Affirmations: A More Effective Way To Kick Off The New Year

According to those who follow the cycle of the moon, the solar eclipse that took place on January 15 is actually the day we should all be making New Year resolutions.  Whether it be January 1st or the 15th, we all tend to feel pressure to ‘resolve’ ourselves to do something when January rolls around: lose weight, workout, spend less, make amends.  Ultimately, when we revisit New Year’s Eve on that same year, we look back and realize we have fallen short, or even worse, haven’t accomplished any of these resolutions.   And if we haven’t had enough champagne to dull the nagging sense of failure, we are left feeling a little defeated, maybe lazy or worse, without real direction in our lives.

Why do we torture ourselves like this?

And what exactly is a ‘resolution’ anyway?  A resolution is a firm decision to do something. “ I resolve to lose 20lbs. this year.”  “I will stop smoking this year.”  “I am going to run a marathon this year.”  These are all very firm, and certainly noble decisions, but sometimes life itself gets in the way, and our decisions become our burdens simply making us feel guilty for not being able to achieve them.  What if you have spent the entire year trying to quit, but just can’t seem to put the cigarette down, or what if you’re constantly on the road for work, eating out all the time and away from the gym making it impossible to lose the weight?  Why put yourself in a specific box… why commit yourself to the possibility of failure?  Furthermore, and more importantly, why make one decision on one day that you are committed to accomplishing in one year?

A firm decision sets an expectation and more often than not, an expectation is just a resentment in the making.

Now, I am certainly in no way saying that we shouldn’t set certain goals for ourselves, or that I think it’s best to wander through life without some sense of purpose or direction, but why do this on only one particular day of the year?  Why not spend every day making affirmations about yourself that will reinforce your intentions and better prepare yourself to accomplish these ‘firm decisions’.  Affirmations, in my opinion, are far more mentally healthy and much more realistic than a new year’s resolution.

An affirmation is a positive statement or declaration of the truth or existence of something.  “I am a beautiful person, and I deserve to be healthy.”  “I am capable of accomplishing any goal I set for myself.” Positive thinking can do wonders for your mental attitude thereby making these firm decisions much more attainable.

Here are a some tips on how to make affirmations:

Think about things in your life you want to improve. The best way to create affirmations is to consider areas of your life that you would like to improve.  Would you like a better job that pays more money?  Do you want to have a closer relationship with your mother, brother or sister?  Would you like to lose weight to feel better about yourself image?  Spend some time thinking about areas of improvement and jot them down.  Be clear about your goals and this will help in making them a reality.

Keep your affirmations focused and believable. Based on the list that you have written, choose what you want now.  Be clear with yourself.  “I want to lose 10lbs” is clear, focused and concise, so don’t decide tomorrow that you think you’d look better if you lost 15lbs. instead.  Furthermore, it is even more important to keep your affirmation believable… don’t set yourself up for failure.  So, instead of saying “I want to lose 10, 20, 30lbs.,” you are better off saying “I am on my way to a more healthy body by losing weight and exercising regularly.”  Essentially, it is important to draw a line between your wants and your feelings.  You want to lose a certain amount of weight, but this want stems from the desire to feel better about yourself.  The feeling is the focus.

Always state your affirmations in the present tense. Tell your mind that your desire is actually already the reality.  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.  If your affirmation is your reality, well then, you are already accomplishing it!  “I have a loving relationship with my mother” is much more positive for your mind than to say you will have this type of a relationship with mom.  By saying you will, you give yourself the opportunity to postpone that difficult first phone call or meeting with her.  Tell yourself you already have this positive relationship with mom, and you are already halfway there to achieving it.  Our minds are incredible gifts that have the power to make our goals a reality.

Always keep your affirmations brief and simple. Formulate your affirmations in your own language, and by this I don’t mean English or Italian or Russian, but rather… speak to yourself the way you speak all the time.  Don’t use long sentences or big words because this only counteracts the ability to remember them… and repeat them.

Repeat them daily and say them out loud. Preferably in front of the mirror.  You will be shocked at how awkward you feel when doing this the first few times… but DO IT!  It forces you to believe in yourself!

Write them down. And refer to them often.  It’s also a great idea to keep them in a visible place… in your office, or taped on the bathroom mirror or your closet door.

Remember you can never make an affirmation for another person. As much as we might want to make positive statements about another person in the hopes of changing them to fit our expectations, we must learn, immediately, that we can never change another human being.  We only have control to change ourselves.

Lastly, and I think most importantly, let go of your expectations. Of yourself and of others.  Life can get in the way of life… can get in the way of our affirmations.  Trying to control everything that happens in your lives will not bring us closer to attaining our goals or affirmations any sooner.  In fact, it might actually hinder you.  If you are constantly focused on a particular obstacle or occurrence that goes against your affirmations, you will surely lose focus.  Stay open, be free and accept what life brings to us, even its’ challenges.  This way you are able to continue to focus on what IS positive in your life.  And affirmations are ALWAYS positive!

Good luck.  And Happy New Year!

Melisa Verrecchia is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain and a freelance writer.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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