Overcoming Negative Self-Talk: 7 Habits to Stop Now 86

overcoming negative self-talk

This is a guest post by Alan Marsden. He presents simple and effective advice to help you achieve confidence, health, and happiness. Join Alan on the journey of discovery at MindBodyAndTech.

We all have our inner voice and use it daily, whether we realize it or not. But it’s not always the best advisor.
Luckily, overcoming negative self-talk is possible by breaking a few bad habits we have.

Who needs enemies?
After all, we do a pretty good job undermining ourselves.

When I look back over the years I’m unable to point to anyone who has held me back. Not one soul.

No one has stopped me applying for a new job, learning a new skill or getting to know someone. The only stumbling block has been me.

My trusted source for advice has been the voice of my mind . If I need advice I would chat to close friends or family but my thoughts are the final arbiter.

This special “advisor” is my constant companion. I don’t need to go anywhere, meditate or do any special preparation. Everyone has this mental narrative. It’s always there, good or bad. This voice is known as self-talk and it’s often negative.

Trouble is, being generally negative, self-talk can instil poor habits. Habits that hold us back from growing in confidence.

The Voice That Instills Habits

Self-talk can create and perpetuate a fear of failure, a fear of not being good enough or of looking stupid.

But why listen to this mental chatter? It’s rarely right. It’s just one big fiction in an over busy mind.

Self-talk will always exist but we can learn to observe it rather than react to it. You can stop it from directing your path and your outlook on life.

Memories Can Perpetuate Habits

I can think of two years in my childhood when I was happy amongst my peers. Much of the remaining time I was at the receiving end of constant bullying.
For example, some children would invite me out to play, then around the corner a larger group would be waiting to taunt me and push me around. I chose friendships cautiously ever since.

I formed a habit of mistrust. Just obeying that voice, that exclaims “They don’t really like me”.

Through its influence on behaviors, the negative self-talk can set you on a path that holds back your development instead of encouraging you to better things.

As intelligent people however, we can learn to form new habits and change the nature of self-talk. The first step is to look out for the habits driven by this negative inner voice so we can start to change our response.

Overcoming Negative Self-Talk: 7 Habits to Stop Doing

1. Believing yourself.

Do not trust the stories you tell yourself. It is fear of the unknown disguised as logical reasoning.

You should still think issues through or weigh up the pros and cons of a decision. I often don’t make an effort to get to know people because I tell myself they’re not interested. This just makes me harder to get to know and I create the disinterest.

2. Day dreaming about the past.

Like the young boy who was asked out to play, don’t dwell on hurtful memories. Occasionally I still visit places of my childhood. (I’m a sentimental guy). But there’s nothing better than sentimental journeys for keeping you locked in feelings from the past. Be filled with gratitude for the present and sense of being alive today.

3. Keeping secrets.

Don’t keep views and opinions to yourself. Don’t be timid about sharing your thoughts on a topic. As long as you’re not deliberately offensive, your views are valuable. You might help others to think of something they’d not considered before.

Your views are as valid as anyone’s so don’t fear rejection. I’ve often held views back in meetings only to see someone else proffer something similar. Why didn’t I speak up?!

4. Resting in your comfort zone.

For confidence to flourish you need challenges. It might be a difficult project at work, a level of fitness to achieve or a new hobby.

Without challenges there is no growth and without growth confidence fades.

If you feel nervous about doing something, do it anyway. Challenge yourself or offer some voluntary work in your community. Helping others will help to grow confidence and open new opportunities.

5. Mind reading.

T.V.’s Patrick Jane (aka The Mentalist), said there is no such thing as psychics. No matter how certain you feel, when you try to imagine what someone is thinking, you’ll be wrong. You’ll feel the emotions generated, e.g. anger, and all for nothing. Everyone endures their own self-talk so try to see past their ego to the real person.

6. Burning the candle at both ends.

An old saying to describe someone pushing themselves too much into work.

Lack of planning or prioritising can lead to a loss of quality time at home and poor sleep. If you’re tired you’ll feel vulnerable. Tiredness drains confidence because you don’t have the energy to succeed. Give your mind and body sufficient rest. A clear mind is more receptive to positive thoughts.

7. Procrastination.

The enemy of progress.

If we keep putting off important things in life, we avoid a sense of achievement.

Not contacting a long time friend, letting our health deteriorate or staying in an unhappy job are examples of “not” doing something. Achieving goals on the other hand, nourishes our confidence. So by avoiding success, we avoid some of the opportunities to feel good about ourselves. We all need to feel we make a difference.

