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Change talk- Using verbal ques to improve motivation

Ever have those days when looking into the mirror just doesn't feel good? Feeling low on motivation? Just don't feel like putting in the effort? Losing motivation to facilitate healthy change is common. Motivation is a key psychological factor that helps us not only to maintain healthy behaviours like working out and eating well, but also to par-take in the other activities in our lives. Things like why we get up in the morning- to get the kids to school on time, or get to work to make money! Motivation is present in the small things we do as well, brushing teeth regularly to maintain a clean white smile, or upkeep on your car or home to avoid costly repairs later on.

Rather than talking about motivation in itself (though it is important) I'm going to take you through some steps which are well researched, simple methods of maintaining motivation, and improving performance. “Change talk” is a term used by psychologists, counselors and motivational interviewers, referring to a person talking to themselves, out loud, encouraging the desired changes of themselves.

Remember that little engine that could? To sum up a childhood story, the little steam engine thought he couldn't make it over the mountain, though all his friends could. After some time of failing, he persisted, chanting, “I think I can, I think I can!” over and over to himself. Sure enough, the little engine did make it over the mountain! A great little story that, in reality, does have some actual validity to it; in a real life lesson.

Change talk is used in various dimensions, including with alcohol and drug rehabilitation, with athletes, offenders, and individuals who simply want to change their lives. But how can you use change talk to get you down to your workout? Not only does change talk facilitate the motivation to participate in desired behaviours- going for that jog, for example, but also to improve your performance while you're at it.

Positive self-talk is the common term used by physical activity counselors when they encourage clients to motivate themselves out loud. Tell yourself you're strong, or that you are fit person. Using positive self talk is simple.; say whatever comes to mind. Always keep it positive and affirmative. Don't question it, be sure of it. Various athletes use this technique to dig deep or psych themselves up before a competition or game. A sprinter might tell themselves they will win, and that they run fast.

Here is an example of what a weightlifter would use as positive self talk during a competition:

“I am strong. I am the strongest person. I can do it. I can always do it, because I am the strongest. I love this. This is who I am. I am going to lift this and it will feel light. I am fast. I am the fastest person. I am strong and fast. I will lift this and it will feel light. I am the best weightlifter.”

Here, the individual positively reinforces their ability in the sport, their skills, and even the love for what they are doing. Sometimes, its a great thing to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. You can use things like, “I love getting up early to jog, because I am a runner.” even if you're not yet a runner. The objective is to use talk which represents what you want to be, or how you want to be. If you lack confidence, change talk could simply be about how confident you are, “I love myself, and so does my husband. I am a confident, strong, independent woman.”

Pick words that are right for you. Write them down. Repeat them, and edit them as you deem necessary. Don't ever limit yourself, tell yourself that you're your biggest fan, and you can do anything you put your mind to. If you want that great body, remind yourself that you're working hard for it, and that its worth the work. Repeat your positive self-talk to yourself several times a day, when you're ready to sleep, and first thing in the morning.

Change talk is used not only to facilitate new, desired behaviours but also to continue to improve at whatever your desired quality is. This is a well documented phenomenon that doesn't require any money or serious time of you. Just that you dedicate yourself to believing in yourself and your abilities. No harm in giving it a shot!

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