We all talk to ourselves—it's human nature. But what you might not realize is that the things you say to yourself can have a profound impact on your life, for better or for worse. This internal dialogue is known as self-talk, and it's one of the most important things you can focus on if you want to improve your life. Here's a closer look at what self-talk is, why it matters, and how to do it right.
What Is Self-Talk?
At its core, self-talk is simply the things you say to yourself internally. It can be positive or negative; mindful or mindless; loud or quiet. But what sets self-talk apart from regular old thinking is that it's usually laden with emotion. This internal dialogue can affect how you feel about yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.
Think about it this way: if you tell yourself that you're stupid, clumsy, and destined to fail, chances are good that you'll start to believe it. Once you believe it, your actions will reflect that belief, and voila! You've talked yourself into failure before you've even really begun. On the other hand, if you tell yourself that you're smart, capable, and worthy of success, those same emotions will guide your actions, and before you know it, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals.
So why is self-talk so important?
When used correctly, self-talk can be incredibly powerful. Positive self-talk has been linked with increased motivation, improved performance, reduced stress levels, and increased mental toughness. And those are just a few of the benefits!
In short, positive self-talk can help you achieve just about anything you set your mind to—but only if you do it right. There's a big difference between helpful positive self-talk and harmful positive affirmations.
OK, any tips?
Now that we know how amazing self-talk can be, let's take a look at how to do it right. After all, there's no point in using self-talk if it's not going to be effective! Here are a few tips:
Be Realistic: One of the biggest mistakes people make when using self-talk is being unrealistic. Telling yourself that you're going to lose 20 pounds in two weeks or run a marathon tomorrow morning when you haven't even put on your running shoes in months isn't going to do anything except set you up for disappointment (and probably some injuries too). Instead, focus on setting realistic goals and giving yourself achievable deadlines. For example: "I will lose 2 pounds this week by eating healthy meals and exercising for at least 30 minutes three times this week." See the difference?
Be Specific: Vague statements like "I'm going to be successful" or "I'm going tighten up my diet" are pretty much guaranteed not to work because they lack any real direction or meaning. To get the most out of your self-talk, make sure your statements are specific and actionable. For example: "I will call 5 new potential clients today" or "I will pack my lunch every day this week instead of buying lunch out." These specific statements give you something concrete to focus on—and achieving small wins like these will help keep you motivated as well.
Self-talk is an incredibly powerful tool—but only if used correctly! Keep these tips in mind next time you sit down to chat with yourself and watch as your life begins to change for the better.
But what do I know, I’m Toasted…
-The Toasted Chief