empowering thoughts.

7 Steps to Positive Self Talk

Most of us are in constant mental chatter. We talk to ourselves all day long and, unfortunately, this self talk is frequently negative. Often it is tainted with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future. This negativity can destroy any seed of hope that we may otherwise have in striving for our dreams.

Our actions are inspired by our thoughts. If we can change the way we think, we can begin to change the actions we take. It is human nature to seek personal growth; whether financially, emotionally, physically or spiritually. Practicing positive self talk can help us set in motion actions that will bring us greater rewards.

The following are seven steps to positive self talk. By following these steps you will begin to rid your inner conversations of negativity and instead have empowering thoughts.

1. Eliminate Internal Negative Chatter

The first step is one of awareness. It will be hard to make a change to positive thinking without being acutely intimate with the thoughts that run through your mind. Recently, I was amazed to discover deep buried emotions from negative thoughts that I had for fewer than 10 minutes. Without awareness, I would have carried the hurt and anger inside. Awareness helped me to bring them out to the open for me to deal with.

Undoubtedly it will not be easy to make a switch if you have a long history or negative self talk. Your talk became negative over the years due to various factors. For instance, if your first grade teacher repeatedly told you that you were “stupid”, you might believe it to be truly the case. You would find that your inner chatter would often be filled with talk of “I am so slow” and “it is so hard to learn”. If you constantly tell yourself such negative stories, your actions are going to reflect your low self esteem. It will be difficult to get very far if you are always putting yourself down.

A common negative talk involves telling yourself “I can’t”. When you say to yourself “I can’t” or “it is too difficult”, you are creating a resistance. Having such a mental block will prevent you from achieving a task you could otherwise succeed at.

Anytime you catch yourself saying “I can’t…”, turn around and challenge your own claim with, “Why can’t I?” Research shows that most geniuses became the people they are also because of the hard work they put in. So if you would like to be successful, you need to start saying “I can” a lot more.

A great method that I have also found useful is to say “Cancel Cancel” each time I find myself saying something negative, whether in the mind or verbally. The method works if you sincerely have the intent of becoming a positive thinker.

2. Positive Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements of a desired outcome or goal. They are usually short, believable and focused. By repeating them over and over again, you build inroads into your subconscious mind, opening up the possibility of a new state of thoughts.

An important step when repeating affirmations is that you need to read your affirmations aloud with feeling. The mere reading of the words bears no consequence unless you put some emotions behind them. Of significant fact is that your subconscious mind takes any orders given in complete faith and after repeated self talk. So the daily practice of repeating affirmations is important.

Initially you may be skepticism toward the statement of your positive affirmation. However, if you follow this simple set of instructions your skepticism will soon give way to a new set of beliefs and then crystallized into absolute faith.

3. Positive Scripts

One thing that you may observe is on how easy it is for your mind to build negative thought upon negative thought. The chatter not only does not stop but it spins a drama that traps and limits you.

From now on, regularly do this exercise instead. Spin an uplifting story that runs like a movie script. Some visualization will be helpful. You build on a story with a positive outline. The longer you can tell this story to yourself the better. It is also best if you can make this story one about having all your goals achieved. When you do this, you start to internalize your goals and dreams, as if they are something that you have already achieved.

4. Replace Negative Influences with Positive Ones

It is important that you identify external negative factors in your life which may be holding your thoughts hostage. For instance, your mental state can become toxic by being around friends who are negative. If you are not vigilant enough, you will start to adopt their thoughts as your own. Hence, be alert to what your negative influences are. If they come from certain friends, limit your exposure to them as much as you can. Refrain from discussing your plans with people who will be unsupportive of your dreams and goals.

Instead surround yourself with thoughts and actions from people who will empower you.
From being uninspired and de-motivated, you will begin to feel uplifted and driven to greater self growth. The positive energy that they vibrate will start affecting the self talk that you engage in as well.

5. Present Tense Messages

You may find yourself daunted by the many things you need to do in order to reach your goals. It just seems overwhelming to become the success that you secretly desire for. Your mind gets caught up in an endless stream of worry.

What may be helpful is to concentrate on steps you can take in the present. If you find yourself becoming stuck, stop and say, “What can I do right now?” Change your internal talk from a future anxiety ridden one to one that is about the more manageable present. You cannot control what will happen in the future but you can take the necessary steps now that will build a better tomorrow. Taking the necessary steps require you to focus your thoughts and inner talk on Now.

