Haggai International founder, Dr. John Edmund Haggai, went to be with the Lord in 2020. As we uphold his legacy, we continue to draw from the wisdom he left behind in writings like “Notes from My Diary,” a publication he sent to close friends. You’ll find his reflections from the past are timelier than ever. The following was written in the Fall of 2015.
Psychologists say that we self-talk at an incredible speed, probably more than 500 words a minute. Some say we self-talk at 10,000 words a minute. Sports psychologists have clearly shown that an athlete’s performance can be diminished if he or she has the habit of repeating negative statements about himself or herself.
The conclusion is clear. If you keep repeating something to yourself, you will gradually come to believe it and will eventually act on it. So beware, particularly, of whatever you say repeatedly to yourself — if it is negative, change it to something positive.
For example, replace the self-talk “I am completely overwhelmed by the stress of my job” with “I can manage my work stress if I break my work responsibilities down into attainable smaller goals.” And, of course, repeat the latter positive statement over and over again, until it becomes a habitual and automatic positive self-statement.
Positive self-talk can become a useful habit with many potential applications, including:
- Improving your ability to control and change your behavior, e.g. motivate yourself to carry out goal-directed behavior, for example, losing weight
- Improving your ability to regulate your moods and emotional reactions
- Increasing your understanding of yourself.
For example, by monitoring your self-talk, you can become aware if you have any worries, preoccupations, unfulfilled goals, etc.
- Changing your beliefs about yourself and your capacities
- Increasing your self-esteem and creating a positive self-identity
- Increasing your creativity
- Improving your interpersonal interactions (social behavior can be influenced profoundly by one’s self-talk)
Self-talk plays an extremely important role in human lives, and we can improve our lives by learning how to better manage our self-talk. Above all, self-talk must glorify God if you wish to move to the outer limits of your potential.
Also, ponder Psalm 77:6, “I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search” (KJV).