You can’t.

You’re not worth it.

That’s too much for you.

Why are you even trying?

Do these phrases sound familiar? Chances are you’ve not heard them said out loud but internally.

Most people have an internal monologue, whether they’re conscious of it or not. It’s often called the little voice inside your head. It can be your conscience speaking. Perhaps your inner monologue narrates your day, or it offers pep talks. Unfortunately, our inner voice is also where self-doubt and negativity emerge.

How you think impacts how you feel and what you do. Negative thoughts can get in the way of your daily activities, your progress with goals and even your performance at work.

Follow these steps to redirect your inner voice:1

Be aware

Recognize that negative thoughts don’t serve you. Or bring you joy. Or move you forward. They simply keep you stuck. Choose to acknowledge their presence and move past them.


When you feel negative about something you’ve done, flip the conversation. Turn it into something actionable you can do to get back on track. Don’t think, “I overate at lunch, I’m the worst.” Instead, tell yourself, “So I ate more than I planned, but I’m going to get in extra steps. I’ll get back on track starting now.”

Have a plan

Counter negative self-talk with something more soothing. Find words that can take you to a more neutral state. Maybe it’s a mantra, poem, phrase, song or just a positive affirmation that inspires you.

Make a list

Write down all the things in your life that make you content and happy. Refer to your list often, particularly when your little voice is ramping up the negativity. This can offer comfort by reminding you that things are OK. Place your focus on the positive, not the negative.

Don’t act on negative self-talk

Take a step back and look at your situation with objectivity instead of emotion. Look at facts and how they may or may not affect you. What choices do you have? The perspective should take the emotional sting out of the situation and allow you to move on.

Positive thinking can help you stay motivated to keep relationships healthy and to accomplish your goals. The more you redirect your inner voice to silence that inner critic, the more positive it will become. We can all use cheering on.

Find my doctor

Give your inner voice more to cheer for. Start an exercise routine that is good for your heart and will make it stronger in five steps.

Published January 24, 2024


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