6. Confront Fears

Fear is often what holds you back from your success. You are scared of taking chances because you fear losing the security that you enjoy now. You try to convince yourself that you are happy in your current state when in fact, you are not. Your self talk may sound positive in your attempt to lie to yourself. But somehow, there is an inner knowing that you are short changing yourself.

Ask yourself what you are afraid of. What can be the worst that can happen? Take a step-by-step approach in breaking down your fears and see if there is any way round to looking at things more positively. When you confront your fears, you will often realize that the worst case scenario is not as bad as you think. In fact, the benefits of change are worth the risk. Your inner talk begins to change at this point.

7. Focus on Enjoyable Moments

It is much easier to have a positive attitude if you focus on the enjoyable moments in life rather than the difficult ones. While there will inevitably be challenges, you need to remember that life consists of ups and downs and the good times are forged through the bad.

So choose to fill your mind with positive images and thoughts. Make it a conscious habit. Simply bring your mind back every time it goes astray in its thoughts. For a start, if you can be grateful for what you have presently, your self talk will also change to be in alignment with one of joy. A state of gratitude does wonders to your psyche.


Replacing self talk from a negative to a more positive one is not going to happen overnight. If your mind has ingrained habits of thinking negatively, it will take some work and time. However, if you find yourself often struggling, unable to achieve your goals and talking yourself down, then you should grit your teeth and commit to the process of change.

By following the above tips to positive self talk, you will experience an improvement in the quality of your life. The rewards are plentiful with greater happiness, peace and joy. Best of all, you feel empowered. With the change in energy, you are more likely to reach your highest potential and achieve success.


This guest post was written by Evelyn Lim of Attraction Mind Map.

Image by *Zara.

120 Responses to 7 Steps to Positive Self Talk

  1. I am glad to go through such blog, where i find such important information, and i like this blog where the details of 7 steps are been explained in detail.

  2. I wonder sometimes if we really need positive self-talk to work towards our goals.

    Personally I try to always use awareness, eliminating any talk. Then when I decide to do something(usually from a plan) I do it (after getting rid of the chatter that always starts when you try to do something).

    I find the space without chatter brings me the peace and happiness.

  3. Al at 7P says:

    Hi Evelyn – great post. In particular, I like #3. I’m used to people calling it “visualization”, but you describe it as a “script”. To me, a script is a complete story (beginning, middle, conclusion), while visualization is incomplete and is only one or perhaps a handful of scenes.

  4. Shanel Yang says:

    Great post! Psychologists have identified 10 negative thought patterns that plagues most people, such as all-or-nothing thinking and jumping to conclusion, which I describe and explain how best to overcome in my post “10 Harmful Thoughts” at http://shanelyang.com/2008/06/18/10-harmful-thoughts/ Also, it’s impossible to eliminate self-talk, so the best we can hope for — which is also what we want b/c self-talk is so powerful at influencing our attitude and behavior — is to change it from negative or neutral to positive. I wrote about 50 of my own negative self-talk and how I changed them to positive self-talk in my “50 Negative v. Positive Thoughts” at http://shanelyang.com/2008/06/27/50-negative-v-positive-thoughts/

  5. Mike says:

    Great post, confronting your fears is very important. You will find that many are unjustified.

  6. Evelyn Lim says:

    @Jarrod, Yes…most certainly, the experiencing of peace is awesome in the space without chatter. I’ve often experienced this myself during meditation. But outside of it, it’s not easy to stop the chatter. Sometimes actions can help to quieten the noise; but sometimes not. Since it is in the human mind to be engaged, then I would prefer to fill it with positive talk than negative ones.

    @Al, I’m glad that you like this tip because we are all love stories. It is a great way to “engage” your subconscious mind in some kind of plot.


  7. Excellent post. You are correct – it takes effort to maintain the positive. Dugg !

  8. Evelyn –

    I love this article. I’ve been personally using something similar to the positive affirmation – You may call it mantra as it is short but powerful. For example, I self talk in the morning after waking up with – “I’m the best,” Or “It’s a great day”.


