Key to staying motivated? Personal pep-talks

NEW YORK – July 12, 2016 – Motivational “self talk” is key to keeping yourself on track when it comes to personal or workplace goals, according to a study of more than 44,000 participants in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Researchers studied three popular techniques for motivation: self-talk, imagery and if-then planning.

Self-talk example: If an interview did not go well, self-talk people will say something to themselves, such as “I’ll be more confident in the next one.” According to researchers, this self pep talk may be the key to staying motivated and succeed at the next one.

With imagery, someone might visualize their end result – what success will feel like after the fact.

With if-then planning a person might engage in a technique like “If I can help the home buyer find a good contractor, then I’ll feel like I served them better.” Often, imagery leads into if-then planning.

However, researchers found that participants who used self-talk tended to perform best across the tasks tested. Imagery came in second as the most effective technique, while if-then planning was found to be the least effective.

“While findings show the positive effects of imagery and self-talk strategies when focused on outcome and process, it appears the self-talk process had additional advantages in that participants believed it was an effective mental preparation strategy to use,” researchers said. “Self-talk and imagery are both skills people use organically – that is without formal training. However, it appears that self-talk is perceived to be beneficial possibly because it is simpler to learn than imagery.”

“A key message from the findings is that a brief self-talk intervention focused on motivational outcomes just prior to performance intensified pleasant emotions, arousal and effort, and led to improved performance,” the researchers noted.

Source: “Looking for Motivation? The Simplest Strategy May Also Be the Best,” Forbes.com (June 30, 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD

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