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Mastering the Art of Self-Talk

Each one of us engages in self-talk. Do you find yourself saying things like, “Urgh, I’m late again,” or “It would be just like me to mess up this presentation?”

Wouldn’t you rather hear things like, “I did a fantastic job on that project,” or “My clothes are fitting better now that I’m exercising more?”

Mastering the art of self-talk means you speak truthfully and positively to yourself. When you are skilled at this, you’ll feel empowered and encouraged. As a consequence, your days will be happier, you’ll work harder to achieve your goals, and you’ll feel better about yourself.

The power of your self-talk is all-encompassing. Your self-talk influences what you believe about yourself and how you’ll behave in the future.

Try these techniques to help you master this life-affirming art:

1.     Keep it real. When you’re honest, you’ll feel more comfortable with yourself. If you know you could have done better on a work project, acknowledge it to yourself. Part of making progress and improving in life is being genuine with yourself about what you’re doing. You can do this without being brutal.

2.     Avoid self-criticism. Although being honest with yourself is important, do it in a helpful and informative way. Instead of saying, “I messed up,” acknowledge your decision to perform to a higher standard. Tell yourself how you’ll respond in the future.

3.     Be positive. Talking to yourself in negative or self-deprecating ways is self-sabotage. If you hear the same things over and over, you start to believe them. Make sure what you say to yourself is positive.

4.     Focus on your strengths. As you listen to your inner voice throughout your day, you’ll notice that you inadvertently make comments about yourself. Saying “Why did I do that? That was dumb,” isn’t very conducive to moving forward and doing your best.

·       Instead, if you recognize your strengths in the situation, you’re compelled to move ahead and tackle the next task with gusto. You might tell yourself, “At least I thought the situation through and believed I was doing the right thing. Next time, I’ll do things differently.”

5.     Be nice to yourself. When you’re talking to yourself, are you kind? Do you take care with your own feelings? When you show a caring attitude toward yourself, you’ll also perform better.

Substitutions in Your Self-Talk Using These Suggestions

·       Instead of saying: “Nothing I do ever turns out right,” try, “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, “Now I’m going to do my exercise DVD” or, “I’ll walk this evening right after work.”

·       If you were going to say, “There’s nothing really special about me,” change it to, “Everybody has strong points and mine are…”

Do you see how what you say to yourself influences what you believe and the choices you make in life? To ensure that your self-talk is empowering and encouraging, practice the tips above. You have the power to create the life you want by mastering this crucial art.

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