"Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else."-Unknown
Read this quote a few times. Let it sink in.
Words have the power to stir something deep inside you. Let these words seep into your subconscious.
Think to yourself: “I’m not going to give up.” Say it: “I’m not going to give up.”
Believe it. Feel it.
Good job. You are now more likely to not give up and do something real. Pretty cool, huh?
Have you ever heard of affirmations?
Whether you have or haven’t, I'm going to share a powerful technique that you can use every day to make yourself better.
An affirmation is a statement you say to yourself to encourage, motivate, inspire, and make yourself believe. They are often said out loud but you can also say them in your head.
Affirmations typically relate to something positive or goal-orientated. What you do is repeat an affirmation to yourself multiple times, like in front of the mirror or while taking a walk. When you do this, you make your mind “believe” what you are saying.
Here's an example: “I won’t eat any sugar today.”
This is one I use myself. In the mirror, after waking, I say this—and a few others—to the mirror five to ten times. Some other examples include: “I will make X dollars this year” or “I will have a NYT best-selling book in two years.”
There is a ton of research that indicates the power of affirmations. Studies have shown that techniques like positive self-talk can have real effects on your health and success. Here’s an example:
"An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in under performing kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure," said J. David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.”
You can google “affirmation studies” to find dozens like this.
What this means is, you and I have the ability to control our minds and results through conditioning methods like affirmations. Just like training your body to make it stronger, we must also use exercises to train our minds.
The power of words
So, how can this help you?
Plenty of ways, but let's start with your goals…
First, list out your goals. Second, create a few affirmations that reflect those goals. Third, speak these to yourself every morning after you wake up.
- I will lose 20 pounds by the end of next month
- I have lost 20 pounds since last month (even if you haven’t)
This is an example of a goal-specific affirmation. My preference is to use affirmations based on the future because my analytical mind has trouble separating fact from fiction when I affirm things to myself as if they had already happened. But you may be different. Use what works for you.
By repeating affirmations, you start “tricking” your subconscious to believe what you are saying is true. Then, in doing so, your subconscious starts pulling you closer to what you are affirming. This is kind of like the law of attraction, but we won’t go down that rabbit-hole right now.
It's said that the brain cannot discern the difference between reality and fiction, and that is partly why affirmations can be so powerful. You are literally warping what your brain perceives as reality through the use of words.
Affirmations are easy to use and extremely powerful. I can attest to their effectiveness.
When I feel like I’m getting sick from stress, I use the affirmation: “I feel awesome. I have so much energy.”
When I’m tired, I repeat this to myself at least 20+ times: “I have so much energy… I feel amazing.”
The stuff works. It’s crazy.
Even scientist say that the brain works in mysterious ways, so before you brush this off as “out there,” you should realize that we are still trying to figure out all the mysteries of the brain.
Don’t discount something you don’t understand just because you don’t understand it. People used to say that man would never fly, and that he would never break the 4-minute mile. Yet man has done both. You just never know.
Who knows what will be said about the brain, and human beings, in 100 years.
Create affirmations around your goals. Turn this into a list and say them to yourself every day and night--the more specific the better. For general health and positive self-talk, create an affirmation of how you want to feel and say it over and over.
The key to affirmations is repetition and believe what you are saying is true. Doing each will lead to you conditioning your mind to believe.
When you can make your brain believe, you create limitless power for yourself.
As Seneca said, “Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”
Use the power of words to trick your brain into thinking the way you want it to think. Doing so gives you the power to choose exactly what you get from life. You gain control over how you feel, how you act, and what you think. The implications of this control are far-reaching.
But to reap these benefits, you must train your mind like a pet, through repetition and reinforcement. Eventually, with enough effort, you will develop the power to own your mind instead of it owning you.
Action: Make a list of affirmations and repeat them every morning to yourself 5-10 times each. When you are feeling sick or weak, come up with affirmations for how you want to feel and speak them to yourself over and over until you feel better.
Words have power. Use them to your advantage instead of letting them drag you down the way most people do.