“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!
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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