In today’s video, I share some crucial tips on how to improve your self-talk.

Read or watch below to learn more about how to improve your self-talk.

Zachary Stockill: “Self-talk” is a trendy topic nowadays. Self-talk can be defined as the things we tell ourselves about ourselves repeatedly.

Our self-talk is usually subconscious. We often tell ourselves things about ourselves without even realizing it. Thus, improving our self-talk is one of the easiest and fastest ways to change our lives for the better and to be happier people.

I believe I’ve made significant progress in improving my self-talk, and today, I’d like to share some tips on how you can achieve similar improvements.

My name is Zachary Stockill, and since 2013, I’ve been working with men and women from all over the world, helping them overcome retroactive jealousy and save their relationships.

The first step in improving our self-talk is to acknowledge that we make sense of the world by telling ourselves stories.

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We tell ourselves stories about everything, and we may not even realize it.

We may take certain things for granted, including stories, perspectives, and thoughts about various subjects. Our interpretations of people, places, events, and even ourselves are uniquely ours, reflecting personal perspectives that are entirely our own.

The way we get through life, good or bad, is by telling ourselves stories about ourselves and about the way the world works, and a crucial component of living a better life is to simply realize this:

We always have the option to tell ourselves a better story about anything, including ourselves.

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We often tell ourselves stories that we inherit. For example, our parents may have had certain beliefs about sex and sexuality as children that we were exposed to without even realizing it.

We’re carrying those narratives around with us for the rest of our lives, or maybe we find some YouTuber, for example…

You’re looking for insight into something, and you attach on to a narrative, a particular point of view, and you don’t even realize it.

But that narrative or that point of view influences your thinking moving forward. It’s influencing the story that you’re telling yourself. All of this encourages you to start thinking about the stories you’re telling yourself.

And if you’re reading this article about improving your self-talk, start thinking specifically about what your self-talk looks like.

The narratives you’re repeatedly telling yourself about yourself, perhaps even subconsciously—what are these stories? Consider the narratives you hold about your past, future and the stories you tell yourself about your present.

Think broadly about this question. Get creative. And think outside the box. It isn’t always an easy question to answer. I want to be clear about that.

Working with a skilled therapist or coach can be incredibly beneficial in this context.

While I’m not here to promote my services, my extensive experience helping people in similar situations could be valuable. For more information about my work, feel free to click here.

But if not, that’s okay too. If you’re stuck, another good place to start is to consider the adjectives you would use to describe yourself. Good or bad, what are some of the adjectives that you would use to describe yourself?

If you were someone outside of yourself—in other words, if you were an impartial third party looking at you—what words would you use to describe yourself?

It may be positive things like “ambitious,” “fit,” “smart,” “funny,” or whatever, but there may also be some negativity thrown in there too, like “fat,” “dumb,” “unmotivated,” “lazy,” or whatever. You get my drift. And if you want to be serious about this exercise, be brutally honest with yourself.

Also, it’s important to acknowledge that some of these self-perceptions might not be entirely inaccurate. For instance, if you consider yourself overweight, perhaps there’s some truth to that.

This doesn’t mean all your self-talk is entirely off the mark. Some of it may be accurate, but a lot probably isn’t. The aim is to get as much of this down on the page as possible.

The next step is tricky. It’s not easy, but over time, it becomes easier.

The next step involves quickly catching those thoughts as they arise.

So if you have a moment where you’re starting to get down on yourself, or you’re not giving yourself the credit that you’re due, or you don’t accept a compliment from someone, or you start feeling insecure, or whatever, start catching those moments as quickly as possible.

And by ‘catching them,’ I mean recognizing and noting them. Notice when you think, ‘I’m being too hard on myself here,’ or ‘I’m not acknowledging my own achievements,’ or even question, ‘Why am I resisting that compliment?’

Start identifying these moments as swiftly as you can. Begin making mental notes whenever you catch yourself being self-critical or diminishing your worth.

The next step is to start telling yourself a better story.

An excellent way to start doing that with some of your negative self-talk is to begin reframing it. So, for example, I’m going to use the “weight example” because it’s very close to my heart. I’ve struggled with my weight at various moments in my life.

This is one of my own challenges, a personal demon I face. When I catch myself thinking, ‘Look at you, Zach, you’re overweight, and this and that,’ I try to reframe it positively.

I remind myself, ‘Yes, I’ve been here before, but I’ve lost weight in the past, and I can do it again. Sure, it’s a struggle, but I’ve made progress over the years. It’s not an insurmountable challenge, and I am capable of overcoming it.’

Or, ‘Zach, remember that time you lost 30 pounds in one summer? You can do that again. It’s just about taking the necessary steps.’

By doing this, I’m reframing the story that I’m telling myself, because if you go around telling yourself, “I’m fat, I’m fat, I’m fat, and there’s nothing I can do” you’re describing it like it’s some inescapable condition.

‘I just can’t do anything about it. I am who I am, and that’s who I am, and it sucks, and there’s nothing I can do.’ There’s a real victim mentality embedded in that way of thinking, and that’s something I’m not interested in at all.

So, if there’s a way to reframe that, and if there’s a way to reframe that with an emphasis on taking action, that’s a way better use of my time and my mental energy than just going around with this label in my head: “I’m fat.”

So you can think about this with anything. There’s always a way to reframe the story that you’re telling yourself in your head.

But again, the most critical component is identifying it in the first place. So don’t neglect that first step.

Now, the next component in this is:

After you’ve identified the story you’re telling yourself and started to reframe it, make sure that your actions are congruent with the new story you’re telling yourself.

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For example, if I go around calling myself overweight in my head and just getting down on my appearance, and then I start to reframe it by thinking, “yes, but I’ve lost weight in the past, and I’m taking steps, and this is not insurmountable…”

But then I spend the next six months eating Cheetos on the couch; my attempts to reframe my self-talk are not going to matter very much. They’re not going to matter. Because my actions aren’t congruent with the narrative I’m trying to create in my head.

And this is a component that I think is often lost in a lot of self-help literature and self-help thinking, where the emphasis is on affirmations and words and choosing a new narrative.

But there isn’t a lot of emphasis placed on actually taking action and ensuring that your actions are congruent with the narrative you’re crafting in your head.

Make sure that the actions you’re taking are congruent with your self-talk.

Because if your life is not harmonious with this new self-talk that you’re trying to ingrain in your head, eventually, your brain will not regard that self-talk at all.

It’s going to go back to the negative self-talk because it realizes that your actions are not lining up with this narrative that you’re painting in your head.

So be sure that your actions are starting to be congruent with the new self-talk you’re trying to incorporate into your daily life. It will significantly speed up the process.

Finally, it’s a good idea to get into this habit of constantly keeping an eye on your self-talk and going through this process, rather than getting lazy and letting yourself sink into depression and all the rest.

Always keep in mind, as you go through life, that your self-talk is completely within your control.

You have the power to change it, shift its direction, and align your actions with your new, ideal self-talk. This is one of the most potent methods for cultivating greater happiness in your life.

If you are currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course.

Or, if you need more help, then you can consider signing up for one-on-one coaching with me. [Subject to availability]


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.