Positivity really does matter. The more you talk yourself up, the more likely you are to adopt—and maintain—healthy habits

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The power of positivity is pretty undeniable. Self-affirmation (which Google handily defines as "the recognition and assertion of the existence and value of one's individual self") can change your perspective, make you feel happier, and give you a jolt of motivation. And that's especially true when it comes to adopting or maintaining healthy habits. (Try these 18 Inspirational Fitness Quotes to Motivate Every Aspect of Your Workout too.)

Trashing your bad habits (or hearing someone else do so) can threaten your sense of self; self-affirmation, then, alleviates that threat. In fact, positive self-talk, can actually make you more receptive to health advice, according to a study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. (Read more about why Eating Right and Gym Motivation is Mental.)

Researchers found that people who received self-affirming messages registered higher levels of activity in a key brain region while being given health advice, and were able to maintain those levels in the month following the study. Those who didn't receive the positive instruction showed lower levels of brain activity during the health advice-and maintained their original levels of sedentary behavior.

"Our work shows that when people are affirmed, their brains process subsequent messages differently," Emily Falk, lead author of the study said in a press release."Something as simple as reflecting on core values can fundamentally change the way our brains respond to the kinds of messages we encounter every day. Over time, that makes the potential impact huge."

And it's as easily said as done! If you tell yourself something positive, you're more likely to have a more positive outlook, and better luck at sticking to your healthier habits. So start talking yourself up! (These Motivational Mantras are an excellent way to break the ice.)