More on the importance of self-talk

Several weeks ago I wrote a post on the importance of self-talk. It addressed research reported by Jeff Hadon in The Motivation Myth. You can find that post here.  Today, I would like to expand on that post and give some additional examples of how self-talk impacts our lives.

Eliminate choice in your speech

Believing that we have a choice presents a huge obstacle to achieving our objectives, because having choices forces us to decide what we want to do. The brain is naturally lazy and it doesn’t want to waste its limited energy making these kinds of decisions. Your brain would much rather follow a rule that has been converted into a habit.

For example, if you say, “I want to” rather than “I have to,” you are much more likely to get to work on time, workout, and eat the right foods. By changing what you say to yourself, you have eliminated choice. The task is now nonnegotiable, and you do it.

Another example. Stop saying “can’t” and start saying “don’t.”

How to use self-talk to overcome temptation

Can we use self-talk to overcome temptation? We most certainly can.

When we tell participants to say “I can’t, they give in to temptation 61% of the time. When we tell them to say “I don’t” , they only give in only 36% of the time.

In another experiment, participants were told to set a personal long-term health and wellness goal. When their motivation flagged, one group was told to say, “I can’t miss my workout”. Another group was told to say, “I don’t miss my workout”. A control group was not given a strategy.

Ten days later the researchers found:

• Three out of ten control group members stuck to their goal.
• Only one out of ten told to say “I can’t” stuck to their goal.
• Eight out of ten “I don’t” group members stuck to their goal.

Not only was “I can’t” less effective than “I don’t”; “I can’t” was less effective than using no strategy at all.

Why does this occur? If we say, “I can’t”, we give ourselves a way out. When you “I can’t,” you automatically start to look for excuses, reasons why you can.  Saying “I don’t” encourages the brain to find ways to ensure that you do because that is the person you have become.

The morale of this story

The morale of this story. Be careful what you tell yourself. Someone important is listening. Eliminate choice. Make it clear to your brain what you will do.

Next Steps

If you enjoyed this post, make sure that you check out some of our other posts on this website. Here are some posts that may be of interest.

Comment, Share & Subscribe

Also, be sure to let us know what you think. We really do care. Let us know what topics you would like us to address.

Comment below and please share this post with others.

There is plenty more to come. If you want to be sure not miss any of these posts be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

The Importance of Our Self-Talk

Much of what we feel, understand and accomplish every single day happens as a result of our self-talk. Our ability to work, solve problems and respond to our environment is controlled by this self-talk and the questions we ask ourselves consciously and unconsciously. It is critically important that we understand the importance of our self-talk.

Importance of Self-Talk

The basic purpose of our brain is to help us make decisions which keep us alive and self-talk plays a major role in this.

When you ask yourself a question, your brain searches until it finds answers that are acceptable to your conscious mind. What is acceptable is determined by what you have been conditioned to through language patterns, experiences and repetition over time. You can ask yourself any question and your brain will automatically find an answer.

How Questions Work

Questions, according to Tony Robbins in his quintessential book, Awaken The Giant Within, accomplish three things:

  1. They immediately change what we’re focusing on and therefore how we feel.
  2. Questions change what we delete. Often, we feel bad because we delete all the reasons we could be feeling good.
  3. They also change the resources available to us.
Questions can be Empowering or Dis-empowering

The questions we ask ourselves can either be empowering or disempowering. You can ask disempowering questions that make you think about things that make you feel bad and block you from taking action. Or you can ask empowering questions that make you feel good and motivate you towards achieving your goals.

For example, what is more empowering?  Asking what will happen if I fail or what will happen when I succeed?  Pretty obvious isn’t it.

Results of asking better questions?

As you get used to asking yourself better questions, doing so will become  more and more automatic. You will begin to ask yourself better questions, even without knowing it.

When you learn you to ask yourself better questions,  gradually over time, you will find that you are making better decisions. Additionally, you will feel more positive, motivated, and confident.

Empowering Questions that Tony Robbins Asks Each Morning

Some of this self-talk  can be routinized and given structure. Here is a list of questions that Tony Robbins asks himself each morning:

  1. What am I most happy about in my life now?
  2.  What am I most excited about in my life now?
  3.  What am I most proud about in my life now?
  4.  What am I most grateful about in my life now?
  5.  Who do I love? Who loves me?
Problem-Solving Questions

Here are some additional  questions that Tony Robbins recommends for dealing with problems that arise throughout the day.

  1. What is great about this problem?
  2. What is not perfect yet?
  3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
  4. What am I willing to do no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?
  5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?

What new empowering questions are you going to ask yourself?  Let us know in the comments below.