A New Kind of New Year’s Resolution
Year after year, I promise that I’m going to get in shape and I’m good for a few weeks. I eat right and I exercise. But then my old bad habits creep in and I end up feeling crummy about myself and drowning my sorrows with junk food. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we set ourselves up for failure year after year? My guess….we’re seriously lacking in the practice of positive affirmations.
This year set yourself up to succeed! Build yourself up through the power of positive affirmations. When you make a positive affirmation you are confirming to yourself that a positive trait about yourself is true. For example, you are telling yourself that you are beautiful or that you are smart (or both!). The more you say these affirmations, the more you believe them.
Over time they replace any limiting or negative beliefs you hold about yourself. These new positive thoughts and beliefs instill confidence, allowing you to control how you feel about yourself rather than believing what others say or what you have convinced yourself is true.
Constructing a Positive Affirmation
Step 1: Figuring out what positive affirmation to practice.
A great way to narrow it down is to make a list of what you’ve always thought of as your negative qualities. Include on your list not just what you see as negative qualities but also what others may have instilled upon you.
Examine the list for any common themes. This will help you identify where a positive affirmation is most needed. Pay attention to how your body feels as you make this list – for example, does a certain quality you’ve identified cause knots in your stomach? Does another cause you to have a headache? The physical manifestation of your negative qualities can be quite telling, as we will touch on below.
Step 2: Writing a positive affirmation.
Now that you’ve identified where the affirmation is most needed, it’s time to write out a positive affirmation (or phrase) to counterbalance the negative one. For example, if a common theme on your list was unworthiness, you could write out “I’m worthy”. Make the affirmation powerful – for example, “I’m remarkable and cherished” versus simply “I’m worthy”. After you’ve written your affirmation out, ask a family member or friend to review it to see if they can make it even stronger.
Step 3: Say the affirmation.
Repeat the affirmation out loud multiple times during the day – for example, when you are putting on your makeup or shaving in the morning. You can also write your affirmation down. Does your writing style change over time? For example, if you’ve gone from a hasty scribble to neat printing, it could be that your mind too has changed in how it perceives the trait, going from not 100% convinced or accepting (as evidenced by the hasty scribble) to 110% convinced and very accepting (the neat printing).
Step 4: Anchor the positive thought in your body.
As you repeat the thought place your hand on the area that felt uncomfortable in Step 1 (i.e. your stomach). “Breathe” the thought in while you are saying or writing it. As you reprogram your mind to accept the positive words you speak or write you want to make the affirmation feel real, which is why it’s important to both physically and emotionally feel the change in your body. Does your stomach feel better after you say something positive rather than negative about yourself? Has your headache gone away?
Step 5: Ask someone close to you to say the affirmation to you.
Asking someone you trust (a friend, a coach, or even your own reflection) to repeat the affirmation back to you reinforces the healthy message. It can be powerful to hear someone you trust repeat this message to you.
Examples of Positive Affirmations
Here are three examples with a focus on mindfulness:
- “I can focus my thoughts as I choose.”
- “I am not my circumstances, nor my history. I am now.”
- “I let go of the old and make room for the new.”
This third affirmation is a great one to keep in mind when setting any resolutions, big or small, for the New Year. We encourage you let go of any old negative mindsets you had about yourself and to replace them with only positive ones through the power of affirmation.
Make this the year you build yourself up!
To your new beginnings – Anna