How to Make Affirmations Actually Work!

We’ve all heard about the importance of goal-setting, writing/speaking affirmations and/or creating visions for our future and most of us have probably sat down with pen and paper to set some goals or put together a vision board at one time or another. Having goals and dreams is supposed to make them happen and for some people that’s true … They set a goal, write it down or put pictures of it on a vision board and before long they’ve achieved it.

For me, it doesn’t quite work that way. I often set goals. I’ve even gone through the process of reading my goals every morning. Unfortunately, I usually end up with an argument raging in my head. I have a powerful inner critic!

Let’s say one of my goals is to have a home on the water, and I read that goal every day. The first few days I can visualize the house, the water, the breeze and the beautiful smell of the ocean. It’s lovely!

After a few days I can still visualize but as the days progress I start to pick apart everything in the vision and a new, internal narrative starts up along these lines:

“Well, come on now, do you really think you can afford that house? I mean really, look at all that glass and teak! Who are you kidding? And the ocean? Seriously? Even though your little house in Kansas is paid for, you know darned well that a house on the ocean is not a house-for-house trade, so what the heck miracle is going to drop into your lap to make this possible because nothing you’re doing is going to create that level of income sweetie.”

Hmmm. All of a sudden my vision board and goal-setting is getting burdensome. I’m not going to sit around and listen to that inner critic harangue me every day so I quit reading my goals.

I’ve been going to Unity for several years and have heard about the process of creating affirmations and denials, but I never really understood how to make them effective until this weekend when I learned (Thank you, Reverend Jan Stromseth!) how to use my vision to write a denial. At that moment it all became clear. Finally a way to put the inner critic to good use!

Once you give voice to your inner critic, he or she quiets down and the argument raging in your head evaporates! Here’s how to get this down on paper and out of your head:

Determine what area you want to focus on. Let’s work with food for our example.

  1. What is the current situation
    I love the convenience and taste of fast/junk food even while I know that it’s really bad for me.
  2. What is your vision in this area:
    I would love to never again be tempted by junk food
  3. Now, write an affirmation that supports the vision:
    pilaf nourish networkIt is with ease and grace that I only choose foods that support my health. I crave real, whole foods that nourish my body, mind and spirit. I easily plan for healthy meals and snacks by utilizing planning strategies including developing a list of easily prepared/purchased healthy foods from the places in which I’m likely to find myself.
  4. Rewrite #2, your vision:
    1 fast foodI would love to never again be tempted by junk food
  5. What keeps this from happening? What are the obstacles?
    When I’m tired or hungry, and pass a fast food place I just want to stop
    I think about how good an order of French fries or potato chips tastes
    Fast food is easy and when I don’t plan well and I’m tired, I pull right in.
  6. Write a denial statement
    I release any desire for the taste of junk/fast food. I release the idea that fast food is the answer when I’m tired or haven’t planned well.
  8. Take a deep breath and thing: Does that feel true? If yes, great! If no, then take a deep breath in, inhaling wholeness and health; exhale out any doubt. Repeat three times then repeat steps 7 and 8. If it doesn’t work after the first time, try a few more times. Sometimes our doubts are pretty deep and it might take a bit of exhaling to get rid of them all!

I hope this process helps you as much as it’s helped me!

Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Changes™

I am offering a 10-Day Sugar Detox Group Program beginning February 23rd, 2015. We’ll have a first Prep & Planning call on February 21st at 1:00PM. For more information or to register, click here.

I adapted this from an exercise that is found in the Prayer Chaplain Training Manual at Unity Church of Overland Park. What a gift!


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