How you 🗣 communicate with yourself has an astonishing influence on your behavior. Research shows that ➕ positive self-talk has the 💥 power to manage anxiety, enhance confidence and performance, as well as motivate behavior change. If you find yourself setting the same goals over and over again (think: valiant attempts to get 8 hours of sleep per night, or limiting treats to 2-3 times a week) yet struggle to make meaningful progress there’s a chance you’ve been focusing on the symptoms instead of the source of the problem.
Maybe you internally doubt whether you really deserve to spend time on yourself and your health? Maybe it’s scary to really commit yourself to changing your habits and going after a big goal because you fear you might fail? Maybe you tend to only see things in black and white and struggle to not give up all together if your habits and choices aren’t “perfect”?
If any of those hit 🏡 home for you then it’s time to hone in on your self-talk. And you are certainly not alone. Those doubts are all-too-common and can lead you to engage almost constantly in negative self-talk. These internal conversations set the tone for how you make decisions. Consider the following example: if you don’t really believe you deserve to spend time and energy working on yourself and your health imagine how difficult it will be to get up and out of your warm bed at 5 a.m. in the middle of winter to get to a 6 a.m. personal training session? Similarly, if you tend towards perfectionism and narrowly define success as getting to the gym five times a week and never having a class of wine, cookie or slice of pizza imagine how tempting it will be to just eat five more slices of pizza after your first one since your diet is already “ruined.”
As you can see, the issue isn’t only that 🗣 self-talk messages are often negative but moreover that the messages aren’t true. The irrational and disparaging stories you tell about yourself aren’t helpful. They get in the way of all the hard work you’re doing to reach your goals. If you make a conscious effort to tell yourself you are strong and capable of working around the obstacles that come your way you are much more likely to engage in goal-oriented behavior than if you continually berate and criticize yourself. The process of flipping an inner script to a more rational, productive form of self-talk won’t happen overnight but here are our top 4 tips for getting started:
🤔 Think ahead. Giving yourself space to logically assess temptations and potential stumbling blocks and using a positive, sustainable and realistic view of yourself and your life allows for well-thought-out decisions. Take for example weekend brunches with your friends in which you regularly over-indulge and spend the rest of the day upset with yourself. The old voice in your head will present you with the false dilemma of either skipping these fun experiences altogether or just resigning yourself to being hungover, stuffed and feeling defeated every Sunday. In reality there is wonderfully balanced third option of enjoying your time with the people you love and being picky about your indulgences. If you are dying to have a mimosa then enjoy it and go for the vegetable omelet. Or if you’ve been dreaming of rich, creamy French toast all week go ahead and dig in but stick to sparkling water.
🗝 Find a key phrase. Use this phrase to snap yourself out of the negative 🗣 self-talk riptide. Something simple but meaningful like “health is wealth” or “I can do great things” can be a quick touchstone for remembering your worth and true motivation when making decisions especially when you’re tired, hungry or stressed. It might feel a little silly at first but staying attentive at the beginning can help the process become second nature. Feel free to put your own spin on this. Some people like to speak the phrase out loud whereas others stick to just thinking it to themselves. Perhaps you find it most helpful to write your phrase down somewhere visible like your computer desktop or bathroom mirror. You could also try touching a regularly worn piece of jewelry when thinking the key phrase as a token of sorts. Go with whatever helps you actually use your phrase to re-frame your thoughts and re-establish your value.
📣 Make it a team effort. We often have a much easier time encouraging our friends or loved ones than we do cheering ourselves on. (Unfortunately this is especially true for women who are often pressured to believe that self-confidence will be misconstrued as vanity or arrogance.) Remind your friends of their strengths and positive qualities whenever you hear them start to pick themselves apart and they will return the favor. Creating allies will reinforce the practice of positive self-talk and is a huge part of the strong, supportive community here at True 180. Go team!
⌚ Take time to check in. This can be something you choose to do each day or you might check in weekly. Be sure to put it on your calendar and treat this time like an important meeting. Look back over your experiences and ways that positive self-talk helped you stick to goal-oriented behaviors. Feel good chemicals in your brain work overtime when you reflect upon your successes and will further bolster faith in your abilities. Then take a little deeper look at what didn’t go as well as you would have liked. You’ll already be in the right mindset to see setbacks as something to learn from instead of something to be discouraged by so use what worked as a springboard for strategies to get around what wasn’t working. True 180 coaches are great resources for strategizing so don’t hesitate to reach out to us or set up a Starting Point Session to kick off working with us or an accountability call for current T180 Ladies!