Where Affirmations Are Born: Finding Affirmations That Work for You (August Affirmations Series #3)

A few weeks ago, we talked about how to be happy by taking advice from a man considered to be the happiest man alive – to think positive thoughts, meditate on compassion, and focus on others instead of self. Week before last, my dear hubby shared his thoughts on using affirmations to release the juggernaut within. Last week, we talked about using affirmations to build on your grit and increase your success in life.

In fact, if you have been following this blog at all, you have already seen multiple references to the power of affirmations, or positive self-talk that is healthy and helpful. In this post I want to talk to you about finding affirmations that work for you. Affirmations will be different for every individual. It wouldn’t be very helpful if everyone had the same affirmation because not everyone has the same struggles.

When you are deciding what affirmations you would like to focus on each day, start by looking at the areas of the biggest struggle for you. We’ve talked about doing thought records and recording details about arguments or situations that cause distress for you, then looking more closely to explore what thoughts or beliefs may have influenced those situations. When you’re looking at what your underlying thoughts are, and working to challenge any unhelpful/unhealthy thoughts or beliefs by replacing them, that is where affirmations are born.

Affirmations need to be positively stated (try to avoid any “negative” words such as don’t, not, can’t, etc.), present tense, and true. Whether you find an affirmation that resonates with you from a list of affirmations, connect with a scripture passage that states a message you need to hear often and make into a habitual thought, or you come up with your affirmation by challenging an unhealthy belief, it’s important to make an effort to repeat the affirmation until it becomes more of a habit than the unhelpful self-talk was. Be creative in finding ways to keep your chosen affirmation fresh in your mind. I’ve given you lots of suggestions for this, but I’d love to hear YOUR ideas! Comment here or visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group to share your ideas (or ideas you find on pinterest of course).

In the meantime, I encourage you to find the affirmations that work best for you. Here are some examples:

 

I like myself.
I am enough.
I exist free of fear.
I can do it.
I achieve the goals I set for myself.
I am loved.
I’m a loved child of the Most High God.
I live and follow God’s perfect plan for my life each day.
Success is within my reach.
I have the right to feel how I feel.
I am proud of my progress.
I am proud of my success.
I am proud of myself.
I am secure in my identity as a child of God.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I am likable.
I am lovable.
I am interesting.
I trust God and His plans for my life.
I have access to the resources I need.
My life has meaning and purpose.
I have a right to say no.
I have hope.
I am calm and confident.
I am responsible.

What affirmations do you need to hear most?

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on how affirmations can help you find balance! I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

The Grit that Leads to Success (August Affirmations Series #2)

Last week, we had a guest post from my dear hubby, Aaron, about Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within. Think for a moment of the most successful people you know. Think about their attitudes and their actions. What stands out about them compared to others? What characteristics do they have that set them apart from the rest? How are you like them or different than them?

I recently listened to a TED talk by Angela Duckworth about what makes people successful. She spoke about her research and how she discovered that the common factor in successful people is what she referred to as “grit.” Dr. Duckworth describes grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

The successful people I know definitely have grit. They are the ones who are able to stay focused. They are the ones that are resilient and keep getting up every time they get knocked down in life.

Dr. Duckworth went on to reference “Growth Mindset,” an idea presented by Carol Dweck of Stanford University. She describes growth mindset as the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed; that it can change with your effort. Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.”

What I take away from this TED talk is the power of positive affirmations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy revolves largely around, as we’ve discussed before, “changing the stinking thinking.” As she noted, the ability to learn is not fixed; it can change with your effort. Thinking habits are not set in stone, they can be adapted to be more healthy and helpful. Practicing the mindset that you can be successful regardless of failure can dramatically shift the direction of your life.

It’s safe to say that if you indulge in thinking that you aren’t enough, that you are a failure, that you can’t be successful… you’ll be right. A growth mindset is what gives you the grit to hang on and keep pushing your way forward even through difficult times.

What about you? Are you gritty? Do you stick with your goals and plans because you believe you are capable, or do you let the fears and doubts knock you down and rob you of your grit like a city street mugging?

