Make Your Resolutions Stick With a Quick Pep Talk

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

If Saturday Night Live’s Stuart Smalley character is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about self affirmations, you’re not alone.

While Smalley (portrayed by current United States Senator Al Franken) was cheesy and overly dramatic, the positive thoughts he said to himself in a mirror could actually be something you might want to consider emulating, maybe minus the schmaltz.

If you find that you tend to be your own worst critic – repeating a constant internal dialogue of everything you’re doing wrong – changing the way you talk to yourself could help you make healthier choices and stick with them.

Several studies have compared the behavior and responses of participants who were either instructed to engage in self affirming talk or not. They’ve found that groups who used positive self talk made better decisions when it came to negative health behaviors such as excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, poor nutrition, and smoking.

Research suggests that “deploying self-affirmation … has positive effects, promoting message acceptance, intentions to change, and subsequent behavior.”

As you’re making New Year’s resolutions, remember the power your own words have in determining whether or not you’ll be successful. When you start to say something negative about yourself, consider whether you’d say it to someone else in a similar situation. Unless you’re the world’s worst friend, you likely wouldn’t say half the negative thoughts you think about yourself out loud to your bestie.

Saying “I’m human and allowed to make mistakes,” instead of “Ugh, I’m so stupid,” over tiny transgressions might be what you need to really make this year’s resolutions stick. As you’re taking steps toward change, practice showing yourself some love, compassion, and understanding along the way.

You really are good enough, doggone it!

Photo credit: Phillip Dean




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