3 simple ways you can change the way you talk
and improve your life

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we say to others and, definitely, about what they say to us. How much time do we spend thinking about how we talk to ourselves and does it matter? I have discovered three simple ways that you can change the way you talk to yourself and improve the way you live your life.

1. Start talking in terms of what you want to do

When we want to improve or get something done we very often tell ourselves we should or must do it, in the hope that this makes it more likely that we will. Often we are focussing on a task that doesn’t appeal to us, but we will be doing it (or needing to do it) for a bigger reason or cause. Generally that reason is something positive, that will enhance our lives in some way. Whether it is going for a run or doing your paperwork to do your tax return, there will be a positive payoff for you in it, whether it is getting fit or de-stressing, or filing your tax return so that you can have that great feeling when it’s done! Instead of saying ‘I should go for a run’ instead you can say ‘I want to go for a run’. If you refocus on that positive, it will be much more likely that you will get the job done.

2. Say ‘I don’t’ instead of ‘I mustn’t’

This is a tip I picked up recently although I’ve changed it slightly (5 science-backed ways to break phone addiction). If you say ‘I mustn’t check my phone last thing at night’ or ‘I mustn’t have another biscuit’ then you are implying there is some external force that is compelling you, that you must obey…..or rebel against because we can come to resent these diktats that restrict our little pleasures. Instead say ‘I don’t’, this way you are defining the better you that you would like to be so that you can more easily be that person. ‘I don’t check my phone last thing at night’ is so much more empowering.

3. Talk to yourself as a friend

Some of the things we say to ourselves we would never say to a friend. How often do we call ourselves stupid when we make a mistake, or say things like ‘I’m such an idiot’ when we have missed doing something, or broken something. Calling yourself stupid is you at the same time both defining who you are, and criticising yourself for being that. This disempowers you. If you talk as if being stupid is part of who you are then it puts it beyond your immediate control. If, on the other hand, you refer to it as something you have done, then it is under your control. You can change what you do much more easily than you can change who you are. So don’t define yourself by your mistakes, they are just things you have done.

The language we use shapes how we define ourselves, so take control. Stop defining yourself by your mistakes, use language to define a better you, and focus on the positive payoffs you are seeking in life

 

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