04/03/2015 04:50 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2015

The One Thing You Need for Positive Change

In my empowerment coaching practice, I work closely with clients to create their ideal lives, revamp what's going on for them and challenge them to live better overall. The one thing I've noticed with all of my clients who are successful in creating major positive change is their willingness to recognize negative self-talk.

This is the one thing that is essential in generating authentic and sustainable positive change no matter what your goal is.

Acknowledging negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings is the pre-cursor to fixing it, with an eventual outcome of reversing those beliefs and replacing them with positive and truthful self-talk. We all have adverse thoughts. It is normal. But it also gets in our way of achieving all that we can, being happier, and living life to the fullest. In order to put those thoughts and attitudes to rest, they must be observed and ultimately confronted. Addressing negative thoughts is the genuine catalyst to constructive improvements in mood, outlook and more. When you understand where the skepticism is coming from, you become more empowered.

From time to time, I see clients get stuck on the 'observing negative self-talk step' for several reasons. The most popular reasons being that they are embarrassed to say out loud what they say to themselves; and/or because they are reluctant to put energy toward negativity. Logically, these are good arguments. Even if you have a trusted relationship with a life coach, family member, friend, etc. - it's a scary experience to let someone know what you're really thinking about yourself and your ambitions. As for the second argument - who wants to hire a life coach that focuses on negativity, right? I explain the process like this: you must pull the weeds before you plant the flowers!

To pulverize those 'weeds', let's look at the source of the negative self-talk. There is a purpose and reason for all of it whether the inner antagonism is validated or not. Perhaps the thoughts come from fear, sadness, worry, protection, or other feelings. Or maybe it's programmed in your brain from specific outside influences such as unsupportive people, bad experiences, entertainment sources, or elsewhere.

Initially, identifying those disapproving thoughts or beliefs can be tough. They are slippery little suckers ingrained in us from a lifetime of experiences. But once you catch one of those thoughts, it is your duty to acknowledge it and challenge it. You may find that most of your negative self-talk is untrue and possibly habitual. If that is the case, you can work to change that habit just like you would diminish any other habit. Extinguish it altogether, or - probably more logical in this case - replace the false pessimistic thinking with positive and beneficial statements. Sometimes you may find that the bad self-talk is true or has the potential to come true. The key here is to not give the power to the negative part or lie to yourself with a blissfully optimistic declaration. The solution would be to find and capitalize the positive part of the experience you're feeling down about. There is always something constructive you can bring your attention to, even if it's not the part of the experience you hoped would be great. Find that positivity and create an effective mantra that will combat that mean little self-talk gremlin!

As you become more aware of your thoughts and gain strength in empowering the positive side, you too will eventually notice an improved mood and outlook that will manifest more fulfillment!