Every so often (actually quite often), we come across studies that don’t deliver lifesaving news but nevertheless provide insights that may motivate people to change some behaviors or thought patterns in positive ways. Here’s one:
Telling yourself you can do better can really help you do better on cognitive tasks, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology that involved more than 44,000 people participating in an online program. Researchers from the UK tested various psychological skills across different aspects of a task, and found that performance improved most when people used self-talk (for example, telling themselves they can beat their best outcome or react quicker next time). Another technique, imagery, was also most effective in some situations (they pictured themselves reacting more quickly, for example).
So, next time you feel your confidence waning, remember “The Little Engine That Could” and tell yourself you can. (Of course, nothing beats studying and preparation.)