Sunday, January 16, 2011

Break the Negative Self-Talk Habit in 2011?

Intelligentwomenonly.com views negative self-talk as a habit, not a neurosis; a habit that needs to be broken in order to decrease stress, improve self-esteem and increase productivity. There have been lots of suggestions of what to do instead of negative self-talk and continuing focus on Techniques of the Week, but today I'll quote from a 12/22 WSJ article,  "How to Keep a Resolution."http://tinyurl.com/64n4mar

It's not quite the same as breaking a habit, but there are similarities: a plan, effort, time, commitment and energy are required. UGH. Daunting — always — for all.  "Keeping a resolution isn't a hundred yard dash. It's a marathon," says John Norcross a psychology professor from the University of Pennsylvania. I agree. It's always a good move to increase mental and physical stamina and resilience, but it's rarely easy.

The article proposes these steps, slightly altered by the blogger:

• Make a realistic plan in advance
• Reduce other life stresses if possible
• Practice exercising self-control in other areas of life before you tackle the "big one"
• Think ahead of time about potential obstacles and plan avoidance strategies
•  Plan rewards for successful behavior changes
•  Focus on the new habit, change rather than the old
•  Use positive reinforcement 80% of the time, negative reinforcement 20% of the time
•  Plan punishments to help you get started, such as denying yourself TV
•  Make a plan for bouncing back from setbacks and slips

I agree with it all, but it sounds as complex as sending a woman to the moon. Maybe best to go back to one step at a time. Make a plan that will work for you. I've said it before and I'll say it again and again. Here's the first step for NSTers.

Acknowledge without judgment,  “Yes, I have acquired the negative self-talk habit, like many other women.”  The key is without judgment; just as you might acknowledge that you have brown hair like many other women, you acknowledge NST without criticism, recognizing that you have control of your thinking if you choose to take it.
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