For any self-improvement concept to work, it has to be simple. We don’t have enough time in our busy lives to take an hour out of our day to sit quietly and meditate, nor do we have thirty minutes to sit down and write about our day every day then turn around and analyze it. So this one idea, this one concept, I have found to be the most helpful in making changes and sticking to them: Self-Talk….or rather, talk to yourself in a manner that is positive. Telling yourself you are “already there” could possibly be the biggest key in changing the direction of your life and keeping it in the right direction. And probably the easiest and less time-consuming self-motivational exercise there is.
Stop and ask yourself: What do I say when I talk to myself? Are you filling your mind with negative thoughts, which lead to negative feelings, which promote actions that are not in alignment with your goals and dreams? This is self-talk, the things we are telling ourselves. This can make us or break us.
Little White Lies: When they work…
I’m not big on lying, however, it may be the key to really making changes within yourself. It goes hand-in-hand with the saying “Fake it until you make it.” When I look back on all the times I’ve had success in my life versus when I have failed, that concept definitely promoted success—huge success! By telling yourself you are already there, you trick your mind into believing you are that successful person and magical things really start to happen. For example, if you tell yourself you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, then you are going to have to drag yourself out. But if you wake up and are thankful that you have another blessed day to live and be active you will hit the ground running.
Out of all the self-motivational techniques, positive self-talk seems to be the easiest to stick with, and the most successful. Dr. Shad Helmstetter agrees too. He even goes on to talk about how people go to motivational seminars and get all pumped up but then when you take away the motivator the person loses their momentum a few days later and falls back into the same routine as before.
This is so true! I’ve lived that. And what I’ve found to be true is that there is no greater motivator for me, than me. I can be my greatest cheerleader or my own worst enemy.
There are four different levels of self-talk that Helmstedder addresses, and I’d like to share them with you:
Level 1 Self-Talk: People spend most of their time in level 1 of self-talk, which is negative self-talk: When you say something bad or negative about yourself and you accept it. This is not where we want to be! Here is an example of Level 1 self-talk: “Today is not my day.” “I can’t run two miles.” “I can’t stop eating those potato chips.”
Level II Self-Talk: Level of Recognition and Need to Change
Ex: “I need to quit smoking.” “I need to start eating better.” This level still works against us. It recognizes a problem but creates no solution. It’s like saying, “I know I need to do that, but I’m not.”
Level III Self-Talk: The level of the decision to change. It’s the first level of self-talk that works for you and not against you! You recognize the need to change AND you make the decision to do something about it. You state the decision in present tense as if the changes are already happening. For example, you start using terminology such as “I never….” “I never miss a workout.” “I never get upset at work.” “I never eat more than I should.” “I don’t put off things I could do today for tomorrow.” “I love my body.”
Level IV Self-Talk: The level of the better you and the most effective type of self-talk we can use. At this level you are painting a new picture of the way you really want to be. You are using your vision I talked about in my earlier blog. Here you are seeing yourself in your mind’s eye as already being that successful image you are striving for. Level IV Self-Talk is characterized by the words “I am.”
Ex: “I am going for it!” “I am self-motivated, and I belief in myself.” “I am eating clean and losing weight and I can see changes in my body daily.” “I am in control of my life.” “I’ve made the decision to become the person I’ve always wanted to become.”
Can you imagine how your life can drastically change if you are using this technique daily instead of always talking down to yourself? I challenge you to use this for a solid 24 hours and then reflect back and see how much easier your achievements were. Try forming this habit to help you out: When a negative thought pops into your head, push it back out with a positive one! Lie to yourself until it’s the truth! It really is that simple.