At a time when many New Year's resolutions are still alive and kicking, you might find yourself indulging in constant self-motivation. However, if your idea of self-motivating translates to you talking yourself into taking action, you might be on the wrong track.
The notion of a positive mind has long been regarded as the key to success. Believe it and you'll receive it, so goes the cliché. Perpetuating this belief often demands that you constantly speak to yourself, making declarations about what you will and won't do today, tomorrow and forevermore, amen. But motivating yourself along the road to success requires more than straying away from negativity. The key is not what you say to yourself; it's the way you speak to yourself, as well.
Trying to motivate yourself in the form of a question is much more effective, Burkeman says, because it forces you to think actively about the reasons and benefits of actually succeeding. Instead of trying to say words that'll force you into action, asking questions of yourself reminds you of all the motives you have for taking those actions.
As Burkeman indicates, much of the power that words have on the mind rest in the nuances; much of it lies in word choice. In further explaining his point, he provides and examples of a study that tested just how much of an effect a change in words has on people's commitment to their resolutions.
The examples can go on and on, but the point will remain the same: If you want to motivate yourself properly, the key is in the words. Choose wisely.