  9. Wonderful post there Evelyn!

  10. I try to think rationally nowadays. Most negative self-talk is simply irrational. It’s one thing to blindly think you suck, it’s entirely another to put that thought under scrutiny and analysis. Once you accept who you are a lot of that talk disappears anyway. I’m not an especially outgoing person and I used to beat myself up for it but now that I’ve accepted who I am I’m no longer comparing myself to other talkative people.

  11. Avani-Mehta says:

    Very inspiring. I often use eliminating negative chatter and positive self talk. I still have to try out visualization.

    Have dugg and stumbled.

  12. K. P. says:

    Negitive talk is hard to stop. I think that we don’t need to stop it, more like make it more natural for you to produce a positive talk. I do this by giving a positive reason for anything I used to think of as negative.

  13. Marelisa says:

    Unfortunately a lot of our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of were created when we were too young to evaluate whether what we were being told was the truth or the best way to look at the world. As adults we need to reexamine our belief system because our belief system gives rise to our mind chatter, which then give rise to our actions, which then creates our life. I think posts like this one are important to remind people of this.

  14. @Evelyn: “Since it is in the human mind to be engaged”. Providing I understand what you mean I disagree. The mind is simply the mind, it does not have to be in action more than not.

  15. Linda Abbit says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    This is an excellent compilation of action steps for us to take.

    Stumbled. Congrats on an excellent guest “appearance”!

  16. RaAr says:

    Good post, there are some more points like to add, we also require some negative thought that also improve our performance when we think that we not doing things good than we try to move towards to do things good which lead us to move towards success or doing things good. When we come to know that negative thought over ruling us by making us tense or dipressed or ill or any other negative thing than we have to think opposite to our negative thought.

  17. Hi Evelyn,

    You hit the nail on the head when you stressed how important internalizing positivity is. Negative chatter has a way of mushrooming into other aspects of our lives. How much better it is when we turn that around and learn to live a life filled with optimism.

    Great post!

  18. Open Heart says:

    Hey Evelyn,

    You’re spot on. And this is also something that we need to work on daily, to build the habit and muscle of positiveness.
    It is not that easy for most of us, as we probably have been conditioned since very young to be a bit negative (as a way of protecting ourselves) but through work and focus we can make a difference!

    Open Heart

  19. Ron says:

    Some great stuff in this post.

    Another suggestion I’d make is if you are literally having negative self talk then try changing the tone, pitch or volume of the talk.

    It is hard to take a cartoon voice seriously. Or one that sounds like it just inhaled helium.


  20. Excellent article. Too often we are controlled with limiting beliefs about ourselves that fill our minds coming out as negative self-talk. Positive self-talk is so much more empowering!

  21. gita says:

    Excellent article. Very helpful and full of motivation. I believe by focusing on the tips perhaps I would be able to cope up with my self ctiticizing views which are sow deep down in my mind . mind blowing ideas!

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  27. Larah says:

    I love this, very motivational.
    I think my problem is that I expect too much all at once and give up when I don’t get everything acheived all at once.

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  37. Kc says:

    A good time to practice your affirmations and imagining is at night as you drift off to sleep. The important point is that you practice in a quiet setting where you can relax, close your eyes, and not be interrupted.

  38. Gracey Lou says:

    Yoou should say wat yoou should say in your mind for self talk cause tht would really help out

  39. Excellent advice! We construct or destruct our lives with our thoughts and self talk. I totally agree, fear is a very real problem and one that most people don’t realize they even have.

    Great post.

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  42. Jymolloy says:

    I just can’t seem to say anything to him without him calling me negative. That is the last thing I want. We can’t talk anymore without it turning into a fight. We just don’t understand each other.

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  45. jay says:

    you need to sit down with him and allow him to talk and tell you what he’s not agreeing with.  Once he is finished take a moment and reflect, don’t allow yourself to become angry.  Make a plan with him on the steps you both need to take to communicate better.  Remember negative thoughts turn into begative actions, it’s up to you to make that change.

  46. Sosorry3333 says:

    Depending on  how long you have been in this relationship and how emotionally invested he is with you and the relationship?

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  49. midolmaster says:

    how about you guys stop crying about your life and go jump off a bridge cause no one likes you. They obviously don’t care what you have to say.

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  51. customer service says:

    great article! Affirmations are a very important part of changing your thinking. please check out my website where you can download powerful spoken affirmations set to hypnotic music. http://www.anxietyreliefaffirmations.com
    I wish you well!

