So, you're ready to make some changes in the new year. If you want this year to be different, these changes need to become lifestyle changes. This is where affirmations can come into play! Affirmations are short “I am” statements that reinforce certain mindsets or behaviors that we would like to attain. It's kind of like Mary Jane Paul, the main character from the BET show, Being Mary Jane, with all of those yellow sticky notes covering her bathroom mirror (any glass surface really).
Her post-it notes were full of quotes from people she admired. You can do the same, or you can create your own “I am” affirmation statements.
The underlying beliefs that cause you to give up on your goals are targeted by these short “I am…” statements. You may not be aware of this, but sometimes your mind works against you. You may say seemingly innocuous things to yourself that are actually detrimental to your success. For instance, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” This simple statement that we may have all heard! In the background of this statement is a lack mentality, which reflects a belief that money isn’t available in abundance. Affirmations help reprogram your subconscious mind, which is where your conscious mind gets its marching orders. I love how Jen Sincero explains this subconscious mind phenomena in You Are A Badass, “…when our subconscious beliefs are out of alignment with the things and experiences we want in our conscious minds (and hearts) it creates confusing conflicts between what we're trying to create and what we're actually creating.” Affirmations are key to unlocking that confusion, and they start with awareness.
Some of you may have heard of “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne, which is founded on the belief in The Law of Attraction; what you think about most, you attract to yourself. Many believe that “The Secret” is powerful in changing lives and it is, but sometimes it hard to wrap our heads around how Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant and countless others make it work for them! One of the ways to use this powerful tool is to be self-aware. If you find yourself saying negative things to yourself or about yourself to others, know that you will attract negativity. To attract positivity and good things you need to affirm yourself by using affirmations. This is the law of attraction at work and it is directly connected to affirmations. The things you say to yourself, you are saying to God/Universe/Source as well and they manifest. It doesn't differentiate between what you want and what you are complaining about! By continually saying and thinking whatever you do, you are giving the God/Universe/Source a signal that you want it, and you're gonna get it!
So what do I do? First, I decide what things aren't working and what I want to change. Do I say things to myself like, “Damn girl! You're fat.” Or “Look at you, no wonder you don't have a man.” Or even, “You're so stupid.” Secondly, I look at these statements and write affirmations that turn these negative statements into positive ones.
Here are some examples:
Instead of, “Damn girl! You're fat.”
I say, “I am beautiful, I love my body; it is my safe haven and home.”
Instead of, “Look at you, no wonder you don't have a man.”
I say, “I am worthy of love and affection, I love me.”
Instead of, “You're so stupid.”
I say, “l am intelligent in a myriad of ways.”
Next, I focus on one affirmation at a time for at least 21 days. Why 21? It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains the habit loop, where you take the same cue; say for instance waking up, and changes the routine from thinking negative things about your day, to saying positive things about your day, and this leads to the reward of being empowered versus feeling down. The time it will take for the change to stick is up to each of you and how much you believe in it, however 21 days is a good start to put those affirmations to work.
Speaking life instead of lies over yourself will feel so good, you won't want to stop after a while anyway. It may feel like lies when you first begin but, re-read that last sentence, you will feel so good you won’t want to stop. By this time next year, you’ll be changed woman!
My latest book, The Lies You Tell: A 21 Day Affirmation Journey Back to Your Truth, is a great way to start off your new affirmation practice. As a workbook and guide, it will get you started on your journey and allow you room to grow and create your own affirmations. The text also has scripture to reinforce your belief system if you are Christian and if you are not, they are still great to have some other textual reference for the affirmation!