It’s the time of year when we look back, assess our performance, and plan for the year ahead. What worked and what didn’t? What do we want to do differently? Reflection is an essential element for personal growth and change. It creates self-awareness and assists us in developing our leadership skills.

However, it is counterproductive if we continuously replay things that went poorly over and over with negative self-talk. That is not reflection, that’s rumination, and it can impair our ability to move on from mistakes and seriously undermine our confidence. 

What are you telling yourself about your performance? It’s productive to review wins and losses. However, most people focus on the negatives rather than the positives. According to research on self-talk, how you do it matters. It’s not just what you say to yourself; it’s also the language you use.

So how can you practice self-coaching to regulate your self-talk?

1. Talk to yourself like a coach would. Although a coach may assist you in reviewing poor choices or behavior, they will not call you names, doubt your abilities, or cast aspersions on your character.

2. Reframe your self-talk by focusing on what you do well. Science suggests that what we focus on sticks with us. Practice self-coaching using motivational and encouraging dialogue, recognizing previous successes to influence your behavior.

3. Practice a growth mindset. Acknowledge where you are and ask yourself what skills you want to develop and the efforts you need to make to do so.

4. Practice self-compassion and mindfulness. Do not over identify with negative emotions or behavior. Name them and move on by using supportive and caring language with yourself.

Self-coaching by regulating your self-talk will assist you in learning how to grow, change, and lead through disappointments as well as to improve your confidence over time. Don’t worry- you will get better with practice!