I'm the type who always wants to know why something works. If I get a crap answer, I'll doubt the premise. If I get a logical or scientific answer, I'm apt to believe. Or, at least believe until something happens to make me doubt.
So...why does self-talk work?
- Self-talk affects the subconscious mind. It is the type of talk that chatters constantly in the back of our minds without specific, conscious thought. Things we think, but don't say. Things we tell ourselves about ourselves or about our job or our life, but don't rationalize or justify before we say them.
- The subconscious mind is programmed similarly to the way a computer is programmed, so like a computer the subconscious mind will only perform the tasks it is programmed to perform.
- Information presented to the subconscious mind causes both a psychological and a physiological response.
- The subconscious mind does not hold any biases or beliefs other than those that have already been programmed in.
- The brain records exactly what it receives without regard to where it comes from or how it get the information. The brain doesn't care whether the information is true or false, right or wrong.
- The programming you accept from others and the conscious and unconscious directives, pictures, feelings and thoughts that you transmit to yourself in your own control center of the brain--the subconscious mind.
Before we get into the examples of what we should be saying to ourselves, it would be beneficial to recognize what types of phrases we should not be saying.
What NOT to say:
- Nothing ever goes right. (a.k.a. Could just one thing go right?)
- I'm no good at ... (fill in the blank) (a.k.a. I'm not that creative/smart/ambitious)
- Why should I try? It won't work out anyway.
- I can't get caught up. (I don't have enough time. This is too much work.)
- I've tried, I can't.
- What is wrong with me today? (a.k.a. Why isn't my mind working?)
- It's just not my day.
- I'm so tired.
Now, I consciously make the effort to change my thoughts around by restructuring my sentences.
Mini personal story: At my work, there is one particular doctor who is incredibly challenging to work with. My self-esteem always seemed to take a hit after a shift with her. I developed my own "mantra" for self-talk repetition whenever we worked together. I am enough. I do enough. I know enough. This short, quick, easy little string of words greatly enhanced my working experience with her and reduced the stress during those days.
Things TO say:
- I'm making progress.
- I can handle this.
- I'm willing to try.
- I am in control of this.
- I am excellent at ... writing/singing/problem solving
- I have a fantastic ... mind/talent/ability with people
- I keep trying.
- I'll get it.
Most of these are generalized. I've put options related to how you could tailor them toward your writing life in (parenthesis).
**Remember, the key to making self-talk work isn't simply repeating the words over and over. But, visualize, feel it, live it and infuse gratitude.
Creativity: Because creativity is the essence of writing.
It's not a question of whether you can be more creative. The question is only whether you will allow yourself to exercise the creativity you already have. ~Shad Helmstetter
- I see my own creativity as the key that unlocks my true potential (as an author).
- I admire and respect others who use their own imagination to benefit themselves and others (their characters).
- I know others see me and respect me as a creative, resourceful individual (writer).
- I am not afraid to try the untried, walk new paths or search for new or better alternatives in my life (writing).
- Today, I am more creative then ever before.
- Since my imagination has no limits, my creativity knows no bounds.
- The more I practice using my creative mind (writing), the more creative (successful) I become.
- My own creativity allows me to unlock the source from which all ideas flow (bestsellers are born).
- I am a bestseller. I am a bestseller. I am...oh, sorry. Got a little carried away there.
- I am never afraid to try. I enjoy staying with it and moving forward.
- I give myself freedom to fail and reap the success those attempts have brought me.
- I prepare myself with the knowledge and skill I need to succeed.
- I place great value on taking action. I see what needs to be done and I do it.
- Both the quality and the quantity of what I do (my writing) is important to me. The rewards I achieve are worth the investment I make.
- I look forward each day to increasing my effectiveness (word count) and accomplishing more.
- I have faith, I have courage, I have belief--in myself and my writing.
- Each day I have more hope and conviction in my ability to solve any problem (craft a novel worthy of the bestsellers list).
- I never give up. I am a winner, and I give myself the energy and belief to come out on top (of the bestsellers list).
- I like challenges and meet them head on.
- My will, my strength, my determination are always stronger than any problem I face.
- I know every problem holds within itself the keys to its own solution.
- I have good ideas and I am able to express my ideas in a clear and interesting way. (I'm a killer storyteller.)
- People like the way I express myself, and they enjoy hearing my thoughts and ideas. (People love my writing and enjoy reading my novels).
- My mind gives me the words I need, right when I need them.
- To me, a good risk is a bridge to my success and a doorway to greater opportunity (the next contract).
- I am willing to accept those risks which are necessary for the fulfillment of my goals.
- Any risk I accept is a healthy new force in my life. A challenge and worthwhile goal. Another win in the making.
- I have the courage to do what I need to do (write on the edge) to get where I want to go (to the best seller's list).
- I enjoy seeking and finding new opportunities in my life (publishing).
- I never allow the word "no" to stop me or even slow me down.
- I look forward and never look back.
- I am creating a bright, positive, successful future for myself.
- I know where I'm going (I will be a bestseller), and I'm well on my way.
- I carefully guard the time I set aside for things which are important to me (writing).
- My time and energies are gifts which I protect and give by my choice, not the dictates of others.
- Saying no is easy for me. I am confident, self-assured and in control of my life.
I would love to hear some of your own positive self-talk.