Positive Self talk is essential to success.

Words matter.

The way we talk to each other matters, but the way we talk to ourselves is even more critical.

The most important conversations we have are the ones that take place in our heads. This constant, internal dialogue, what psychologists call “self talk,” isn’t just idle chatter.

It’s instrumental in creating our sense of identity – it’s the ever-deepening story we tell ourselves about who we are


The way we talk to each other matters, but the way we talk to ourselves is even more critical.

The most important conversations we have are the ones that take place in our heads. This constant, internal dialogue, what psychologists call “self talk,” isn’t just idle chatter.

It’s instrumental in creating our sense of identity – it’s the ever-deepening story we tell ourselves about who we are

You know the script:

I can’t do it

Yes you can. Keep going.

This is killing me.

C’mon – you can do it

But – but but it’s too hard

So it goes…..

At the highest levels of human performance, among the stars of Ama Dablam and K2 and Everest summits, the difference in physical ability is pretty small.

What separates those who do it over and over again from those who don’t isn’t necessarily their bodies — it’s their mental strength.

As you already know, positive thinking is one of the four habits of the mentally strong.

And positive – self talk is critical to a positive mindset. It’s how an athlete, executive, entrepreneur, mother in labour can talk themselves through pain and control their effort through internal dialogue.

As you probably already know, when you talk yourself down, your performance suffers.

When you talk yourself up, your performance improves. This positive self-talk can be learned, improved and used to drive yourself forward. And that’s what we’re going to do right now.

The first thing to know is that there are three importance types of self-talk: Motivational, Instructional and Reward.

First, and probably most familiar to you, is Motivational self-talk. This includes all of those affirmations and mini pep-talks you use to get yourself going.

It’s how you talk yourself into or out of everything you do.

Thinks like, “I can do this,” or “You can make partner: or “I can rebound from this and fall in love again!”

A bit like The Force, however, motivational self-talk has a light side and a dark side, a positive and negative manifestation. 

Negative motivational self talk is the voice of the doubter, the inner skeptic whispering in your ear.

It’s the voice you hear on those awful days when errors happen at work or you have a falling out with someone you hoped would love you forever, hissing “There’s no way I’m going to make it. Everyone seems to be happier or better than me.”

It’s the voice telling you, “You’re getting tired. You should back off, settle for less, resign, find an easier life, give up, lower your hopes.”

With negative motivational self talk, you try to convince yourself that it’s not worth the effort.

It’s like the cosmic wifi stuck on a dark channel broadcasting negativity inside your head.

And when you listen to that “dark channel” those messages clearly tell you to give up … and you know what? You start to give up.

Let’s show you how this works!

Close your eyes

Open your eyes.

How do you feel?

Probably weak. Probably not good enough..

And probably not looking forward to challenging yourself on a hill walk again. Or anything for that matter. 

I you’re using negative motivational self-talk, even unconsciously, during a working day, during a workout, in your relationship, you’re dragging yourself down, sapping your own reserves, and negating most of the benefits of your efforts, 

That’s the power words have.

But when you change the stations – tune into a more positive station, a higher frequency, amazing things can happen.

When your self-talk is phrased in a supportive, motivational and goal focussed way, you’ll feel your emotions change, your body language become more focussed, and what seems like insurmountable challenge and obstacles evaporate before your eyes so you can see the opportunity in front of you.

You believe in yourself.

Close your eyes again

Open your eyes,

How do you feel?

Most likely pretty good – certainly better than when you talked yourself down.

And you’re probably looking forward to really smashing that next opportunity.

It doesn’t matter if it’s hanging on when someone pushes your buttons at work, or getting out of bed after a hard day and facing another one, forgoing that chocolate late at night, or ice cream for desert, or dealing with something at home: Motivational self-talk is the fuel that gets you moving.

It keeps you focussed on your goals and helps you push through the pain on your journey towards those goals.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably better at talking yourself down than cheering yourself on.

So, we’re going to change that.

To effectively use Motivational self-talk, there are two things you need to practice:

First, you need to talk to yourself as if you were an observer, using the word “You” instead of “I.”

Research into positive self-talk shows it’s more effective when you talk to yourself in the second person, much like a coach would talk to you.

Instead of “I can do this” say “You can do this.”

This simple change can make all the difference.

Second, and this is the really obvious part, you need to look at the bright side.

Look at negative situations in a positive light … use the tools for a positive mindset that you learned about last week.

Let’s imagine you’re in a meeting and the tension is really high, someone is really giving you the shits, you’re struggling to take the lead, feeling insecure, almost shy, and you fear that you’re going to bust out and say something stupid or be asked a question and get all personal in your answer.

Negative self-talk says: 

I’m struggling 

Positive self-talk says: “this is exactly what you need, It’s making you stronger.”

Negative self-talk says: 

“I’m not getting any better.”

Positive self-talk says: “You’re moving forward. You’re learning from this.”

Negative self-talk says: 

“I’m embarrassed and fearful, I should just get out the door and let them get on with it.

Positive self-talk says: This is how you should be feeling. The others are struggling, too. They’ll give up before you do”

Make sense? Great. Let’s move on. The second type of self-talk is instructional

This is that detail-oriented, ever watchful coach in your head who keeps telling you what to do.

It’s that judge scrutinising your every movement.

Effective Instructional self-talk is focussed on the specifics of technique, of the mechanics of how to do things properly.

  • Keep your back straight
  • Focus on the now
  • Stay calm
  • Get your breathing under control

Instructional self-talk isn’t just about physical movement and form, though. It’s also about your attitude.

That’s when your instructional self talk kicks in, telling you things like:

  • You need to get creative about how to overcome this
  • Just focus and think about what’s happening around you.
  • You just have to see the balance, think gratitude, to get through this.

When you combine Motivational and Instructional self-talk with thought redirection, you can focus more effectively on overcoming challenges, even when you’re deep in the pain cave.


Let’s imagine you’ve had a rough day at work and you’re in a lousy mood.

When you get home, you still have a lot to do and you certainly don’t feel like going out for your exercise. You start to talk yourself down:

  • You’re too tired to train tonight.
  • You’re not very organised, this is your fault.
  • This is really going to set you back – your exercise program and therefore your health is going off the rails.

But! As a dedicated student of the Innerwealth Mental Training programme, you recognise this negative mindset and quickly throw up a stop sign to halt that thought and redirect your thinking towards a more positive outcome.

Engaging a motivational self-talk you tell yourself: “you can get your workout in. You know you can do it if you really try to make it happen.”

Following it up with instructional talk, you say: “Get home and get all your equipment set up right away so you don’t have any excuses.”

In no time, you’ll have pulled yourself together with a renewed determination, focussed on what’s possible and positive.

Already, you’re further ahead than if you had talked yourself down.

And, as we’ve already learned in this programme, the more you do this, the deeper your neural pathways become and the more easily you’ll bring positive Motivational and Instructional self-talk to your experiences.

By the time your event / situation comes around, you’ll automatically talk yourself into peak performances that otherwise might not have been possible.

Lastly, let’s talk about Reward Self-Talk.

This is when you say “Well done” after getting though a particular difficulty or a strong effort as a way of congratulating yourself.

It’s not just praise for praise sake – reward self-talk actually helps build your self-confidence.

And when your confidence goes up, your mindset grows ever more positive, your will strengthens and your motivation goes through the roof.

It’s important to reward yourself for hard work.

You can use phrases like:

  • Well done!
  • You really smashed it that time!
  • That was an amazing effort!
  • You’re getting so much stronger!

Of course somethings you’ll slump into some negative self-talk when you might not do as well as you hoped. You’ll say:

  • You gave up too soon.
  • You should have tried harder.
  • That was a terrible effort.

When those thoughts start to intrude, throw up your stop-sign and re-direct them to more positive reward talk, like:

  • You tried hard, next time you’ll make it all the way.
  • Well done! You really pushed it and found some new limits!
  • You have more inside you and you know you can give it next time.

You can now recognise the three types of self-talk:

Motivational, Instructional and Reward.

Now it’s time to improve how you talk to yourself.

Here’s what to do next: Take a look at the page in your workbook entitled ‘positive self-talk.’

For your next three serious working days, you need to listen to your self-talk before, during and after work.

Don’t pass judgement on it. just listen to what you’re saying to yourself.

As soon as you finish each of those three work days, write down how you’re talking to yourself in each of the three areas; Motivational, Instructional and Reward.

You don’t have to write down everything – just the phrases that you hear most often.

Be honest – get both positive and negative aspects of your conversations with yourself.

If you find that you don’t say anything to yourself in a particular area, well, make a note of that, too.

Once you’ve done that, in the next column, write down a few ideas on how you can improve your self-talk.

Pay close attention to the things you’re saying. For example: if you find that you don’t use any Reward talk at all, then be sure to write down a few reward phrases that you can start using.

When you’ve done that for the three days, you’ll have a good starter list of positive self-talk phrases that you can start using immediately.

As you begin using them, you may find that some are more effective in motivating you than others – that’s to be expected.

Everyone is different and, just like everything you’ve learned so far, you need to practice it, improve it and make it a habit.

Keep paying attention to your self-talk in subsequence workouts and events and become your own best cheerleader.

Believe in yourself.

Be the one that screams your name all the way to Glory.

You, Can. Do. This.

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