Are the words you use more like a tire pump or a nail? When we tell ourselves, “I’m not good enough” or “I won’t succeed,” we puncture our confidence, success and happiness like a nail flattens a tire.

Positive self-talk like, “I’ll do my best and see what happens” works like a tire pump. We expand our confidence, self-esteem and our enthusiasm about achieving our goals. Our confidence and our ability to succeed automatically grow when we consciously manage our self-talk. That’s why Henry Ford told his workers, “You’re always right because if you think you can’t, you can’t. If you think you can, you can.”

Which of the sharp-nail (self-sabotage) phrases below do you sometimes think or say?

  • “I should have handled it better.”
  • “I’ll never get it right.”
  • “I’m always late.”
  • “I should have acted faster/sooner.”
  • “I screwed up again.”

Negative self-talk extends a special invitation to our inner critic. We’re saying, “Stop by for long chat. Chip away at my confidence, success and happiness just like a shoddy artist destroys a beautiful marble statue.”

To gain control over your future, become conscious of the language you think and speak. Decide to use words that reinforce your abilities. Firmly implant the suggestion in your mind, “I’m eager to learn and grow. I can choose what I think about so my self-talk will fuel my happiness and success.”


“Trying” is like an angry hissing serpent concealed in sheep’s clothing. When you say, "I'll try” to do something, you’re telling yourself, "I may or not follow through. I'm supposed to do a certain task, but I really don't want to." You're telling yourself to keep trying instead of achieving.

Why is this so dangerous? Trying is the opposite of achieving a goal. Since you can’t “try” and “do” at the same time, ask yourself, “Would I rather try or do I want to be happy and successful?”

Scientists have proven that using the word “try” actually makes your body weaker than when you use words like “can” and “will”.   You can also prove this to yourself.

  • Say out loud, “I’ll try to complete my task”. Record how you feel in your shoulders, gut and heart when you say you’ll “try” to complete your task. What does your posture tell you?
  • Exhale deeply. When you think you’ve totally exhaled, exhale a little more before you complete the rest of this exercise. You’re clearing space for a new perspective.
  • Now say out loud, “I have a plan to complete my task and I’m committed to my plan.” Notice the difference in how your body responds when you express commitment to a plan” instead of saying, “I’ll try.” What does your body tell you when you do this? Write a note about how you feel when your self-talk is realistic and optimistic.
  • Now, exhale very deeply before you say out loud, with conviction, “I can and I will complete my task.” Make a note about what message your body gives you when your self-talk is positive.
  • During the next few days, notice how powerful you are. Observe how your choices elevate your control over your life. Even tiny changes in your self-talk produce dramatically different feelings in your body, emotions and confidence. Over time, these changes create the success and happiness you want.

Your subconscious mind functions in a very literal manner. It follows your directions in precise detail. Therefore, in spite of your conscious intentions, when you tell yourself you’ll “try” to do something, your faithful unconscious sets up a situation in which you keep trying . . . and trying . . . and trying. Do you see how we either frustrate or empower ourselves with specific words and phrases?


Another great example of the power of language concerns words that indicate personal choice. When you pepper your speech and self-talk with should's, could's, ought to's, and have to's, your subconscious mind perceives that you aren't choosing to complete an action. The result? You feel dis-empowered, stressed, and guilty.

You don't have to lie to yourself to get things done. If “I can’t” is accurate right now, insert a sense of future that will empower you. Instead of saying, “I can’t do it,” you can say, “I haven’t yet done it.”  Notice what happens when you use this future-oriented phrase, “I haven’t yet  . . “ You’re introducing hope while retaining your honesty.

Choose to use language that supports your highest intentions instead of inviting your inner critic to babble away and destroy your confidence, motivation, passion and achievement.


This has been an introduction to strengths-based language, one of many proven ways to conquer your inner critic. Discover many more shortcuts to true personal power, success and happiness. Explore free tips and videos from the bestselling book, “Conquer Your Inner Critic” at

Author's Bio: 

© 2013. Excerpted with permission from the Bestselling Book, “Conquer Your Inner Critic” by Doris Helge, Ph.D., named “One of the Top Ten Coaches in America.” With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Doris has a proven track record that will help you Conquer your Inner Critic and Create Your New Life Story. Download your free ebooks and see helpful videos at