“I’m a born failure. There is no way I can get that job. I can’t carry that dress off – I’m too fat. Why do these things happen to me? Why am I so unlucky?” Are your conversations with yourself along these lines? Do you find yourself reprimanding yourself every time you make a mistake or wallowing in self-pity?
If the answer is yes, you need to pause, breathe and show yourself some love. We spend a lot of time with ourselves and in that span of time, it really matters what we are feeding our brains because your internal dialogue plays a massive role in your motivation and productivity levels.
Why Practice Positive Self-Talk?
Positive self-talk is not just another ‘self-help’ term. It’s real, powerful and it works. When you have positive conversations in your head and treat yourself with compassion, it boosts your physical and mental well-being. It fills you with hope and optimism, encouraging you to set aside your fears and put your best foot forward.
Here are the three key ways positive self-talk can benefit you:
1. Boosts Confidence
Practicing positive self-talk is a surefire way to elevate your confidence. It’s an instant uplifter because it comes from a place of self-love and hope. When you tell yourself with conviction that you can overcome anything, you are bound to get a renewed sense of confidence which enables you to do your best.
2. Improves Mental Health
If you are prone to feeling anxious and depressed, you might just need a shift in the way you talk to yourself. Your mental health matters and a crucial part of taking care of it comes from becoming aware of your thoughts and self-talk.
When you bombard yourself with all sorts of negativity, there is no way you can wake up feeling good about yourself. You need to take control of your thoughts and be kind to yourself. The day you do that, you ought to see an improvement in your mental health.
3. Enhances Performance
Imagine being nervous about an interview or demotivated to write an essay and not being able to come out of that mindset because the only thing you are telling yourself is how incompetent and useless you are. How can you expect yourself to excel if you don’t believe you can?
When you challenge your negative thoughts and choose to feed your brain with positive affirmations instead, you realize you are much calmer and are able to approach matters more pragmatically. This enhances your motivation and overall performance.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh
How to Make Self-Talk More Effective?
Positive self-talk is not something that happens overnight. It’s a practice that needs to be developed over time, and it starts with making a shift in your perspective through embracing a positive mindset.
Here’s how you can transform your internal dialogue and uplift your outlook:
1. Be Mindful
Words are powerful – they determine your actions. To eradicate negative self-talk, you need to become aware of the way you talk to yourself. Identify problematic words that disrupt your confidence and damage your self-esteem. Notice if you are being too hard on yourself.
For instance, if you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong or set impossibly high standards for yourself, chances are you are being overly self-critical. While you cannot suddenly put a stop to that, being mindful of your thoughts and words is the first step towards changing that pattern.
Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately become your default thought process. Try this – every time a negative thought crosses your mind, challenge it and convert it into a positive and encouraging one instead. Make this a practice until it becomes a way of life.
The next time you find yourself saying, “I won’t crack this interview”, ask yourself “why not? The least I can do is give it my best.” It’s simple and gradual changes that can improve the way you talk to yourself and transform your mindset.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
3. Draw Boundaries
In spite of trying hard to be kind to ourselves, there are instances when people around us don’t let us make that change. From being sarcastic and passing derogatory remarks to being plain discouraging – toxic people exist. Identify such people who affect your mental health and draw boundaries to keep them out. Surround yourself with positive people who you can draw strength and inspiration from.
4. Believe in Yourself
Positive self-talk is more than just saying positive affirmations for the sake of it. It’s way deeper than that. It’s about believing in yourself because when you instil that belief in yourself, nothing can stop you from attaining success and being happy. Believe in your capabilities and you will eventually see the difference it makes in your thoughts, words and actions.
Practicing positive self-talk is powerful enough to change your life. So, the next time you find yourself being too hard on yourself, stop right away and learn to look at the bright side of things because sometimes, all we need is hope.
What do you think about engaging in positive self-talk? Does it work or not? Share your thoughts with us below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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