4 Ways to Limit Self-Talk

Have you ever noticed you’re procrastinating on something? Maybe you’ve been thinking for months that you should update your resumé and your LinkedIn profile. Or it could be that someone wanted you to speak to their group. You should have followed up with some information and tried to get something scheduled, but you never did. 

Something is holding you back – and it’s quite likely that something is negative self-talk. We all have it. It’s a normal part of the human experience. However, when we notice that we’re procrastinating again, then it’s time to do things differently. Let’s talk about four ways to limit negative self-talk, so you can finally move forward.

Listen to what you’re saying to yourself

Start by giving yourself a few undisturbed minutes. It’s a good idea to have a pen and a journal or some paper to write things down. Go ahead and tune into your self-talk by taking a couple of deep breaths. What do you hear? It could be criticisms about how you’ve done things in the past or fears about how things will go in the future. It might be about someone or something else – your boss, your company, your industry. One of the ways to limit negative self-talk is to hear what you’re telling yourself.

Challenge your self-talk. Is there evidence?

Now it’s time to shine the light of day on your self-talk. Some of it might be true and a lot of it might not. You may be telling yourself you don’t have time to update your resumé. You may have self-talk that LinkedIn is annoying and people don’t really use it anyway. So, what is the reality about your time and about LinkedIn?

Change your self-talk

In your mind, the thought of coming up with a talk for that group might seem huge and daunting. Your self-talk might be that you don’t have anything to say. Well, we know that’s not true, you’ve been communicating for decades! What could you say to yourself instead? Remember a time when you gave a presentation that went well. Instead of “I don’t have anything to say,” try “I did a good job giving that report to my department last year.”

Make a list of positive things about yourself

Another one of the ways to limit self-talk is to remind yourself of your good qualities. Are you caring, responsible, creative, trustworthy, smart, reliable, passionate, curious? These “being” words are great and you might think of some positive “doing” examples too. “I saw that project through from start to finish,” and “People were counting on me and I made it happen.” Be sure to include your specific examples when you write these down.

You might like to put one or two of these on sticky notes where you will see them each day. Or look at this list of positive things the next time you are feeling worn out to give you a boost.

By the way, you can also use these four ways to limit negative self-talk while you are on-the-go. If you’re feeling nervous or uncertain, you can just take a few deep breaths and quickly run through the steps.

The more you put these practices to use – either written or not – the less you will feel stuck and the happier you will be.

Want to learn more tools to stop procrastinating and limit negative self-talk? Check out our free Power of Purpose lunch and learn on Friday, January, 22, 2021, from 12-1 PM.


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