Productivity and GTD
Talk to Yourself to Be More Productive
"Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love." ~ Brene Brown
If you are running a 5k race trying to achieve your best time, surely in the halfway point you’ll be struck by doubt about whether you will get it or not. In full effort, with your heart beating so hard and the muscle fatigue accumulating in your legs, you will have a strong urge to slow down.
Well, it turns out that the best way to stop that urge is to tell yourself that you do not need to slow down. First of all, you must imagine the success of the race before starting. Secondly, you need to silence your negative thoughts with an inner positive monologue during the race.
Sport psychologists, coaches and elite athletes have been using this kind of motivational tools for decades, but recent studies show that the way in which you talk to yourself influences your determination to achieve goals, especially in critical situations.
Basically, thinking on how hard the effort is just makes things worse, while focusing on what you’re doing fine improves things. It’s mainly about substituting thoughts like “I’m too tired” with others like “hold on, you’re doing good!”. It’s not that thinking positively makes you less tired, but your brain is going to interpret differently the signals that your body emits. And this interpretation can help you gain those seconds that you need to improve your record.
This kind of motivational self-talk can be applied to many areas of your life, not only sports. Telling yourself over and over again that a specific project is boring will only make you postpone it more often, will take you longer to execute it due to how little you like it, and will favor that the final result will be qualitatively poor enough. Think about why you need to do this, think in your long-term goals, and cheer yourself up with positive thoughts: “When I finish this, I’ll be much closer!”
Talking to yourself can help you focus your thinking, free your fears, achieve higher goals and, ultimately, get to know you better, but only if you use the right words.
Are you one of those who seem to be talking to themselves?