Sometimes in life, we focus entirely too much on what others think of us, our ideas, our decisions. We replay what they have said to and about us over and over in our minds all along forgetting to weigh in on our own behalf. I mean, who spends more time with you than you? Even if your co-worker has called you on “that thing you do” that everyone in the room wishes would change, it’s highly unlikely that you didn’t already know that it was an area needing improvement. While there is nothing wrong with giving some weight or consideration to input from others, especially those who we consider as mentors and friends, their thoughts and words are not necessarily where we should hang our hats. We have a voice, the final voice, and there is power in what we speak over our own lives. If we put our minds to it, we have the power to change the worst in us or in our situations!
The use of affirmations was the topic of a retreat workshop I attended this past weekend and man was it a blessing. Our presenter began by sharing the intimate details of her struggles over a number of years. She painted a picture of a life which had spiraled out of control in almost every conceivable area imaginable …..love life, social life, family, finances, health and career. Knowing that she deserved much more, but not necessarily knowing how to achieve it, she turned to daily affirmations as a way to regain control, little by little. Today, she has been restored in every one of these areas and encourages others to achieve the same through the use of affirmations. Throughout the presentation, she helped and encouraged us to make our own list and then challenged us to use them daily for the next 30 days. I want to challenge you to do the same and prayerfully we will all grow in the process. Below are some steps to help you get started.
Step 1: Create a List
Create a list of at least 10 affirmations which speak to areas of life that you would like to develop further during this particular season. For the purpose of this challenge, include a “my dream” category and be sure to create 2-3 affirmations that speak directly to the business, idea or vision that is burning within you. Use intro words such as “I do”, “I am”, “I choose” and “I deserve” while avoiding “I will” or “I want” statements. For even more info on how to craft your affirmations, check out this great article by Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke.
Step 2: Display the List
I would suggest writing the list of affirmations in a journal ONLY if you are a person who already journals religiously. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many journals I have sitting on my bookshelf, but what I can tell you is that almost all of them have less than ten pages worth of thoughts that I’ve actually put to paper. One day I’ll get better with that (I actually believe journaling would be very therapeutic for me) but for this challenge I recommend the sticky note method instead. Write your affirmations out and place them in areas you frequent daily like your car, office, kitchen, bathroom, etc. As you go about your daily routine, you can’t help but notice these random notes literally popping up everywhere.That way, even if your daily to-do-list is suddenly over taken by the inevitable unexpected to-do-items, you won’t lose sight of our goal which is to take time to affirm and re-affirm those things that you desire most in life.
Step 3: Recite the List
The word affirm means to offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement; state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly. What better “someone” to support and encourage than YOU? Speaking our affirmations aloud ensures that despite everything else going on, we hear positive thoughts and ideas about ourselves each day. The challenge for me, I admit, is the speaking aloud part ~ truth is, it makes me feel a little awkward. If I had it my way, I would use what I call “internal self-talk”, where my thoughts are repeated over and over in the privacy of my own head. The problem I have with this process is that the thought I start out with is often distorted or blocked by all the random and unrelated crap that creeps in. On the other hand, when speaking aloud, I find that it is much more difficult for the mind to concentrate on anything else. I imagine this is because it is so busy processing thoughts into words and then into sentences. If I am correct, and our desire is to really grow and embrace our affirmations, then speaking them aloud is a must. When we do, we automatically create a distraction-free mental environment where we can not only hear the message, but remember the message throughout the day and begin to walk along the various paths toward the life we are proclaiming. For those that don’t necessarily buy into this theory of mine and would prefer some scientific evidence of the benefits of speaking aloud, check out this article on the production effect from Psychology Today.)
Step 4: Apply the List
As we begin to recite our affirmations day after day, we will be forced to look at situations we face with new eyes. In many instances, we will have to ask the question, “is my behavior consistent with the me I want to be” and when it’s not, our affirmations will begin to guide us and slowly transform the way we choose to respond and react. We will grow in some areas quicker than in others and the list may change overtime but the goal of a better me will remain.
There is no start and end date for this challenge ~ you start when ready and assess your journey on the 30th day. Notice I didn’t say “end” on the 30th day. Hopefully we will all benefit from the process and will continue affirming ourselves for the rest of our lives. Day 1 starts for me tomorrow and I am looking forward to the journey. I hope you’ll join me and check back regularly to share tidbits from your Transformation through Affirmation journey!