Action-oriented Self-talk

Congrats. You may give a pat on your back for completing the first module.

You know, our procedure of this course is as follows:

  • First you are given   preliminary Information (modules 1-3). This section is filled with information that will put your whole self to work for you. But make sure that you are familiar with all the information in the Preliminary Information before you proceed to the practical part. Most self-discipline failures occur because of a lack of psychological preparation. The Preliminary Information part is designed to provide you with the necessary psychological preparation to make this program work.
  • Next comes the program for the development of awareness and attitude (modules 4-8).
  • Then, you’ll look into your underlying belief system and develop power tools needed for self-discipline (modules 9-13).
  • Then all the insights that you have gathered is put into Action (modules 14-16).


This system evolved over years of experimentation and research and improved further through classes, workshops, and seminars. Its overall design has a purpose. Each exercise, technique, and lesson was designed to follow the one that precedes it.

“One day at a time” is good advice when making a behavior change. That is why I send you the program in modules one after the other. It would do you good if you can do at least one module a day. If you have a more relaxed schedule now, you can even make it to two a day. It is better to finish the program within a couple of weeks. Remember:

Follow the instructions!

Do the exercises in order!

Welcome to module 2

Often we do not do what we want to do and, at the same time, we do what we do not want to do (Rom 7.15) . This paradox is very disheartening especially when your important projects are at stake because of this odd nature of ours. You may compare it to what you might feel when you start your car and it takes you to where you do not intend to go. Thank God, our machines generally function in the way they are designed.

Often behind the scene of our conscious wanting to do something good, there is a more subtle counter- talk, more or less unconscious, that sabotages our good projects. In this module we shall look into the constant self-talk that goes on in us. If we can capitalize this capacity constructively, we may make a real difference in our lives.

Part one-Self-Discipline module 2


Action-oriented Self-talk

Have salt in yourselves (Lk 9.50)

 

Now that you have an understanding of how the Hyde side of your psychological makeup works, you need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the powerful simplicity of action-oriented self-talk.

Although just about everyone has heard of self-talk, few people actually know how it works. When it comes to self-talk, limited knowledge is almost as useless as no knowledge. Self-talk is a powerful tool that can be used successfully to deal with Hyde’s tactics. To make self-talk work for you, you need to know its three basic requirements. It must be Positive, Specific, and Present Tense.

With that said, let’s take a look at the overall self-talk process. Self-talk always goes on, even when you don’t consciously hear it. That’s right, you constantly receive messages from yourself, they never stop. Every second of your day you make choices based on these messages. Whether you are deciding what to eat, what to wear, or what to do, a process of choice is taking place. The choices that determine your actions are based on self-talk. Self-talk is a conversation you have with yourself. Often, this occurs subconsciously. This inner conversation is comparable to the background music that plays while you shop in a supermarket. The music plays but you don’t really hear it unless you consciously and purposely focus your attention on it. But even though you aren’t consciously aware of it, this background music has an effect on your behavior. Why does your local super-market play background music while the customers roam the aisles? Research has shown time and time again that background music influences our buying patterns. The stores wouldn’t do it if it didn’t increase sales.

Did you hear about the fellow who returned a shirt to the clothing store and told the salesman, “After I got home, I realized that I don’t like this shirt. I just liked the song that was playing in the store when I bought it.

 

Subconsciously, there are debates going on within us that we seldom actually hear, but that severely influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Sometimes Hyde wins a subconscious debate that we didn’t even know was taking place. This is precisely why you often find yourself doing things that you don’t really want to do, or conversely, not doing things that you do want to do. Have you ever said to yourself, “I don’t know why I did that.” Get the idea?

In other words, your behavior is constantly being influenced without your being aware of it. When you find yourself having difficulty with self-discipline, it’s because Hyde is conducting secret debates. Have you ever started to watch television rather than work on an over-due assignment that you had been putting off?

This happens because the part of you that wants to get the task done didn’t get a chance to join in on the debate. Hyde, you see, has played the game of backroom politics on you. That’s how Hyde works, subconsciously, in the backroom of your mind. When you consciously say to yourself, “Heck, I’ve just got to get that closet organized,” the subconscious debate begins. Hyde, the part of you that doesn’t want self-discipline, goes into action subconsciously. The votes are secretly cast, and two hours later you find yourself sitting on the sofa watching the conclusion of a bad television movie, and wondering why you didn’t spend those two hours putting the closet in order, or working on a report, or start working at a much desired article you had agreed to write.
The conscious part of you that wanted to be productive didn’t get an opportunity to influence your behavior.

 

Remember: Hyde works subconsciously.

So, how can you expect to win a debate when you don’t hear half of it? You can’t! In order to counteract Hyde’s influence, you need to turn up the volume on your subconscious self-talk. You can then begin to program your subconscious mind to support, rather than inhibit, your efforts at accomplishing your goals. That’s the only way to diminish Hyde’s control.


By replacing self-defeating subconscious messages with positive, specific, present tense messages, you will find that your powers of self-discipline are instantly improved. Believe me, this simple concept will change your life. I’ve seen people

who tried this for a week surprise themselves with their accomplishments. Later you’ll learn about other self-discipline tools to combine with action-oriented self-talk.

The main reason you’re learning about self-talk first is because you’ll need to use it immediately in your dealings with Hyde during the early stages of this self-discipline development program. Self-talk will be even more powerful when you begin to combine it with the other tools you’ll learn about later. But for now let’s look at the specifics of how action-oriented self-talk works.

