It’s embarrassing when someone catches you talking to yourself out loud, but these self-chats aren’t senseless babble: The things you tell yourself every day can impact your mindset and the approach you take toward your fitness and health.

Most of us want to grow and improve in various aspects of our lives, but that growth isn’t always easy because we are in a battle between our old habits (of mind and action) and our desired new set of habits, says Michael Gervais, Ph.D., psychologist and director of high performance for DISC Sport and Spine Center in Newport Beach, California. One of those habits is our self-talk. “Our inner dialog, both verbalized and private, is how we make sense of the world,” he says.

And listening to your personal conversations has the power to either increase your quality of life or hamper you from reaching your objectives. If you’re struggling to build the body you dream of, take a step back and listen to yourself. Hear any of the following common negative self-talk statements? Then keep reading for expert advice on how to rephrase your language and start checking off those fitness goals.

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