I Think I Can: The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. When you look at the person in the reflection, do you see someone who has what it takes to succeed, to reach her goals, and achieve her objectives? Is that person in the mirror one you admire and root for? We all like to think we’d answer in the affirmative, but is that true? Is self-doubt and fear weighing you down? It’s time to replace your limiting beliefs with more positive alternatives. Start by noticing what you say to yourself and making changes to negative statements. Don’t think it’s that easy? Listen to this: Researchers at the University of Thessaly in Greece analyzed 62 studies on self-talk. Their review found that across those studies positive self-talk improved sports performance. Ready to give it a try?

Tune in.

The little voice that whispers to us is stealth. You may not even realize what cautionary tales you’re muttering to yourself. Start to reverse course by paying closer attention to what you’re saying.

Weigh it.

Some things require skill sets that you may not possess. Not all of us will hit a walk-off home run in the World Series or swim our way to Olympic gold. If that nagging little voice is telling you, as an example, that you don’t have the chops to record a Grammy winner, maybe it’s right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace your inner musical diva by honing the skills you do have and developing a hobby that brings you joy. Weigh the words of the little voice. Keep it in perspective.

Reframe it.

We’re more willing to talk down ourselves than to talk down to others. If you wouldn’t say to me “Cheryl, you’re out of your league. There’s no hope for you to climb that corporate ladder to the heights you envision,” then why would you say it to yourself? Try this. Whatever the little voice is whispering, replace “I” with your name or the pronoun “you” and then say it aloud. Hear it? Now change it.

Make a plan.

The nagging little voice of self-doubt is a roadblock that stands between where you stand today and where your dreams are waiting. That’s the crux of the issue with the voice. Your dreams require progressive steps – sometimes baby steps, and sometimes giant leaps. Silence the self-doubt by making a game plan. How will you get from here to there? What path of self-development and growth can you take to inch you closer to the goal line? Focus on that.

Say it. Say it louder.

Now change the dialogue. If the little voice has been whispering, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never done this before,” say back: “This is an opportunity to grow. You will learn what you need to learn to be successful. You’ve got this!” Don’t just whisper it in your inner voice, either. Say it aloud.

Get a hand.

Sometimes positive self-talk needs to start with affirming external forces. If you’re having trouble finding the right words to boost yourself, seek out a coach or a mentor to get the ball rolling. A coach can help you tune into what the voice has been whispering and then give you the tools to drown it out.