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The Secret to Self-Talk: How to Motivate and Root for Yourself First

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There are few things more important than to surround yourself with people who have your back when times are tough or cheer for you in your successes. These motivators pick you up when you’ve been knocked down, point out all the great things you’ve accomplished when you didn’t think you could, and help you keep your sights on achieving your goals. But, no matter how many outside motivators you have in your life, at some point, you’re going to be alone—just you and your thoughts. What happens then?

Every failure, disappointment, or setback in life has the power to tear you down. However, they also have the power to build you back up stronger, wiser, and smarter than ever. It’s not the event that matters; it’s how you handle it internally. Specifically, it’s how you talk to yourself when there’s no one else around.

Here are 5 steps to ramping up your self-talk game and giving yourself the motivation and perseverance that you need, anytime you need it.

1. Eavesdrop on your thoughts

Before you can improve your self-talk, first, you have to find out what’s currently being said in your mind. We are all in constant conversation with ourselves, but much of it takes place unconsciously—recycled or habitual content we’ve told ourselves year after year. Eavesdrop on your own thoughts for a while. Don’t try to change the conversation quite yet; let it play out as if you were simply sitting down on a park bench and watching the pigeons. Awareness is key to any desired change.

2. Clear out the old tapes

Now, as you listen closer and discern the different voices, phrases, and beliefs, trace them back to their origin. You’ll probably realize that many of the words or sentiments are not yours but belong instead to your parents, friends, old teachers, mentors, or past adversaries. These voices and people have taken up residence in your mind without your permission (and often without your knowledge). Now is the time to start showing some of these voices the door. You don’t need to keep replaying Uncle John’s cutting remarks about your potential. Nor do you need your family’s fears superimposing on you and holding you back.

Now is your time. You are not the person of your past; you are not a Russian doll in a stack of Russian dolls obligated to carry the family fears and doubts with you. You are your own person, with your individual potentials, goals, and dreams. Stake your claim to your individual journey.

3. Get friendly with your emotions

As you listen, the constant white noise of chatter might soon differentiate, and you’ll detect the various voices of fear, anger, jealousy, uncertainty, or other underlying emotions. It’s not always easy to accept that all these emotions belong to us, but emotions are what define us as human beings. If channeled properly, they can perform their true role as messengers, helping us grow stronger, savvier, and even showing us the way forward.

Here are some examples of how you might start dialoguing with your emotions:

“I hear your concerns, Fear, but this is good for our growth. Buckle up.”

“Envy, thank you for showing me what I want most. Now, I’m going after it.”

“I know that last speech didn’t land like you hoped, Guilt, but we’re better prepared this time.”

“Every rejection is a reminder that you’re in the game, Shame!”

“Be mindful of your self talk. It’s a conversation with the universe.” – David James

4. Talk to yourself as you would talk to others

What’s your initial response when you send an email but quickly realize you forgot the attachment? Do you beat yourself up for it, or do you laugh it off, addressing the error and moving on? Additionally, how long do you replay or rehash mistakes or missteps in your mind?

Chances are, you’re harder on yourself than you would be on anyone else. Notice the difference between how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake and how you talk to others for making similar mistakes. Next, consider what you would say to someone else in the same situation. How would you boost them up? What might you say to encourage them to refocus? Then, work to offer your same wise advice—wrapped in kindness, patience, and understanding—to yourself.

5. Try talking to yourself in the third person

Now that you’ve cleaned out your mind and committed to practicing more kindness toward yourself, it’s time to get talking. But—how?

Most of us tend to talk to ourselves in an “I” language. However, a study on self-talk shows that it works best to use the third person instead. According to this study, when we use “I” language, it tends to slant negative, despite our best efforts. For example, we might say, “I don’t know if I can do this.” When, instead, we speak in the third person, it naturally sounds more positive, such as, “Mary, you’ve done this a thousand times before, you’ve got it!”

We all need to surround ourselves with people who can build us back up when we’re down. But the most important person to do this work is you. To ramp up your self-talk game, start listening in, clear out any old tapes, make friends with your emotions, talk to yourself as you would anyone else—and try using the third person! These small shifts might be all you need to put successful self-talk at the top of your motivational toolbox.

Happy conversing!

Keri Mangis is an author and freelance writer/speaker. Her work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Addicted2Success, The Good Men Project, Mindful Word, Thought Catalog, The Edge Magazine, Essential Wellness, and others. She writes about culture/society, spirituality, personal growth, transformation, and empowerment. She is the award-winning author of Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness. Learn more about Keri’s journey here.

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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