The Importance of Self-Talk
Do you find yourself saying things like, “I know I’m going to be late again, I always am,” or “It would be just like me to mess up this presentation?” We all engage in self-talk that is destructive.
Wouldn’t it be better if you told yourself things like: “I did a fantastic job on that project,” or when you have a very challenging task, and perhaps you didn’t quite get the results you wanted, you could still say to yourself, “I made more progress on that challenging task than I have before”?
Mastering the art of self-talk means you speak truthfully and positively to yourself. When you do this regularly, you will feel better about yourself and become empowered and encouraged. The result is, your days become happier, you work harder and more enthusiastically to achieve your goals, and you like yourself more.
The way you talk to yourself is powerful and all-encompassing. Self-talk influences what you believe about yourself and how you’ll behave in the future.
Use these techniques to help you control the way you talk to yourself:
Keep it real. If you’re honest, you’ll be more comfortable with yourself. If you know you could have done better on a work project, own that fact. A vital step to making progress and improving in life is telling yourself the truth, and you can do it without being brutal.
Avoid self-criticism. Although being honest with yourself is crucial, do it in a helpful and informative way. Instead of saying, “I messed up,” acknowledge your decision to perform to a higher standard next time. What did you learn from the experience? Tell yourself how you’ll respond in the future.
Be positive. It’s easy to sabotage yourself when you talk to yourself in negative or self-deprecating ways. You’ll quickly start to believe the message if you repeat and hear it over and over. Make sure what you say to yourself is positive.
Focus on your strengths. As you listen to your inner voice throughout the day, you’ll notice how you inadvertently make comments about yourself — saying, “Why did I do that? That was dumb!” will not help you move forward. Instead, recognize your strengths in the situation, so you’ll feel compelled to move ahead and tackle the next task with renewed enthusiasm. Tell yourself, “I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Now I know what to do, and next time, I’ll do things differently.”
Be kind to yourself. When you talk to yourself, are you kind and gentle? Think about how you would speak with someone you love and care about. You probably wouldn’t be too harsh. Talk to yourself with the kindness and gentleness you would show to someone else. When you show a caring attitude toward yourself, you’ll perform better.
Change your language when you speak to yourself:
Don’t say: “Nothing I do ever turns out right,” instead say, “I am focusing on how I can succeed when I do this particular task.”
Rather than thinking: “I should have gotten up early to exercise this morning,” say, “I’m going to do my exercise DVD now” or, “I’ll walk this evening after work.”
If you were going to say, “There’s nothing exceptional about me,” change it to, “Everybody has strong points, and mine are…”
What you say to yourself influences what you believe, as well as the choices you make in life? Make sure your self-talk is empowering and encouraging. When it is, you’ll have the power to create the life you want.