Self-talk:

What do you say and how do you say it?

Action-oriented self-talk overrules self-defeating self-talk by being Positive, Specific, and Present Tense.

Why? Your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it. It looks to you for reality. If you tell it that, “I am now working on my report,” then your subconscious mind will turn all its attention to your report, no matter what you actually are doing when you say it.

The subconscious mind understands only the concept of present tense. So whatever message it receives that is stated in the present tense, it believes. Then it directs all your inner resources toward carrying out that message.

If your conscious self-talk says, “I should work on my report,” or “I ought to work on my report,” then the message your subconscious hears is, “I am not currently working on my report.” So it doesn’t move you toward working on your report. Moreover, while you are saying to yourself, “I should work on my report”, Hyde is sending a present tense message that says, “I am now watching television.” You need to know that your subconscious mind sends messages to your motor functions, emotions, and other members of your physical and psychological network.

If your subconscious mind believes that you are currently working on a report, then that’s what your feet, hands, and every other part of your body want to be doing. Simultaneously, your subconscious mind will focus on ways to put your report together. Let’s say that you are engaged in an activity you consider a misuse of your time. Let’s say, for instance, that you are reading a magazine. Then you begin to think that writing a letter would be a better use of your time. Hyde then says subconsciously, “I am reading a magazine.” Every time you consciously think of writing the letter, Hyde subconsciously repeats, “I am reading a magazine.”

Your subconscious mind believes what you tell it. So, if you begin to repeat “I am writing a letter,” then your subconscious mind will focus your attention, physical and mental, on writing the letter. As your hands hold the magazine, they will begin to feel agitated. Your feet will want to move you toward whatever supplies you need to write the letter. Your mind will begin composing the letter. Your whole being will go into a state of agitation and conflict, and won’t settle down until you are actually writing the letter. As long as you repeat your positive, specific, present-tense self-talk message, you will feel compelled to write the letter; no other activity can satisfy you.

But beware!

Hyde, realizing that the “I am reading a magazine,” message is not getting through, will begin to employ one or more of the diversionary poisons (cynicism, negativism, etc.) that we discussed earlier. Guess what? To be effective, Hyde’s ploy needs to implement self-talk. But because you now are aware of what Hyde is saying, you can dispute that message and repeat your message over and over, and overrule Hyde’s message. Your subconscious mind will respond to only one message at a time. Try it. As you repeat your message over and over to your subconscious, observe how your body and mind respond. You’ll be surprised.

 

Important:

Repetition is the key to success. The more you repeat your message, the harder your subconscious mind will work toward your desires.

Hyde is good at self-talk. But with practice, you soon will be even better.

Remember, in using the self-talk technique, you need to state to your subconscious mind exactly what you want to be doing, as if you are actually already doing it. Your subconscious mind works toward making outer reality match inner reality. So, upon receiving your message, your subconscious mind will direct all of your resources toward making whatever you tell it become a reality. You will be amazed at what happens when you repeatedly, forcefully, and positively state to your subconscious mind what you want to do, be, or have as if it were already a reality. This works with both short term and long term goals. And remember, in order to be effective, action-oriented self-talk must be Positive, Specific, and Present Tense.

 

Hey! Watch your language!

The way you use words during self-talk has a tremendous impact on whether your subconscious mind works for you or against you. For instance when you say, “I can’t…,” rather than, “I choose not to…,” you convey to your subconscious mind that you have no choice in the situation. This creates a helpless attitude about your behavior and weakens your resolve. “I choose…” implies that you have a choice in the matter. Likewise, when you say “I must…,” and “I have to….” you are telling your subconscious mind that you have no control over your behavior, that someone or something outside yourself is in the driver’s seat. This does not enthusiastically work to move you toward your goals. Therefore, always say “I choose to…,” which, after all, usually is the truth of the matter. Also, beware of using “I should…” It implies to your subconscious mind that your choice of behavior is being made from a position of guilt, which serves to undermine your self-discipline power.

Remember:It’s “I choose …”When your subconscious mind hears your priorities stated in a forceful, positive manner, it feels your power. It then uses that power to mobilize your inner resources toward achieving your priorities. In other words, words count.

A final tip:If you state your self-talk messages aloud, then they will be even stronger because your message will involve two physical components, speech and hearing. Your messages will have the power and support of not only your mental network, but also your physical network. All the muscles and motor functions that are involved in your speaking and hearing will be activated and enlisted in the process of moving you toward doing your desired activity. In other words, the more parts of yourself you involve in your self-talk, the more powerful the message will be to your subconscious mind. And, in turn, your subconscious mind will have more strength to support the actions you desire.

Personal Exercise: Review the current day from the time you woke up and identify the inner conversation that has been going on in you. Pick out the key statements that your Hyde is persistently telling you when you embark on your projects. (5 minutes)

For Reflection and prayer: Contemplate on Jesus self-talk which supported his project of life. (“My food is to do the will of him who sent me” Jn 4.34). Hyde working in the voice of Peter and Jesus response “get behind me, Satan!” (Mt 16.23).

Home work to be sent before the next module: Answer the following questions.

  1. 1.Why is an “I choose…” statement more effective to influence behavior than “I should… “ or “I must..I have to” statements?
  2. 2.How does your Hyde sabotage your conscious plans using unconscious self talk?
  3. 3.From your self observation what are some of the common themes of your self talk?


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