The Effects of Positive Self-Talk

The Effects of Positive Self-Talk
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Until the beginning of this year, whenever I was talking to people or myself, I always said, “I can walk, I can hike, but I cannot run!” This self-made story about me not being able to run was etched into my identity, a belief that seemed so real and true. I had convinced myself that running was not my cup of tea.

Looking back, it’s remarkable how much we shape our realities with the words and thoughts we choose. I had unknowingly harnessed the immense power of self-talk to construct a mental barrier. I wore the label of a non-runner like a badge of honor, not realizing that it was in fact a badge of limitation.

But then, this year, something within me stirred. I decided that I wanted to run. When things get in the contemplation phase, I am very likely to take them to the action phase, and sometimes I get a little too excited with my thoughts! Without even thinking, I told my friend that I would go for a 10k run!

I know you may have been thinking that the surge of determination to rewrite my capabilities narrative may have been too sudden. I 100% agree- it was! I mean, I go for hikes and walks regularly, so I could have very well completed the whole 10k by just walking. But somehow, I got into the internet to see how you practice for a 10k, and that’s when I was like, “Woah, woah, woah, that’s a little too much to start with!”

Long story short, I told my friend that maybe running 10k without any practice is not a good idea for me! But the good thing is, after that, I started running. It’s fascinating how a single shift in self-talk, from “I can’t” to “I want to try,” can ignite a transformation.

Although I would have liked to practice running every other day, it was not quite possible with my schedule. However, I practiced over weekends and eventually, I ran 5k! From saying, “I cannot run,” to saying, “I ran 5k”, that said something to me about how our belief system works and what we tell ourselves.

We build our identity based on our belief system, and we could very well be wrong about it until we challenge it. The power of self-talk lies in its ability to either restrain us or set us free. It can hold us back or propel us forward.

This whole running thing made me think about what James Clear mentioned in his book “Atomic Habits”- that every action we take is a vote we cast for a person we want to be. Those regular runs were the votes I cast for my runner identity. And as he said, hopefully, something that’s associated with the identify change sticks longer because I would want to continue running.

So, what are you telling yourself? Are your words building walls or bridges? Are you repeatedly telling yourself stories that limit you or push you forward in life? It’s time that we reflect on all those limiting narrations we have created about ourselves and challenge them. With some firsthand experiences, I can tell you that it’s amazing what can happen when we change the script of our self-talk and challenge the beliefs that have defined us for so long. 😊