We all know that how we choose to speak to other people determines the course and quality of our relationships, work lives, and interactions with others.
Yet, how often do we consider how our own inner language impacts our personal thoughts, actions, and overall mindset?
I invite you to ask yourself, “Would I speak this way to my friends and family?” when considering your own self-talk. If you find your inner world to be less positive than you would like, continue reading for some suggestions on quick word swaps that will improve your inner monologue both now and in the future.
Suggestion #1: Replace “should” with “could.”
I “should” implies shame and sets yourself up for defeat and self-ridicule. I “can” or “could” makes the situation an empowering decision you are now choosing to make for yourself. Thoughts such as, “I could do my homework now” or “I could take a walk today” are much more inviting and lead you to accomplishing your tasks instead of feeling defeated by them.
Suggestion #2: Replace “I have to” with “I choose to.”
We have more options and choices in life than we think. We choose to go to school, to attend or not attend classes, and to invest or not invest in relationships. We make many choices every day and the actual list of things we absolutely must do to survive is, in reality, very short. Replace statements like “I have to go to work” with “I choose/am able to go to work today.”
Not everyone has the opportunities and abilities to go to school or have a job. We show gratitude and improve our own attitudes by acknowledging this through our language.
Suggestion #3: Replace “I can’t” with “I’ll give my best.”
With practice, there are many things that we learn to do over the course of time.
Using the word “can’t” shuts down any hope we have of accomplishing that task or at least makes it a lot harder to attempt or succeed. Instead of saying you “can’t,” try, “I’ll do my best,” “I’ll work at learning to do this,” or “I will be able to in the future.”
Suggestion #4: Replace “It’s too hard” with “I haven’t learned this yet,” or “I’ll try.”
Of all the things there are to know about in the world, no one person can possibly have the mental capability to know anything and everything.
The next time you encounter something completely new or difficult, instead of focusing on how hard it is or what you don’t know or understand about the subject, focus on your ability to learn, ask questions, have experiences, and your willingness to take these actions.
Suggestion #5: Replace your negatives with positives.
For example, “I’m so tired” could easily become, “I’ve been working really hard lately, so I’m choosing to go to bed early and get more sleep tonight.” It’s important to acknowledge how your body and mind are feeling and then decide if you want to continue that routine or if would like to change that feeling.
“I don’t have any time” might become, “I have plenty of time to tackle more important tasks if I prioritize today.”
You may indeed have too many items on your plate to complete in just one day, but prioritizing and then working on those items will help you strategize and be able to use your time better.
Suggestion #6: Replace “never” and “always” with “I have or have not in the past.”
Oftentimes we speak in absolute statements such as, “I am always late,” or “I never get a break” that are seen as negative.
The odds of these statements always being true are quite rare, which then makes these statements somewhat inaccurate. Instead of using “never” and “always,” try using, “In the past, I have usually been late. In the future, I would like to be on time or maybe even early.”
This simple switch is not only a little more realistic, but also gives you the power to acknowledge something you do or do not want to continue doing, both physically and mentally.
Having the self-awareness to make positive situations such as in the suggestions subsequently listed, you give yourself the power to make positive changes.
Making a few of these changes will help catalyze self-talk and a better overall mindset, so start thinking intentionally today!