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Can You Really ‘Psyche’ Yourself Up For Success?


Figuring out how to succeed at the things that really matter in life can be a challenge. 

But sometimes—figuring out how to psyche yourself up for those challenges is truly the dilemma. 

This is one of those topics of conversation that can also throw you for a loop, though. 

Sometimes, with all of this ‘positivity culture’ being forcefully thrown in your face, you may be wondering:

Do I really have the option to ‘psyche’ myself up? Or is this just another ‘idea’ promoted by people that’s not actually based on science? 

This is a great question. So we decided to do some digging into it. 

Can you really psyche yourself up to give yourself better odds for success—or is that kind of a myth?

Let’s uncover the truth and see what science has to say on the matter. 

Is It Actually Scientifically Possible To ‘Psyche’ Yourself Up?

Interestingly enough, this idea has been put to the test in studies. 

One of the more interesting studies tested 3 different methods for trying to ‘psyche’ yourself up—with 2 of the methods proving to be quite useful in helping to create better outcomes while the 3rd outcome didn’t help as much. 

The study recruited nearly 45,000 people, and had them play games against a computer. Each player got 3 chances to play—and between rounds, they were given different types of motivational messages. 

(Interestingly enough, the messages were delivered by Olympic athlete Michael Johnson, which is actually pretty cool!)

Which Methods Were Used?

The 3 methods listed were as follows:

  1. Self-talk
  2. Imagery
  3. If-then planning

Self-talk was pretty simple—it instructed players to say positive things to themselves, like “I can win this.” 

Imagery involved showing victory-related images to the participants in an effort to motivate them. 

And if-then planning was used to encourage players to come up with strategic plans for what they would do if certain undesired events occurred during the game. 

Which Methods Proved To Be The Most Useful?

As it turns out, self-talk and imagery were the strongest methods for helping players to perform better during the games. 

Self-talk was especially important—as it not only helped players to perform better, but also helped them to feel like they were performing better. 

And as it turns out, that just may be the key. 

If-then planning ended up not being quite as helpful for most players—though it did help some of the players to develop better processes for the games. 


As it turns out, there’s some pretty strong evidence for the fact that you can psyche yourself up successfully—and it seems that science actually backs this up. 

So next time you’re thinking about how to overcome a challenge, consider saying to yourself: 

“I CAN do this. I can WIN.” 

And then, imagine yourself winning or try looking at images of people succeeding at that thing

Who knows?

This may just be the secret key to success that you’ve been looking for.


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