ONLY. You use this word every day, and it's innocuous -- until you use it to downplay your achievements. Saying "only" doesn't just take away from your hard work, you could be trivializing someone else's accomplishments. Here are some places the word only doesn't belong:
I went running, but I only ran a mile.
I do exercise, but only once a week.
I only have time for 20-minute workouts.
So why does it matter how you talk about your workout -- whether you're talking to yourself or others?
Never discount the effects of your words and thoughts on your overall fitness. A positive attitude really does wonders for your motivation, as well as your ability to push yourself while working out. Positivity shouldn't end when you're finished with your run or your Zumba class. Be proud of your efforts, and recognize that even when you feel like you're not doing much, there are a lot of people who aren't working out at all. Every little bit counts!
Even if you're using the word "only" as a way of being humble or trying not to boast, keep in mind that the person you're speaking to might be doing less than you but be (rightfully!) proud of their own workout. This comes up a lot with runners -- there's a tendency to downplay one's speed or distance they race, without considering that no matter how slow you think you are, there are always going to be slower runners than you. How do you know you're not unintentionally offending someone when you say, "I ran a race over the weekend, but only a 5K." What if the person you're speaking to has been working their way up to running two miles? How do you think your statement makes them feel?
If you find yourself using "only" to speak about your workouts, take some time to evaluate why you feel the need to downplay your hard work. Do you feel like if you're not able to commit to what you think you should be doing for exercise? Maybe recognizing that you may have perfectionist tendencies could help you be a little less hard on yourself. Are you afraid of people who are in better shape than you making a judgment on your workout? First of all, if someone is actually purposely trying to belittle your efforts, then that's their issue and has nothing to do with you. Only unhappy people try to make others feel bad. But if being judged is just something you worry about, consider what you would think if a friend was explaining they have "only" one day a week they can fit their workout in. Would you judge them, or think they are doing as much as they can right now? Chances are, you're being judged positively rather than negatively.
Remember, words are powerful. They impact the way we feel about ourselves, whether we mean them or not. I challenge you to start appreciating what you're acpable of in your workouts. Celebrate your success, and be proud of your hard work!
Do you downplay your workouts? Has anyone ever judged your workout?
Image via MilitaryHealth/Flickr