Think Self-Talk won't work on you? Try this simple exercise and prove to yourself that positive affirmation training is a powerful tool for personal development.
Step 1 Start by evaluating your current state of mind. How are you feeling right now? Take a little time to rate your present mood on the following seven-point scale. Be as honest and objective as you can. Remember, you are doing this in the privacy of your own heart and mind.
Step 2 Now read the following sentences, one at a time, and briefly consider whether you agree or disagree with the statement right now. Don't dwell too long on any sentence, but don't hurry either. Just read them slowly and gently, and ask yourself for a few seconds, "Do I agree with this right now?"
I am feeling about as usual today, neither better nor worse.
Still, I've had some special things happen today.
I can think of something beautiful about today.
Today may not be the very best day of my life, but its not bad at all.
I sometimes feel very happy
I can recall an especially happy experience I've had.
My feelings are my own; I can create my own experience.
When I think of the people who love me, I feel a little surge of warmth.
Maybe the whole world does not admire me, but there are people who look up to me and respect me.
I have confidence in the things I do well.
Compared to some years ago, I have grown enormously.
When I have doubts, they are often a sign of strength, not weakness.
I have a strong commitment to improving myself.
Sometimes I think that I'm really a pretty good person.
Sometimes I forget how fortunate so much of my life is.
I like a lot of things about myself.
I like a lot of things about the people I care about.
I take special pleasure in a nurturing home life.
I have a promising future.
Sometimes I can clearly imagine how good things are going to be for me.
When I think of how far I've come, I feel a surge of pride and pleasure.
I have solved some difficult problems in the past, and I will no doubt do so in the future.
I am able to be self-confident, strong and loving.
I have a pervasive sense of well being.
I respect myself a lot.
Sometimes I feel joy.
There are people in my life who really know me, appreciate me and deeply love me.
I have great strength and stability.
I can see sunshine and blue skies in my future.
It's not wrong to love yourself; in fact, loving yourself makes it possible to give more love to others.
I can see a lot of doors opening up for me today and in the future.
I have some really pleasurable experiences.
Sometimes I get frustrated about the little things and forget how good things look in the big picture.
I am basically a positive, optimistic person.
I like to smile with genuine happiness.
I have a great sense of humor.
I am really a very kind and friendly person.
If the whole world were populated with people like me, world peace would be more likely.
I sometimes feel like laughing out loud with joy.
Joy is not so difficult to achieve.
Life has moments of ecstasy.
Happiness is just a state of mind.
I feel more and more in charge of my experience.
I am basically a joyous, loving person.
I am capable of a lot of fun.
I can choose my own experience.
My life is mostly joyful.
Step 3 Now, how do you feel? Once more, rate your mood on the seven-point scale below:
Grab a pen and paper. Right now, we are going to dismantle a negative thought pattern and replace it with (you guessed it) positive thinking! This technique takes only a few minutes and can yield tremendous results.
1) Find a quiet spot where you won't be interrupted for at least 30 minutes. Turn off the phone, and remove any other potential distractions.
2) Sit quietly for a moment and think of a goal, desire or situation you are facing where you are lacking a positive attitude or where you are less than completely content. It may be a relationship that needs repair, a worry you are struggling with, a business you want to start or some important task that you have been avoiding. Maybe you have to give a speech and you are feeling apprehensive. It can be small or large.
3) On top of the page, write a title for your goal, desire or situation.
4) Without stopping, write all negative attitudes, beliefs, and criticisms that come to mind around this topic. Once you get rolling, you may need more than one page! Write down attitudes about you (I am ..) and others (He/She is...) and the world (It is…) and what you fear will happen. Think of this as mentally 'throwing up'. Be intent on expressing all negative attitudes completely and honestly. You will destroy this paper and no one will ever read it, so do not sugar coat. Most importantly, do not stop writing to edit or evaluate.
5) When you feel like all the statements are complete, put down your pen and reflect how you feel. You may feel a slight lift in your attitude at this point. The simple act of expressing negative attitudes can be a relief, but you’re not done. Your thinking on this topic is getting a complete overhaul today!
6) Think of good friend or loved one, past or present - someone you really care about. Image that person coming to you with a similar goal, desire or situation. How would you feel if they confided in you the same negative attitudes and statements? You might feel some compassion for that person. You would want to set them straight, right? Good!
7) As if you are playing the role of rational friend or family member, write a rational rebuttal / counter to each negative statement. Keep them short (one to three sentences) and simple. You now have a rough list of your personal positive affirmations.