I agree with Dr. Duckworth that you can’t teach grit. But if someone is seeking to develop grit, it can be acquired. What unhelpful thoughts rob you of your grit? I wanted to give you some ideas of affirmations that may help you work toward a growth mindset. To gauge your own grit level, you can visit Dr. Duckworth’s site at https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/. Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies’ facebook group to share your grit score and offer encouragement to one another.

I’d like to leave you with our Bible verse for this week, and it is found in Philippians chapter 4, verse 13. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” This verse is a great reminder and affirmation to help you practice your growth mindset and grow your grit. If you are focused on seeking God’s will for your life, you truly can do anything He puts in front of you. I want to encourage you to keep this verse in the front of your mind however you can. Add it to a post-it and put it on your mirror, above your coffee pot, on your computer screen – anywhere you will see it often. Set it as a reminder on your phone. Write it on a card and put it in your wallet so you see it every time you open it. Practice it. Exercise your thoughts like you would exercise your body to prepare for a marathon. It is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint.

If you would like some more personalized support as you develop your gritty worldview, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more affirmations to help you develop a gritty worldview. I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within (August Affirmations Series #1)

  1. Brian Tracy once stated, “Using affirmations… our potential is literally unlimited.” I would certainly agree with his assessment. Affirmations are without a doubt one of the most powerful personal development tools I have come across in not only my quest to realize my full occupational potential, but also in dealing with fear and anxiety. In addition to being an incredibly powerful stand-alone tool, I have also experienced that they work quite effectively when paired with goal setting and visualization as part of a daily personal and professional development routine.

For example: Each morning, I pour my favorite donut shop blend coffee in my giant Captain America mug, grab the day by the invisible horns, and say “Alright day. The stage awaits, so let’s rock!”

My rhythm section, if you like, consists of goals and affirmations. The work I do in my goals journal acts as my in-the-pocket beat commander. For those of you unskilled in the art of being a wannabe rock star – I’m referring to my imaginary personal development drummer. Along with goals, affirmations add some attitude and flavor to the established focus areas by laying down some beastly low end and supplying an abundance of drive and determination. This rock n’ roll party (think Paul Stanley) all gets kicked off within the first hour of being awake. How do you think this sets the tone for the remaining 23 hours? Since establishing this routine, I have personally experienced a dramatic increase in my willingness to get into the work day and immediately take on tasks that might normally frustrate or discourage me.

It is very possible at this point you could be asking yourself “what is an affirmation?” That’s actually a great question. An affirmation is simply a positive and assertive statement that can be repeated out loud, as self talk, for many different purposes.

You might develop affirmations for personal growth, professional development, achievement, success, or any number of topics.

In my case, I personally relied on affirmations for dealing with fear and anxiety prior to ever using them in the context of achievement or any similar topics. For example, one of my favorite affirmations for anxiety reads “I exist free of fear.”

Compared to the effect that goal setting has had in getting me laser-focused like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair going after a figure-four leg lock, affirmations have been wildly successful in pairing that focus with a fired-up attitude towards success and achievement.

Here are a few additional examples of affirmations I use regularly:

– “I can do it.”
– “I am responsible.”
– “I feel incredible.”
– “I earn $________ per year, as an exceptional _________.”
– “I achieve the goals I set for myself.”
– “I am unstoppable.”

I should also mention that in my experience, there is no more powerful mental quality to be equipped with in life than resilience. When it comes to affirmations, one of the most important side effects I have noticed is that I am able to rebound far more quickly from rejections, disappointments, and outright failures at any time they may occur. Prior to my current routine this was definitely not the case for me. Affirmations have also provided me with the mental clarity to recognize and be reminded that failure does not exist in and of itself. Failure, in my opinion, is a very important stepping stone to success. Failure is to success as Peter Parker’s spider bite is to swinging from buildings via self-generated web.

