Remember when you were a kid; you believed you could do anything. However, as we age we learn there are some things in which we do not excel. Many times we take these defeats and begin to generalize them to all kinds of new situations we encounter. Before we try a new activity we often engage in a kind of internal dialog. Many times we reflect on our past failures and begin an internal dialog which is negative in nature. We will label this negative “self-talk”. Because negative “self-talk” is automatic in many cases, it takes practice to effectively stop it.
The more you practice, the better you’ll be at interrupting negative “self-talk” before it leads to self-defeating actions. Therefore, I challenge you to learn how to apply the following three steps to replace negative “self-talk” with positive “self-talk”.
- Become Aware of Negative “Self-Talk”
The first step is to recognize your internal dialogue. Without awareness, we often begin to tell ourselves all the reasons we cannot succeed. These negative thoughts might paralyze you and prevent you from trying new and rewarding things.
- Label the Negative “Self-Talk”
After you have recognized that you are engaged in negative “self-talk”, identify and label it as such. Recognize negative “self-talk” is often not based on facts but on our own fears. This will help you perform the third step.
- Replace the Negative “Self-talk” with Positive “Self-talk”
To perform the third step, replace negative “self-talk” with positive “self-talk. This language should be encouraging and focused on what you need to do to perform well. It should also identify the reasons you can succeed in this activity. However, it should not be overly optimistic as to be implausible, and it should not require others’ approval.
I close this blog by saying: It’s important and necessary to replace negative “self-talk” with positive “self-talk because if the negative internal dialogue is not stopped, your morale, attitude, and actions are often negatively affected. In some cases, it may even immobilize you. Imagine if your internal dialogue, which, I have been told, consists of 500 to 600 words per minute, was positive and encouraging – Wow!! You might or would be able to regain that confidence of youth and actually accomplish all great things you thought you would.