8) Review, refine and practice these affirmations 20 minutes every day for the next four weeks. In a short while, you will develop a powerful, sizeable list of affirmations. Like any deeply rooted habit, overcoming your negative self talk will required a moderate amount of practice. But it is not difficult to develop and master this skill. The positive impact on your attitude and self-confidence will be tremendous.
Learning to talk to yourself in ways that motivate and encourage is crucial to your personal and professional success. If you ignore this basic fact, you'll pay a hefty price in your happiness and well being. Each of us can instill positive thinking that motivate us to new levels of success.
A good definition of a positive thought is one that supports you in being and achieving your best - thoughts that increase your self esteem, increase happiness, and support the achievement of your goals, desires, and dreams.
We are constantly judging, interpreting and commenting on the world, ourselves and other people. However, most of us are not aware that much of this inner dialogue is holding us back from reaching our highest potential. Don't fall into the trap of assuming that your automatic thoughts are serving your interests.
Consider the following example. A woman has started an exercise and diet program. She is enthused and follows the program to the letter. In a few weeks, she begins to see results and is encouraged by her progress. One afternoon, she opens the refrigerator to find a piece of chocolate cake. Immediately and without her being aware, her inner dialogue whispers: "That cake will taste great. I exercised today and I've earned a reward. I deserve it. Its not that much. "
She eats the cake but even before she is done, her inner dialogue scolds:
"I have no control. I'll have to work much harder now. This fitness stuff is too hard. My diet isn't working. Its not worth continuing. I am doomed to be out of shape."
Her negative thoughts have cost her twice! Her fitness goal was undermined and then her self esteem and confidence were damaged.
This is one small example of hundreds and maybe even thousands of times in a single day when we behave in ways that don't align with the goal of a happy, successful life. In silent, subtle ways we sabotage ourselves and our dreams - we avoid a person or situation, we give it less than our best shot, we give up too early, we assume someone is reacting negatively to us, etc.
Its clear that negative thoughts hurt our chances for success. Without consciously implementing positive thinking programming, our results will probably remain unchanged over the years.
The first step in positive affirmation training is developing an awareness of your internal dialogue. When you do, you may be surprised at what you find: I can't do it, I never finish anything, Its too hard. These are just a few examples of common, everyday negative thinking patterns. You will need to exert some effort, especially at first, to identify these negative thoughts as they occur. The trick is to become good at noticing them.
Make a commitment today to carry a notebook with you for a few hours and capture as many automatic negative thoughts as you can. Even in this short period of time, you will begin to see some re-occurring patterns.
Once you are aware of your inner dialogue, it's easy to view negative thoughts as a plague that must be eliminated! Actually, these thoughts are a natural function of the mind to protect you from pain such as failure or embarrassment. The goal of affirmation training is not to eliminate your inner dialogue, as if that were even possible! The goal is to manage and improve this automatic dialogue. It’s possible to create habitual positive thoughts that support you instead of defeat you.
How do you do it? The same way your current dialogue got installed - repetition. With enough practice of positive affirmations, your thoughts, feelings and behaviors will support you instead of hindering you. Positive thinking training, like a workout session at a gym, is not a cure but rather a process. Think of it as a healthy habit that you will gladly practice for your entire life. It is not difficult and does not take a lot of time but it does take repetition and consistency.
When do you know you have it? There comes a point in your training when a negative thought arises and it occurs simply as an invitation. You experience it not as a command, but as a choice. You then have the freedom to make the choice that serves your highest good. With affirmation training, positive thoughts occur naturally and you are able to behave in a way that supports you and your goals.
Going back to the example above, lets look at some healthy self talk that would produce a much different result:
"I love feeling and looking fit. That cake doesn't taste as good as being fit feels. I'm proud of my efforts and discipline. I look good now and I intend to look even better in the future. Staying fit is possible for me."
She chooses to not eat the cake. Now she benefits twice - she is proud of her decision and her fitness goal is intact. Now she really does deserve a reward - a healthy one!
The road to thinking positive begins by observing and studying your own inner dialogue and practicing writing, listening, and speaking positive affirmations. You'll be glad you did.
When you procrastinate on an important task for any length of time, stress and anxiety are sure to follow. The tendency to procrastinate is common to all. Here are some tips to get yourself motivated on that important project you've been putting off. Recall, if you will, an important task where you procrastinated. Now, consider how much stress and anxiety you created for yourself by putting off this task. Conversely, how much joy, pride and satisfaction is lost when you don't pursue an important goal? Clearly, the price you pay for procrastination is high. The fact that you are reading this indicates you probably have come to a similar conclusion. In fact, managing procrastination may be the single most positive action you can make to improve the quality of your life.
What Makes Us Procrastinate? Procrastinators often suffer from strong negative self-talk and a cruel internal critic. Some common themes of procrastination self-talk include: