Seeking out the proper diet and workout programme is usually the first thing people do after finally making the decision to lose weight. Without much thought, they jump right in, believing that sooner or later they will see the results they are after.

However, if the mind is riddled with negative self-talk, limiting beliefs and other negative thought patterns, no amount of dieting or exercise will get the job done.

The reality is, if we want to change things on a permanent basis, then we must first deal with the source of the problem – our minds and the thoughts they feed us. That comes before anything else. Everything else is a result of that including our weight and fitness levels.

Negative self-talk and thought patterns do nothing but hold you back from experiencing the progress you hope to be making. You must rid your mind of these limiting beliefs and set yourself free if you ever hope to open the door to success.

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You need a healthy mindset to eliminate all negative self-residue. Here are a few strategies you can employ to get the right mindset in place…

Pay attention and train yourself to catch these negative
Pay attention and train yourself to catch these negative "nasties" as your mind replays them and "re-frame" them so they are positive in nature. Getty Images

The first thing you should do to get into the right mindset is to take a hard look at your current self-beliefs in regards to your goals. You must begin listening to each statement that you say to yourself. Do you berate yourself and tell yourself that you'll never reach your weight goals? Notice the negative repetitive patterns as they play out. Are you hearing repetitive statements such as "you'll never stick to a diet because you never have so why try again?"

The idea is to learn to pay attention and train yourself to catch these negative "nasties" as your mind replays them and "re-frame" them so they are positive in nature. This gives you a much greater chance of experiencing success. In other words, any serious self-esteem issues must be sorted out first if you are going to see the results you hope for. For every negative self-statement, you hear, repeat three positive self-affirming beliefs to turn them into positive ones.

The second component to getting into the right frame of mind is goal setting.

You must have proper goals in place - without them there is no driving force to reach the end results you're after and more importantly, there's no way of establishing how far you've come and how far you must go. You have something to gauge yourself against.

Goals help to keep you motivated and envisioning success. Every time you reach one of your goals, you get a boost to your self-confidence that you can indeed "reach whatever it is you set your mind to." That's the mindset you're after.

It's hard to know how far you've come and where you're going with vaguely defined goals. Use the SMART goals principles: S – specific, M – measurable, A – attainable, R – realistic, T – time-based, to help define them.

Ultimately, it is also important that you equip yourself with some powerful motivational strategies that you can tap into anytime your drive is slipping. Different one's work for everyone, so try them out and see what works best for you.

Here's a few to get you started:

Take progress pictures – images are very powerful and seeing the physical changes taking place is incredibly motivating, especially for women. Capture your image every few weeks and you'll notice changed taking place and this will inspire you.

Engage a family member, friend or co-worker who has been talking about losing weight and make a contest of it. Getty Images
Engage a family member, friend or co-worker who has been talking about losing weight and make a contest of it. Getty Images

Set Rewards

– Who doesn't love a reward? They are extrinsic motivation, meaning the primary motivator comes from outside of you. Some find this type works best for them while others find intrinsic motivation that comes from within such as being healthier or having greater self-esteem is a greater motivating force. Find what's the better fit for you and use it.

When setting rewards, set larger ones for the goals that take more effort and are harder to achieve and smaller ones for your mini-goals. These rewards need to be unique to your goal achievements so that they continue to motivate you.

Creating Competition – Engage a family member, friend or co-worker who has been talking about losing weight and make a contest of it. If you love competition, this will ensure you are pushing yourself!

Once you get a healthy mindset in place and working for you, achieving your health and fitness goals is much easier!

■ Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.