you back from your goal right now?

These questions may seem simple, but the answers that I receive give me far more information than you may think. That’s because attitude is everything when it comes to getting what we want in life. Whether we want to be faster, stronger or leaner, believing that we can obtain our goal is a key determinant of whether or not we’ll be successful. When we blame others for our lack of success or we expect others to “fix us”, we have already set ourselves up for failure. When we are plagued with self doubt, are chances for success suffer.

For most of us, identifying goals we would like to accomplish or things we would like to change is the easy part. Creating a plan to get it done often proves to be a bit more challenging. And beyond that, an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.

Albert Bandura describes individuals with a strong sense of self-efficacy in the following way:

  • They approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered
  • They set themselves challenging goals and maintain a strong commitment to them
  • They heighten & sustain their efforts in the face of failure
  • They quickly recover from setbacks and disappointments
  • They attribute failure to insufficient effort or deficient knowledge & skills which are acquirable (i.e. they take personal responsibility and do not place blame on others)

In contrast, he describes people will poor self-efficacy as:

  • They shy away from difficult tasks which they view as personal threats
  • They have low aspirations and weak commitment to the goals they choose to pursue
  • They dwell on their personal deficiencies & the obstacles they will encounter
  • They give up quickly
  • They are slow to recover from failure or setbacks

Where do you fall? Whether or not we have a strong sense of self-efficacy may date back all the way to our childhood experiences and is not something that we can change overnight. However, learning daily positive self talk is something that we can all start today. It is a choice to be positive. It is a choice to be happy. It is a choice to live a healthy lifestyle. We have to talk to ourselves every day and say the positive words out loud.

So, repeat after me: “I can load my plate with half fruits and vegetables at mealtime. I can squeeze in 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. I am in charge of my decisions and I can make positive changes.”

{Add your own goal here}: ________________________________.

See that! You are on your way already!

See the original post here


Leave Comment