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Self Talk

By jeff 0
Is Your Self-Talk Sabotaging Your Goals?
It’s pretty well known that positive thinking and having an optimistic mindset can play a key role in how successful we are in pursuing and achieving our goals. On the other hand, endless streams of negative thoughts can leave us stressed out, exhausted and unproductive.
A good indicator of whether your thinking is primarily positive or consistently negative, is your self-talk. Self-talk is the constant inner dialog we have with ourselves throughout the day. This dialog can be positive or negative, and can have a huge impact on your mood. Most of the time we’re not really conscious of it and don’t realize when we’re being negative, or even downright disrespectful, to ourselves.
When self-talk is mostly negative we tend to be irritable, less productive and possibly even have feelings of anxiety or depression. On the other hand, when self-talk is mostly positive, we tend to be more productive, feel better about ourselves and those around us, and are more likely to make healthy choices for ourselves.
What does your inner dialog look like? Are your conversations with yourself encouraging and uplifting, or do you have a tendency to second-guess yourself, put yourself down, or limit yourself due to negative self-talk?
Take this short quiz from to see how you rate on self-talk. Then, keep reading for a few tips on how to change your self-talk.
Take the 10 question quiz: Answer either 1 or 2, and keep track of your responses.
1. If a friend cancels lunch with me at the last minute, I assume that person is angry with me even if he or she never said so.
2. If a friend cancels lunch with me at the last minute, I imagine he or she is sorry because I am confident that friends enjoy my company.
1.I tend to be hard on myself. I might be self-critical or overly judgmental about my appearance, behaviors or feelings.
2. I tend to cut myself slack in difficult situations, and I try to accept my shortcomings and view them as opportunities for growth rather than flaws.
1. If a friend is angry with me about something, I might think of even more things he or she might be angry about.
2. When I have a conflict with someone, I think calming thoughts and remind myself that I am a good person and that things will be OK no matter what happens.
1.I know my weaknesses and think about them often.
2. I know my weaknesses, but try to focus on my strengths.
1.I have been known to over think things to the point of upsetting myself unnecessarily.
2. I tend not to over think things because I feel comfortable and/or confident in my initial decisions.
1. When I am challenged by adversity, I tend to feel hopeless and/or powerless.
2. When I am challenged by adversity, I tend to feel strong and able to tackle the challenge.
1. I don’t typically compliment myself, even privately or in my own mind.
2. I am able to compliment myself and receive compliments.
1. When I feel angry, sad or afraid, I panic because it’s hard to help myself feel better.
2. When I feel angry, sad or afraid, I am OK with it because I know the tools to manage those feelings.
1. If people could play a tape of my mind, they would be surprised that my thoughts are as negative as they are.
2.  If people could play a tape of my mind, they would view me as a positive person.
1. I am kinder to others than I am to myself.
2. I am as kind, or kinder, to myself than I am to others.
Add up the numbers from your answers:
1–10: Your mind tends to be filled with an excessive amount of negative self-talk, which can be emotionally burdening. Try to work toward being nicer to yourself and making your thoughts more positive. Perhaps try to take extra time out to look for the good in yourself and in situations. Make an extra effort to listen to your self-talk so that you can identify what is causing the moments of dread or fear and attempt to shift your perspective and see things from a more objective point of view.
10-20: In general, you have good skills when it comes to positive thinking. You tend to be great at encouraging yourself and speaking to yourself in an affirmative and healthy way. When you hear yourself becoming negative, stop yourself and see if you can look at the situation (or judgment) from a different, more positive perspective.
Some tips for improving your self-talk:

• Listen for negative self-talk. Start with something you know you are typically negative about and focus on one way to approach it more positively.

• Check your self-talk to see if it is in line with your goals. For example, if you are backsliding from your goals, rather than being overly critical, “ugh, I did it again,” “I’ll never get this right,” trying giving objective, instructional self-talk that is specific to the task, “chin down, hips back.” Motivational self-talk is also helpful, “keep at it,” “you can do this.”

• Learn to find humor in things. There is so much freedom in learning to laugh at yourself. It promotes self-acceptance, and is a great stress reliever.

• Surround yourself with positive people who are supportive of you and your goals.

• Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice positive self-talk, the easier it becomes. Follow this rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else


The Mayo Clinic lists some example of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them:
Negative self-talk
Positive thinking
I’ve never done it before.
It’s an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too complicated.
I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
I’m too lazy to get this done.
I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine some priorities.
There’s no way it will work.
I can try to make it work.
It’s too radical a change.
Let’s take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me.
I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I’m not going to get any better at this.
I’ll give it another try.
Practice these implementing these positive thinking twists every day. Change won’t happen overnight, but eventually you’ll find your self-talk is less critical and more accepting of yourself. Positive feelings about yourself can promote a positive outlook in general, help you be more productive and stick with your goals, and make healthier choices for yourself.


author: jeff


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