As we enter a new year, its common to think about the changes we would like to make in the coming year. Some people like to focus on resolutions, some on setting new goals, some like to choose a word for the year and others, like myself, prefer to use affirmations to focus on making changes in the coming year.
Affirmations are positive statements that establishes a specific course of action and confirms a state of being for the future. In one of the first personal growth and development courses I took years ago, I learned a concept called, “To Think is to Create”. What we think about and focus on creates our results and feelings. So, by stating and thinking positive affirmations, we can grow and expand our life to create new opportunities and ways of being.
There have been numerous studies on the effects of affirmations and the self-affirmation theory was made popular is the late 1980’s by Claude Steele. It suggests that people have a fundamental motivation to maintain self-integrity, a perception of themselves as good, virtuous, and able to predict and control important outcomes. The self-affirmation theory continues to be a well-studied theory in social psychological research. Some of the results suggest that positive affirmations can help individuals cope with stress, calm nerves and improve self-confidence. Affirmations can help us feel better while focusing on positive outcomes, which can improve both our physical and mental health.
The thing that I like about affirmations is that I have the power to create them, and they can cover any aspect of my life. The key is to state all future goals as if they are happening right now. Get excited and passionate about those opportunities and focus on the feelings associated with the opportunity.
Here are some tips for writing affirmations.
- Make them personal. Don’t compare yourself with others or what you think you should do. Make them about what’s important to you.
- Think about your current situation and your vision for the future. If they are not in alignment, create a sentence that describes the vision you have. Write the affirmation in the present tense.
- Keep the affirmations positive. Just as “to think is to create” produces positive outcomes, the same concept holds true for negative thoughts. So, be sure that your self-talk is positive.
- Use terms like I have, I am, or I do to indicate achievement.
- In addition to using action words, include emotion words to draw out the feeling you experience in the future state. One of my favorite ways to start an affirmation is I am so happy and grateful that…
- Make the statements specific, so that you have a clear vision for the future state.
- Align your affirmations with your goals and have balance. Focus on what’s important and don’t try to cover all aspects of your life.
- Be realistic and focus on the achievement.
As we start the new year, I encourage you to think about what goal you can put into the present tense and act as if it is happening right now. I have a whiteboard in my office, and I write my top two or three affirmations on it to remind me daily to spend a few minutes focusing on what’s important to me.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw