I have stated (and others as well) in other works that self-talk is important for your internal environment, and helpful when it is positive and productive. In other words, we don’t need to keep our focus on the problem and what isn’t working because it’s very easy to get caught there. Positive and productive defines a “solutions focus,” which places valuable attention on adjusting and moving forward. It keeps us in a state of openness and a willingness to adapt.
Sometimes self-talk reveals deeper patterns, so simply turning a negative into a positive has a good chance of failing. This falls in line with developments in the last few decades that focus on strategies, tools, and techniques rather than depth, intuition, development, and insight. The latter leads to understanding and alignment, meaning every part of us is in one place, with one intention, and heading in one direction.
Importantly, anything we apply without understanding (tools, strategies, and techniques) to a complex situation rarely works long-term. These applications are always secondary because actions follow beliefs. In other words, actions and choices follow the prevailing mindset.
Self-talk without understanding becomes empty words. Worse, you may feel more like a fraud. You can say, “I am a winner” in the mirror a thousand times, but that action won’t have much effect. Sure, it’s positive and affirming, but beneath the surface and under pressure the first two words twist into a question: “Am I…a winner?”
Self-talk can be hindering, but it’s not just about the words. The mindset working beneath the surface needs to be tuned and updated, and maybe even some significant knots to be untied. Spending time examining history, and the beliefs and assumptions about actions and consequences is a reflective process vital to a growth mindset. A mindset that continues to develop and supports healthy and effective actions. Reflection is a solitary activity. A ritual well worth having. It’s like having a good talk with yourself.
Take your mental approach to the next level with my sports psychology workbook: Above the Field of Play. Or to learn about other sports psychology services (including an assessment of your present mental approach), visit my website at DrJohnPanepinto.com.