Self-Talk in 4 Steps

A very underrated tool to help athletes succeed is positive self-talk. Self-talk is useful because it can be used in so many different avenues of life outside of sports.

So, not only is it beneficial as a way to settle yourself down or encourage yourself when you are participating in your sport, it can also help you in the classroom, at home, and just about any place you need it in your life now — and in the future.

Positive v. Negative Self-Talk

Whether we care to admit it or not, all of us talk to ourselves. It may not be verbally, but there are constant conversations going on in our mind, helping us decide what to do, how to do it, etc.

It’s not just about decisions either, a lot of us have internal dialogues about how we should be feeling. This is self-talk in its simplest terms. It’s our own voice in our head that tells us we can or can’t do something, the one that tells us how happy or sad we should be.

Let’s take a quick look at the differences between positive and negative self-talk.

PositiveNegative
“I CAN do this!”“I CAN’T do this…”
“I WILL accomplish this goal!”“I WON’T accomplish this goal…”
“I AM good at this!”“I’m NOT good at this…”
“I BELIEVE we can win this!”“There is NO WAY for us to win…”
“This will be EASY!”“This is too DIFFICULT…”

By simply reframing the way you look at things and how you think about them, you can develop into a much more confident person.

The power of positive self-talk is that all it takes is a minor reworking of the things you say to yourself, which provides a major change in your mindset.

One key thing to remember though, is always keeping your positive self-talk realistic and believable.

When you tell yourself things that are unbelievable and unrealistic, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

The intention may be in the right place, but when you don’t perform up to the standards you’ve set for yourself internally, you may become discouraged and fall right back into the negative self-talk trap.

The 4 Steps of Positive Self-Talk

Here at AthleteTypes, we recommend these four steps when beginning to engage in positive self-talk:

(1) Come up with a mantra: Your mantra should be something short and sweet to tell yourself in order to maintain positivity and focus. Here is a very good example of Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez saying her mantra, “I got this” to herself right before her routine at the 2016 Olympics:

Remember to keep your mantra short and sweet, something you can tell yourself in an instant and be ready to roll right after.

(2) Expand your vocabulary: After you have your mantra set, you can begin to increase the amount of inner dialogue you have with yourself, introducing more positive phrases and messages. By doing this, you will begin to condition yourself to have positive reactions to things as opposed to automatically responding negatively.

(3) Match your scenario: Establishing your mantra and expanding the positive vocabulary you have at your disposal leads into the next step, which calls for using those phrases and positivity in situations where they actually make sense. Matching the positivity to the correct situation is crucial because it ties everything together and gives the statements more impact on how you receive them.

The more specific you make the positive self-talk to your current situation, the more effective it will be!

(4) Create positive images: Use the positive words and phrases in your arsenal to paint pictures in your mind of what you envision success to look like. This will bring the clearest vision of your success.

Want to learn more about how to develop great positive self-talk habits? Check out our Mental Gym workout on this exact topic by searching for it HERE.

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Featured Image: Photo by Erwan Debuire on Unsplash

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