What kind of experience have you had with affirmations? Are you in need of a tool in your daily routine that may have the ability to drown out negativity while increasing the level of optimism, resilience, drive, and excitement in your life? No matter where you are in your personal development journey it’s never a bad idea to begin incorporating affirmations into your daily routine. Don’t wait until a better time to begin learning more about the amazing resources that are available at your fingertips. Make a decision to unleash your inner juggernaut today and feel the positive effect that affirmations can make for you!

Are you ready to learn more about the unbelievably positive effect that affirmations could have in your life? Visit http://www.EveryDayIncredible.net and pick up some tips, tricks, motivation, and entertainment for your personal development journey!

The Happiest Man Alive: How to be Happy!

Are you happy? I mean really happy? What thoughts or situations stand in the way of you being happy more often? About a year or so ago, I came across an article about a Tibetan Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard. After taking part in a 12 year brain study that focused on meditation and compassion, Mr. Ricard has been referred to as the world’s happiest man. You can read more here.

Mr. Ricard’s primary advice is to stop thinking only about yourself. He says the key to happiness is altruism. The reason he gives is that “thinking about yourself and how to make things better for yourself all the time is exhausting and stressful, and it ultimately leads to unhappiness.” It makes sense to me!

Basically, your goal is to not be selfish. As human individuals, it is in our nature to be selfish. We see the world around us from our own unique, limited perspective and unless we make a conscious effort to try to see things from another person’s point of view and try to put the needs of others first, we will continue to be selfish.

Scripture talks a great deal about being more like Christ, and about how to have a healthy relationship with God. Scripture says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and it also says that love, among many other qualities, is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). If we are striving to be more Christlike, we need to be focusing on not being so self-involved. It was when I realized that sin is basically being selfish (putting selfish wants before God’s desire) that I had a more clear picture of a healthy relationship with God and what sin actually means. In fact, the first book I wrote was on this very topic… How love isn’t selfish, and what we can learn about God’s love through human relationships.

Going back to the advice from Mr. Ricard, He suggests to train your mind as if you were training for running a marathon. As a therapist, I completely agree. I frequently reference Philippians 4:8 because it backs up the premise of so much of what I discuss in therapy sessions. Where we choose to focus our thinking determines our emotions and behavior as well. We’ve talked in previous posts about changing the channel from stinking thinking and choosing to focus on truth and what is more helpful and healthy. That takes much practice, as would training for a marathon. Mr. Ricard does this through meditation. One specific thing he says to do is to spend 15 continuous minutes each day thinking happy thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Make positive thinking – specifically, thinking about helping others and being compassionate – a habit.

To create thinking habits, take the same approach you would take to change other habits too. Increase awareness of the habit, make efforts to stop and replace the habit as soon as you catch it (even if it is after the fact), and keep practicing. For more ideas on changing your thinking habits, revisit the post, 6 Barriers to Wellness (and how to overcome them).

Be sure to visit our Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to share your ideas on making altruistic thinking a habit!

 

Setting SMART Goals to Stay Motivated

How long has it been since you took the time to revisit your goals. We’ve been talking about figuring out where you’re going, what your personal mission is, and more, so today I wanted to dig a bit deeper into goal setting.

In the grand scheme of things, where do you want to be in 6 months? 6 years? What are the big goals you want to achieve?

If you could really nail it down, looking into your future, what are your top priority goals that, when you reach them, you can look around and think, “This. This is what I wanted to do. I have succeeded.” Obviously, we always have goals, but what big goals are next?

When you are setting goals and finding motivation to move forward, it is very helpful to be very clear, and use “SMART” Goal-setting.  SMART goals are goals that are:

S- Specific  M- Measurable  A- Attainable  R- Realistic  T- Time-based

When your goals are SMART, it gives you more of a road map with a clear path highlighted.

Let’s apply it.

Goal(s) – What is the dream, vision, hope, or desired change? What will it look like when you have reached the goal? What will be different than your current situation? For example, maybe you have a goal to be able to rate your anxiety as a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it’s currently staying around a 7. Or maybe you want to meet a goal of improving your physical health, “as evidenced by” weight loss, loss of inches, improvement in bloodwork from your doctor, your self-rating of your energy level, or any other measurable goal. Do you have a professional goal, such as completing a certification? What goal or goals do you want to give focus right now?

