Self-Talk, Support Systems
Self-talk refers to the process of bringing our attitudes to a conscious level. It is what we say to ourselves and it reflects our self-esteem. Self-talk can be negative, positive, or neutral. Learning to engage in encouraging self-talk is an effective motivating strategy. An individual must be his/her own best friend, and to do so involves recognizing one's assets and reminding oneself of them.
Students may be exposed to the positive self-talk process by an instructor or facilitator. As they become more proficient in the strategy, they may continue to practice it on their own. Some suggestions for implementing positive self-talk are outlined below; they may be modified to suit individual needs.
- Compile a list of individual assets or successes.
- The assets could be related to social skills, time management, organization, note taking, communication skills, and work experience. State the positive attributes as clearly and precisely as possible. For example, instead of stating "I have good social skills," say "I am an attentive and compassionate listener."
- Select a format for documenting the individual assets or successes.
- Some people may choose to simply write a list of the attributes. Other may wish to design a poster, develop a journal, or make a tape recording. Encourage creativity in expression. Utilize as many senses as possible.
- Develop a daily routine of referring to the individual assets or successes.
- Set aside a special time(s) every day for referring to the list and reminding yourself of personal assets. One need not review the entire list every day.
- Make it a habit to refer to the asset list during emotional lows.
- Remind yourself that successes have been accomplished in the past and more will be accomplished in the future.
- Internalize the asset list so that it may be recalled without the documentation.
- Commit the assets and successes to memory so that they may be recalled while walking to an exam or driving to a job interview.
- Continually update the list to include new assets that develop as you mature and experience new successes.
Sometimes people can't seem to motivate themselves on their own. At other times, self-motivated people falter and need help getting back on track. In these cases it is important to know where to get help when the need arises.
Establish a motivational support system at home, at school, and at work. The support system may be as simple as a "buddy system" with a reliable friend or colleague. It may be more complex, encompassing a number of individuals from different aspects of one's life to whom one turns in different situations.
People in the support system may be sources of motivational strategies or they may be role models. Check the following sources for motivational support.
- family members
- guidance counselors or advisors
- resident assistants and directors
- faculty members
- class mates
- peer or professional tutors
- religious leaders
- civic leaders
- work colleagues