Talk To Yourself More Than You Listen To Yourself

A Simple Yet Powerful Strategy For Success

Dr. James Gills completed a double triathlon six times when he was in his fifties.  

When asked how he did it, he said: “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.”

He continued, “If I listen to myself I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired-too old-too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”

Managing Your Thoughts Involves Proactively Deciding What You’ll Say To Yourself

Dr. Gill’s practice is exactly what managing your mind looks like in your daily life.  

You’ve got the old, automatic thoughts that feel true and also are your default way of thinking because you’ve been practicing them for probably most of your life.  

Then you’ve got the thoughts of the part of you who knows that your success is inevitable and that you are capable of achieving what you want.  Maybe you’ve never practiced these thoughts or maybe you used to think them but have forgotten about them.  

Regardless, you can start today by choosing thoughts that will help you feel how you’d like to feel and then deliberately saying them to yourself more than you listen to the old default thoughts.  

This Is A Skill

Just as Dr. Gills said, this is a skill that can be learned.  

Most of us are not born thinking this way, and we’re certainly not taught to think this in school or anywhere else.  But just by reminding yourself on a daily basis of the thoughts that you want to think, you’ll begin to create new neural pathways and those new thoughts will become easier over time, just like every other skill you’ve ever learned.

Does it happen overnight? Of course not.

Is it worth the effort? Definitely. 

Will the old thoughts come up on a regular basis?  You can count on it.  

Can you learn to overcome them?  Indubitably. 

Try It Out

What do you want to tell yourself today?  

Write it down on post-it notes.  Put it on your phone as an hourly reminder throughout the day.  

Those daily repetitions, one after another, are what will lead you to what you really want.  

Have a beautiful week! 



Believing New Things

There is a saying that if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.  It’s absolutely true.  Our actions (or sometimes lack thereof) are what create our results in life.

But to do something you’ve never done before, you’ve also got to believe that you can do it.  You’ve got to believe even though you don’t have any evidence to prove that you actually can do it.  This is where we get stuck, because our brains like to have evidence.  But when you’re trying to do something new, by definition, you won’t have any evidence yet.  You’ve got to believe you can do it before the evidence exists.

What Is A Belief?  

A belief is just a thought that you keep on thinking.  If you want to change your beliefs, you’ve got to look at your current thoughts.

To get something you’ve never had, you’ll have to think different thoughts than you’ve ever hadYou’ll have to believe differently than you’ve ever believed.

How Beliefs Trigger Action 

The process of deliberately thinking new thoughts and creating new beliefs is by far the most important component of changing your behavior and your results. 

We’re not taught this in school.  We’re taught to just do it.  And if we don’t feel motivated enough to take action, we think that something must be wrong with us or that we’re inherently lazy.

This is why learning how your brain works is so powerful.  Your feelings are what drive your actions.  And your thoughts and beliefs create your feelings.  Whenever you’re not taking action, there is always some underlying thought or belief that is the cause.

It is only when you uncover the underlying thoughts and beliefs that you can change them.

What Do You Believe Now? 

The first step to creating a new belief is to understand what your current thoughts and beliefs are.  Write them down.  Do a thought download and see what’s really going on.  Take a look at what is 100% factual and what is a story that you’re telling yourself.  Notice how that story is causing you to feel, and what you do when you feel that way.

Let’s say that you want to find a new job, but you’re not taking any action.  You sometimes scroll through job postings when you’ve had a particularly bad day at work, and maybe you apply for an opening or two, but that’s the extent of it.  You’ve already got a full-time job and a couple of kids.  It seems like there is just no time to start job searching right now.

The thought that “there is no time to start job searching right now but I’m miserable at my current job” is not going to help you feel motivated to do anything productive.  The only thing that thought will probably motivate you to do is to curl up in a fetal position under a blanket.  And perhaps reach for wine and chocolate.  And when you do that, your result is that you don’t make the time for a job search and you’re keeping yourself stuck at your current job.

What Do You Want To Believe? 

Once you know what your current beliefs are and can see how they are causing you to feel and act, ask yourself why you’re holding onto those beliefs.

Imagine what it would be like to be someone else in the same circumstance, having a different belief than your own.

For example, in the job searching scenario, can you imagine that there might be one other person in the exact same circumstances who is creating time in her week for a job search?  She may be carving time out on a Sunday afternoon during nap time or spending an hour or two in the evenings during the week.   She might be getting up an hour earlier, or using some vacation time off of work to job search, instead of going to Disney World.

What is causing her to do that?

Hint:  It’s her beliefs. 

The person who believes “there isn’t enough time for my job search” will not even try to make time.

But the person who is taking action is doing that because she’s feeling committed to making a change.  And she’s feeling committed because she’s thinking something like this:  “Getting a new job is a priority for me right now and I am committed to finding pockets of time for my job search.”

Inherent in that thought is the belief that there is a way to create the time.  The belief that it’s possible and that it’s worth it.

The good news is that you can borrow the thoughts and beliefs of that person—real or imagined—and put them to use in your own life.  Right now.

Here are some thoughts that you can practice to change your beliefs about what’s possible for you right now.

  • I’m open to the possibility that I can find some time for ________.
  • I can find a way to prioritize this in my life right now.
  • I’m committed to figuring out how to do this.

These thoughts create the space in our minds for new possibilities that you have not believed up until now.  They open the door to your creativity and problem-solving abilities, which had been firmly shut by the prior belief what you want wasn’t possible for you.

Try these thoughts on.  Write them down and practice them.  Brainstorm the ways in which you can figure out a solution when you practice believing something different.  Then watch yourself as you begin to create different results in your life.  It’s mathematical.  Different thoughts and beliefs create different results.  Period.

Go forth, believe, grow, and bloom.