Barriers What specific challenges stand between you and your goal(s)? Include challenges resulting from mental illness or addiction. Do you engage in negative self-talk? Hear a lot of criticism from others? Maybe you have a physical condition that keeps you drained and makes it difficult to focus. Everyone’s barriers will be unique in some way. What are yours?

Strengths  – What individual/family abilities, attributes, attitudes, past accomplishments, motivations, etc. can help you overcome barriers and reach your goal(s)? Be generous! Give yourself credit for your strengths! This is not the time to be modest, it’s a time to be real with yourself and acknowledge those strengths. What do you have going for you that is going to help you in your success?

Objectives – Specifically describe how you will be able to measure progress. Include action words and target date to complete your goals.         S- Simple M- Measurable A- Attainable R- Relevant/Realistic T- Time-based

What are the small steps you could take that lead up to the bigger steps? For example, if you want to complete the professional certification,  you may need to obtain a study guide, schedule time for review, complete necessary coursework, take practice exams, or organize a study group. Keep the steps doable so they aren’t overwhelming, and set a reasonable time-frame for each objective.

Interventions How can your support network help you? What specific things can others do help keep you on track and motivated?

 

Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to find other ladies like you who are interested in supporting each other in their own goals. For a more personalized, private membership, check out “Take the Next Step” from the top menu at everydayincredible.net. I look forward to hearing about your goals!

What’s Your Excuse? From Making Excuses to Finding Motivation

 

Excuses.

Let’s face it. We all have them. What’s your excuse for continuing in the same path you’ve been traveling?

“I’m too stressed.”

“It’s the only thing that helps me relax.”

“I deserve it because what they did hurt me.”

“I’m just in a bad mood.”

“I’ve been in a funk since……. ”

“It’s just my personality, I can’t help it.”

“It’s just how I was brought up.”

“It’s just….”

“I’m just….”

Enough.

While some excuses may be true, why do we let them dictate our actions? Why do they have to determine whether or not we are going to get out of our ruts?

What if, instead of focusing on excuses that are holding you back, you shifted your thinking to all of the reasons to move forward?

What if you challenged each of those excuses you’ve used. Are they accurate? Would you tell your best friend the same things about her? For example, would you tell your best friend she deserves to be mistreated? Would you tell your best friend that she just doesn’t have what it takes to improve and move forward? Do you tell yourself those things?

What purpose do your excuses serve? Excuses have a way of masking our fears and insecurity. If we don’t try, we can’t fail, right? That may be true, but if we don’t try, we also can’t succeed.

Sometimes, when looking for motivation and clearing your head so you can make a decision to move forward, it can be very helpful to weigh the pros and cons. The process works best when you list every “pro,” or positive consequence of making whatever the change or decision is, as well as every pro of NOT making the change or decision. Follow that with every “con,” or undesireable consequence of making that change/decision vs. not making that change or decision.

When you can see that the pros of working toward your goals and cons of staying where you are outweigh the opposite… THAT is how you find motivation. Combine that with a good, solid plan of action, and you have momentum.

Below is a chart taken from an ebook I wrote on how to beat anxiety (check out the ecourse here). This specific pros and cons chart is a sample based on the decision to make the necessary changes to address and defeat anxiety. We could look at it now as a decision to make a change or cling to past excuses that mask our fear and insecurity.

What are your excuses? What fears lie beneath them?

Proverbs 15:22

Without counsel, plans fail; but with many advisors, they succeed.

When you’re making any decision and you’re weighing out the pros and cons, it can be very helpful to talk to those you love and trust, and those you know are going to give you honest opinions and not just go along with whatever you think. Above all, don’t forget to pray about your decisions and ask God for His guidance.

Be sure to head over to the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group and discuss your own pros and cons lists. What are your reasons for making the changes you need to make so you can move forward and make every day incredible?

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