Everyone experiences these issues from time to time, at different stages in life. From the high powered executive to the young student.

Start today and believe more in yourself. Have faith in your own opinions and follow your gut instincts. Remember, there is no one right answer to most things.

Ignore your own negative self-talk and act with confidence. These 7 habits are all things we do to ourselves and that means we also have the power to change. All we need to do is decide, right now, to change the way we think.

You could wake up tomorrow knowing yourself a bit better, expecting the usual thoughts but now you’re ready. You’re ready to smile when you think something negative, but it won’t get you down, you’ll just move on.

Are you ready to start overcoming negative self-talk? What other bad habits do you have that create a negative inner voice?

See also:

9 ways to silence your inner critic
4 ways to stop negative self-talk
How to deal with self-doubt and trust yourself again
6 tips to tame negative thoughts for a less limited life

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Becoming Your Own Boss: Tips on Getting a Business Off The Ground 7

How Writing a Blog Can Help You Live the Life You Dream About

Becoming your own boss is a complicated process, and not everyone does it the same way.

I got lucky. I was still working when I got my business off the ground, so I had a source of income while I was working the kinks out of my business. I did most of my work for the new business when I got home or on the weekends. I asked for a change in job responsibilities at the office so that I didn’t have as much on my plate.

This all gave me a chance to start earning money without going into debt. When it was feasible, I stopped working my regular job and transitioned into working for myself full time. It took about a year and a half.

Establish clear boundaries.


Sometimes people don’t take you seriously when you tell them that you work for yourself. They think you are always available to chat or have lunch.

I had a number of friends that would call me at all hours, assuming I was available because they wanted to talk. Granted, it was nice to have that freedom at first. But, I soon realized that if I was going to be successful, I couldn’t let those kinds of distractions interrupt my workday.

Save before you start working for yourself full time.

I was in pretty good shape when I made the transition, but looking back, a few more months with a paycheck would have been wonderful.

When you start your own business, money can be very tight. You never know what you are going to make month to month.

I had one customer that initially made up most of my revenue. That customer only paid on a quarterly basis, which meant that times were tough in between payments.

I had to spend money to build the business, which meant there wasn’t a lot left over. If I didn’t get a payment right on time, it was very difficult to deal with.

There were times when I had to ask for a loan from family members simply to pay my bills.

Reach out and build a support network.

4 Tips to Track Your Remote Employees' Progress Without Demoralizing Them

It can be really difficult to adjust at first. You have great days and you have terrible days. You meet goals some months, while other months you are left wondering where you went wrong.

If you make a mistake, you alone are responsible for it and your business and reputation can suffer. It is easy to feel depressed at times. You may even start to feel like you can’t handle running a business and that you made a big mistake when you left your office job.

Remember that you are not alone. All entrepreneurs have these moments, which is why it is so important to connect with others in the field.

Take time for yourself.

I had a honeymoon period of about half a year. It was really exciting to see the business get bigger. Each milestone that I met was a reason to celebrate.

However, heading into the second year, it was more difficult. I was tired. Things weren’t as exciting because they weren’t new anymore. And then, year three came along. I was done with working such long hours.

I was done with having no time off. Burnout is certainly an issue in this business, so you have to figure out how to balance your personal and your professional needs.

It took me a long time to get where I am today. I had to do a lot of research. I had to educate myself on business. I had to find an SEO expert. I had to figure out who my main competitors were and keep an eye on them. I also had to stay current with what was happening in the field so that I didn’t fall behind.

No matter how hard I worked, it seemed like I could never get caught up. Running a business is a big responsibility.

If you are interested in starting your own business, you want to set yourself up for success. Try to cut back on your living expenses. Make sure you have substantial savings. Set up an area in your home where you can work, free from distractions.

If you are married, get your spouse on board. He or she can help pay bills while you are getting your business off the ground.

Your business is only as good as you are.

Make sure you have a support system of other business professionals. These people can help you acknowledge your weaknesses, encourage you to keep moving forward and advise you on common mistakes.

You can try and go it alone, but it will be very difficult for you. As with anything else in life, your support network has a lot to do with your success. You are probably strongly invested in your business; after all, it is something that you created. Make sure you have people that you trust to help you along the way.


Grace Lee has been practicing in the field of digital marketing for several years now. She has already brought numerous sites in search engines’ first pages in search results. In her spare time, she loves listening to podcasts about Google algorithm updates and other matters related to SEO.