Do you ever talk to yourself?
What sort of things do you find yourself saying?
Do you subscribe to positive or negative self-talk?
The way we talk to ourselves is actually key to our success.
I talk to myself frequently, not loudly causing interruption, but quietly in my head. On occasions I am not even consciously in control of what I am saying as sometimes, I just become aware of my thoughts and the conversation that is ensuing. I find myself mulling over decisions that I need to make, questioning what the priorities for the day are, wondering whether I am doing what I want to do. I talk through lists – what will I take on holiday, what do I need to do to write that book? I can talk about anything, there are no limitations and I can have the conversation as often as I wish. Sometimes, the more I do it the greater clarity I get. But sometimes it can get confusing.
Is this ringing any bells for you?
I am generally very positive so my self talk reflects that and that inspires me to make plans and move things on, but sometimes the negative self talk slips back in. Often that happens when I am tired, or overloaded or when I am wide awake in the middle of the night. When I recognise this, I work at trying to turn the negative to positive or I put off the conversation until later.
I have a challenge for you – for the next week I want you to monitor your self talk, and like all suggestions before, you must be honest with yourself. (This will get easier the more than you do it).
Be aware of this self talk and listen to it. Is it positive? What are you saying or discussing?
Get yourself a note book and jot down your thoughts. If you find yourself using words like ‘should’ or ‘ought’ then think about why you feel that way – sounds to me as if someone else is pulling the strings.
Do you hear yourself saying ‘I couldn’t do that’ or ‘I’ll do that when I get a new job/tidy the house/lose weight… ‘ What about when the talk says – ‘What’s the point?’, ‘What a mess?’
All this encourages you to look at the negative, causes you to put up barriers, and limits what you believe you can do therefore talking yourself out of taking any action.
You will find that as you begin to notice what you are saying, you will be in a position to challenge it.
Ask yourself if what you have just said is true and then try changing the negative into the positive – write it down, it is all part of this monitoring exercise. Start looking at what you can do, what you want to do and talk to yourself about the steps you need to take to make it happen. Think about a time when you have what you want and then work back to identify the steps, the big picture can be the best place to start.
Now try asking yourself this question – If I have never tried certain things (e.g. travelling on your own, making a presentation, growing tomatoes, painting a picture, cooking Paella, taking time out for you alone) before then how do I know that I cannot do it?
The answer is that you never know until you try it and to do that you have to take some action.
‘Just do it!’ – I have this written up in my office in large lettering so I have no excuse for forgetting it.
Do it at a rate that suits you, start off with small changes if that feels manageable or if the time feels right go for the big step. You will find yourself bursting with pride at your achievements and wondering why you didn’t do it before.
Now that’s all positivity!
If you’d like to explore this and other themes in more depth, take a look at our group programme Stepping into Freedom or alternatively the 1-2-1 programme Project YOU. If you’d like some help then email me on email@example.com and let’s have a chat about how I could help you.