Self-talk can drag you down!
So what is self-talk and what does it have to do with retirement lifestyle design and personal development? Maybe you have never heard of self-talk. In that case start with a simple definition. Self-talk is what you say to yourself. It is the thoughts you think as you are working. It reveals what you think about yourself. We all do it but very few understand how powerful self-talk can be, both as a positive and negative force in our lives. We do it naturally and without thinking and we call it honesty. Maybe you are hammering a nail and hit your thumb and say “That was dumb, Clark!” or you notice your flabby belly quivering while you comb your hair and tell yourself “Man, Fred, you are fat.” That is self-talk. And it is very destructive.
When it affirms your negative qualities.
You tell yourself that those are accurate statements; you are just being honest. You are indeed fat and you didn’t intend to hit your thumb so it was dumb to lose control of the hammer. The impact of self-talk, however is more profound. It becomes an affirmation which reinforces the content of the statement. It is not an observation that Fred who is naturally a lean, healthy individual is suddenly and temporarily fat but an affirmation that Fred is a fat man. The image in Fred’s head changes completely. When Fred goes through the day knowing that he is lean, his behavior follows that image. He eats healthier and is more active. When Fred embraces the idea that he is a fat man, why not have that extra doughnut and take the elevator up one floor because that is what fat people do.
It is the same for Clark. He know he isn’t dumb but when he calls himself dumb, he reinforces the idea that Clark is someone who does dumb things. It increases the acceptance of that behavior and the likelihood that Clark will do something dumb again in the future. These are examples of the ways that self-talk can affect a person in a negative way by accepting a definition of a less desirable state. It is important to understand the power that such simple statements can have on present and future actions by reinforcing a negative image.
Self-talk can also be positive!
Self-talk can be a positive force as well. Simply making an affirmative statement describing a positive future state can redefine your personal definition. Fred might say to himself each morning. “I am a healthy and active man who eats healthy and exercises daily/” This creates the image of a man, Fred would like to be. Reinforcing this image will help him live the life of that man and embrace the image until it becomes reality.
Learn about the power of self-talk
There is no better resource for helping you understand the concept of self-talk and it’s power to transform your life positively and negatively than The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, PhD. D. You are who you think you are. It is as simple as that. Don’t let yourself accept negative statements about yourself and don’t create them. Don’t reinforce negative thinking or negative self-images. Think about the person you want to be and affirm that person to yourself daily. Slowly that image will take hold of your mind and you will find I is no longer an image but reality. There is no time limit on change. You can change at any stage in your life. Retirement is a perfect time to change who you are so create some positive self-talk about the person you want to be. Tell yourself who you are daily and become the person that will live the outrageous retirement lifestyle you want to have