As we head into the new year we are again challenged to reflect on the days gone by and plan for the days ahead. While the desire to wipe the slate clean and start fresh is inviting, it can also be daunting. We often hear people make statements about New Year resolutions that run the gamut from positive to negative, motivated to defeated. So, we wonder about why some can set and achieve goals and others find this to be too challenging.
The answer may lie in our self talk. We are conditioned over time to subconsciously listen to our own inner voice that has developed over all the years of our lives. This voice is not simple. It is the culmination of many things including our perceptions and how we are wired to internalize the messages we receive from the outside world. Our self talk is what drives us to get up in the morning and accomplish all that we achieve in a day. It may also be what holds us back and sabotages our ability to be the best version of ourselves.
The following article is a great read that both sheds light on self talk and offers great ideas about how we think about and engage in our own self talk.
CHANGE YOUR SELF-TALK
Author: Arina Nikitina
“The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.” ~Ralph Charell, American Author
Scientific research claims that human beings think anywhere between 12,000-60,000 thoughts in a day. More than 90% of these thoughts are not new. They are the same as you had the day before, the week before or the month before. And more than 80% of these thoughts are negative and self-critical.
“I don’t think I can do this.”
“Why did I ever agree to this?”
“I am always making the same mistake.”
“When will I ever learn?”
“I better remember to do this or else – .”
“My hair doesn’t look great.”
“They’re going to think I am stupid.”
“I’m always struggling, why does this happen to me?”
“I know I can’t do it.”
“I am going to make a fool of myself once again.”
“I am late again.”
“So many problems …”
“Well, she’s late again …”
‘Why doesn’t he get it?”
You probably don’t realize how much negative self-talk affects your life.
Causes clutter and lack of clarity
Creates overwhelm and stress
Drains energy – lots and lots of it
Wastes a whole lot of time
Clouds your thinking – you cant see solutions or possibilities
Causes depression – you feel miserable, hopeless, powerless – all you can see is a bleak future
Affects your experiences
Creates the same reality over and over again
Change your self-talk, change your life
As simple as that? Well, it is indeed simple:) Your mind is a powerful creative tool (thoughts, images, ideas, emotions, …) that conspires with the universe to create your life.
Why not then indulge in positive self-talk that will change your life? Just imagine how much time and energy you could save by getting rid of 80% of your thoughts which are getting you nowhere?
Observe the Patterns
The first step towards changing your self-talk is to observe the patterns.
What triggers your self-talk?
How long on an average does it go on before you catch yourself?
What’s the favorite topic? Your performance at work? Your abilities? Your kids? Your life in general? Your relationship? What people are thinking or saying about you? Your unspoken rule to be “perfect”?
What do you feel? Guilt? Frustration? Anger? Resentment? Fear?
Carry a small journal with you and jot down notes. It’s a powerful way to capture your thoughts and feelings. As you journal, you slowly detach yourself from the self-talk and assume the role of observer. It helps you get a different perspective of yourself and your life. The notes also help track progress over time.
Reduce the intensity of the words
For e.g. “I hate to do this …” can be changed to “I don’t like to do this …”. It’s still not positive, but the word(s) are less intense and negative, and drastically change the way you react and feel. The milder usage of words won’t ruffle up your feathers as much and you hold control over what you choose to experience and feel.
Shift towards neutral and positive self-talk
Now move the negative self-talk to more positive or at least neutral grounds.
Instead of saying, “I can’t …”, say “I can … if I get some…”.
Instead of saying, “This is impossible!”, say “Let’s see
what can be done”.
Explore creative ways to come up with positive or neutral statements.
The next time you are telling yourself, “Oh! I can’t …”, become curious. Ask yourself,
“Hmmm, Why do I think I can’t?”.
“How true is that?”.
“What is it I can do?”.
“What support will I need to get it done?”
“Is it really that hard? Or am I just thinking it is hard?”
Or if it’s, “My hair is looking bad again…”, ask yourself,
“Who said my hair is looking bad?”
“Do I want to do something about it?”
“How true is that?”
“What can I do about it?”
“How can I take better care about it?”
“Who can help me on this?”
Or if it’s, “Why doesn’t he get it?”
“Is there something I am missing?”
“Let me look at this from his angle.”
“Why don’t I talk to him and find out what’s happening?”
The objective here is to break the thought pattern and stop your subconscious from just playing back information repetitively. It runs like a program and doesn’t tire at all! So, catch it before it goes into an infinite loop!
And once you reprogram your subconscious with positive self-talk, it’ll become your default tendency. It’s just a matter of time. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit and create a new one.
Track your self-talk. What percentage is positive?
How can you increase the positive self-talk?
List 5 benefits you’ll enjoy when your self-talk is more positive and productive.