Negative self-talk can stop you from reaching your goals. It undermines your self-confidence and often what you tell yourself has a way of becoming reality. In other words, what you tell yourself can support you in achieving your goals, or undermine you.
The good news – there are strategies you can use to talk back to that negative voice in your head, things you can use to flip your thinking to the positive and support you in achieving your goals.
- Notice negative thoughts when they pop up. Acknowledge them for what they are – just thoughts that you can change if you choose. Writing down your thoughts and flipping them to the positive can help you learn to make the flip more easily.
- Challenge your thinking. Once you’ve become aware of negative thoughts, begin to challenge them. Ask yourself, are these thoughts really based on truth? Most likely not. On the off chance they are, ask yourself what you could do to make things different?
- Use positive statements. Avoid the words “not” and “don’t.” Studies show that your brain doesn’t really grasp the concept of what you are not; it registers what you are. In other words, if you say, “I am not weak,” the brain registers “I am weak.” So instead, be positive and say, “I am strong.”
- Use the present tense. State self-talk in the present tense – here and now statements to help you take action. Instead of, “I’ll be better tomorrow,” say, “I am making a choice to be different now.” You may choose to act a different way or feel a different way. Focus on being different in the moment rather than how you were in the past or will be in the future.
- Identify what you want to achieve and state it as a fact. Rephrase your statements to see a goal as a reality. Instead of, “I hope to walk three times this week,” say “I am going to walk three times this week.”
- Focus on behaviors you can control. Use “I” statements. Create positive self-talk that deals with you and your goals. Say, “I am eating healthy foods this week” instead of, “I am losing three pounds this week.” Realize that you cannot control the actions of others, or the outcomes, but you can control the choices you make.