Going Deeper | Watch Your Self-Talk…. It’s a Snap!



Watch Your Self-Talk…. It’s a Snap!

Want a fun way to become more consciously aware of your verbal and nonverbal self-talk? Try taking the 24-hour rubber band challenge. Do it alone or invite others to share in the eye-opening fun.

Take a loose-fitting rubber band and place it around your wrist. Make sure it’s not too tight so that it leaves an imprint or too loose that it easily falls off. Then, over the next 24 hours, go about your day. Any time you notice any negative, limiting, sarcastic, thoughts or comments about yourself or others, give the rubber band a light snap.

The intention of the challenge is to create conscious awareness, not inflict pain through negative reinforcement. The purpose is to make you more aware of how often your automatic responses and patterns of thinking are negative and limiting, affecting your perspective, perceptions, and performance.


Rules of Engagement

When conducting this exercise with others:

  1. You are not permitted to snap another person’s rubber band.
  2. Please refrain from accusing or labeling another’s negative self-talk when you hear it. In the event they don’t take note of their own negativity, simply encourage them to consider how they might reframe their comment to be more constructive the next time. Don’t coach backwards by reinforcing your perception of their limiting attitudes.
  3. Watch your self-talk when you or others mess up! Practice using “the next time” technique to stop the negative self-talk cycle. Rather than blame yourself with, “Here I go again…” condemnation, correct the cycle with, “That’s not like me. I’m positive and thoughtful with my self-talk. And the next time I encounter this situation, I plan to….” (then give yourself the picture of how you intend to respond more effectively and lovingly the next time).
  4. Start a journal and make note of the incidents or occasions when your self-talk is particularly negative. Do this for at least 30 days to see if recurring events or patterns emerge.

If you want to create a new habit of constructive, positive self-talk, consider going beyond the 24-hour challenge. If you stay actively and consistently engaged in this exercise, you’ll create new habit formation within 30-42 days.