Editor's Note: This first ran July 26, 2019, one year ago. It was back when Joan and I were using a conversational format, a Q & A. This seemed like a good time for this type of encouragement, a time to regroup and be positive after the difficult first half of the year we've all had.
Most of us set goals for ourselves, but more often than not, we do it during the beginning of the year in the spirit of starting anew. What about if we take the ‘lazy, hazy days of summer’ to re-energize those goals?
Joan gives us great tips to move forward on any goal with positive affirmations.
Joan: Napoleon Hill once said, “We become what we think about.”
It’s now the end of July, six months into the new year. In the beginning of the year, many of us sat down, pen and paper in hand, and made a list of all the things we resolved to change. When we created our list, we were motivated and sure that this would be the year that we would achieve our goals.
“This year I resolve to lose 20 lbs.” “I will stop smoking.” “I am going to exercise every day.” “I will eat healthy food.”
Q. All noble goals. Why do you think people lose steam and get discouraged?
Joan: Well, these are noble decisions and we started off with a bang, but then life got in the way, and our decisions became our burdens. We slipped back into our old patterns and what we set out to accomplish got pushed to the side. We feel guilty for not being able to achieve our goals, and thoughts of failure set in.
Q. That sounds familiar. It’s almost like we think ourselves out of our goal, especially if it is as difficult as losing weight. Why is it so difficult to do these healthy things we want to do for ourselves?
Joan: The problem with our resolutions is that they are usually made in response to something negative, such as a bad habit, or poor physical condition, and it is difficult to change a negative into a positive without a strong commitment and determination. It is much easier to move toward something than away from something.
Q. So what do you suggest?
Joan: Instead of making your usual resolutions, why not try positive affirmations?
An affirmation is a positive statement or declaration of the truth or existence of something. Affirmations psychologically condition through repetitive, consistent self-talk. By repeating a positive affirmation over and over, you train your subconscious mind to turn the thoughts into realities. Make affirmations about yourself that will reinforce your intentions and better prepare you to accomplish your goals.
Q. What are examples of this? Can it be as easy as talking ourselves into something?
Joan: Sort of. For an affirmation to be effective, though, it needs to be in the present tense, positive, personal and specific. Examples of positive affirmations:
- “I am capable of accomplishing any goal I set for myself.” “I am feeling more peaceful every day.” “I am learning from my mistakes.” “I eat healthy, nutritious food every day.”
- Here are some tips on how to make affirmations:
- Determine what you want to improve. Be clear about your goals. Figure out what’s important to you and get to the heart of what you want to create in your life.
- Create statements. Put your ideas into a few simple statements that reflect what you want to create. Phrase the statements as if they are already true, not that you would like them to be true. Tell your mind that your desire is actually already the reality. You are programming your subconscious to believe the statements; you’re not trying to want something; you’re trying to make it so. If you use words like “I will” or “I am going to,” then what you are really doing is postponing the attainment of your goal.
- Keep the affirmation focused and realistic. Don’t stretch the idea too far. If you make it too unrealistic your ‘inner judge’ will step in and negate the affirmations.
- Keep it positive. Say what you want, not what you don’t want.
- Repeat affirmations daily. Say affirmations out loud, in front of a mirror. Write them down and refer to them often. Keep them in a visible place.
My challenge to you is to think about your resolution as positive affirmations. If you want to lose weight, create affirmations that support weight loss. If you want to lose 20 pounds and you now weigh 150 pounds, say “I weigh 130 pounds.” Supplement with affirmations such as “I enjoy eating healthy foods,” “I can sense when I am full and I stop eating,” or “I enjoy walking two miles three times per week.”
In addition, visualize the positive thoughts as if they are already happening. How will you look and feel after losing 20 pounds? Live it. Feel it. Believe it. You will be surprised how quickly you bring about true change in your life using the power of affirmations.