A recent study by Sanda Dolcos at the Neuroscience Lab at the University of Illinois tested whether motivational self-talk worked better if you address yourself as “you” or “I”.
The results suggest that saying “You can do it” is more effective than “I can do it”. I’m saying ‘suggests’ because there are a few doubts about the study: as so often, all the test subjects were psychology students; they only looked at written self-advice rather than internal dialogue; and although the “you” group of students who wrote self-advice about exercising more later said that they planned to exercise and had more positive attitudes to exercise than the “I” group, the study didn’t go on to check if they actually did exercise more.
Nevertheless, this is the best indication of what works in self-talk that we have at the moment, and it fits with earlier findings that people tend to use “you” more in their self-talk in demanding situations. So why not give it a try?
If you use affirmations, you might want to try switching to “you” rather than “I” and see if they are more effective. And of course the same would apply to any suggestions you give yourself in self-hypnosis.
Please do use the comments below to let us know if you’ve tried this and what differences you have noticed.