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  53. Dianelally says:

    I am 57 years old and still find myself working on positive thinking.  Thje 7 steps above are a good reminder that it takes practice and focus.

  54. Claude says:

    Really actionable post. thank you. You will really help me see why I sometimes go back and forth in my thoughts from negative to positive. I find that it my wife tells me something negative it’s hard to get it out of mind.

    I have been practicing changing all negative thoughts to positive thoughts. It’s a 10 day challenge and I’m getting better at it.

    Sometimes I find I can’t tell if I’m thinking anything at all.

  55. Qklassic says:

    This is so true for me! The rewards are so very plentiful and I am so Blessed yes yes! :-)

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  57. Mark says:

    Read or buy audio to have in your car.  Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and influence people.  It helped me to see good and get along with people as I am often critical and used to be a bit of a know all.

  58. Lisa says:

    Two years after a sudden unexpected break up, I still found my inner chatter going like this:  He broke my heart and crushed my spirit.  My visual was just a million little pieces.  Unfortunately, rather than get angry, I turned against myself.  I just became aware of how disempowering this has been and am trying to change it to an empowering positive statement.  Yes, getting angry might be a helpful step, but certainly not where I’d want to stay.  I just began visualizing a Pink Power Ranger, but would certainly welcome suggestions on affirmations and visuals:)!

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  61. steveborgman says:

    Thanks for such a powerful and precise article!  I especially love the concept of asking ourselves, “What can I do now?”  If we combine question with facing fears and problems, we’ll be much more successful in our lives.  Another question we can ask ourselves, when feeling overwhelmed is, “What is the next smallest action I can take?” 

  62. Sarah Darcy says:

    I found this post really beneficial. Lately I have been struggling with negative self talk. I especially related to point number 5. I am always worrying about what WILL be, not what IS. I think it will be really helpful for me to recognize this and work on trying to stay focused on what is happening in the present, not what could possible happen three years down the line. I will also definitely be trying number 3- I think really internalizing a positive, pleasant future will help my thoughts change. It is important to begin thinking about success stories, not stories of failure. 

  63. Tiffanyallison26 says:

    why do you have to be so mean?

    seriously?!? some people need to get advice or courage from someone else.

  64. Dr. Harry Henshaw says:

    Excellent suggestions for increasing positive self talk and self esteem.  To improve your self talk takes work and commitment.  

  65. Great stuff. I like the bit about focusing on the present, and what you can do now – not getting hung up on the future. This is realistic and helps promote positivity, limiting the feeling of being overwhelmed…

    For more positivity check out my ‘Top Feel-Goods’ page on my blog: http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1561833168102062699#editor/target=page;pageID=7775209790825192523

  66. 'Sup says:




  68. Noname says:

    loving life in college  doing positive self talk #yeahbuddy


    Kimuuuun Bede college!!

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  71. BLAAH says:

    thank you very much for this – great reminder!
    negative self talk to positive self talk is in the process now 😉 iknow ican do this!
    thanks again, was very helpful.

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  77. mild says:

    Thank you so much!! this treatise is useful for improve myselt.

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  81. Jules Duval says:

    Do this one day at a time, just a little at a time. You’ll make steady progress, and don’t ever give up!!

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  84. sukhman says:

    Man I love u .. u have changed my life … awesome and perfect article

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  88. Tim says:

    #5 hit home the most for me. Asking “what can I do now?” is a great way to pull you out of the stream of worry so you can take action.

  89. This article is well structured and a great reminder of the steps necessary for a productive frame of mind.

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  91. Joe Barry says:

    The Same with me. I actually wrote it down and put it in my wallet

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  93. Daniel says:

    For years I tried to convince myself that I was happy where I was. It paid well. The job was OK. I was kind of happy. It just wasn’t “it”.

    Fear makes us stay still and staying still is one of the worst things for our potential.


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  118. Tricia says:

    I am researching the effects of positive self-talk on one’s health, and your blog post gave me some wonderful insight. Your writing is in-depth, and contained unique information that I could not find from any other source. One of my favorite lines is from step number 5, where you say to ask yourself, “What can I do right now?”. Being positive is not easy when the future hangs over our heads, and from this post, I learned that thinking about the present is a way to combat that. Thank you for writing, it has truly helped me in my research

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