Note on Writing Goals and Affirmations
Our Presently Dominant Self-Image
Our creative subconscious of habits, attitudes and beliefs, expressed as self-talk, is like an autopilot. It maintains order and sanity by making sure we behave in ways that reflect our inner vision of reality, i.e. we act like the person we know ourselves to be.
Thoughts are things. We manipulate our senses with what we think.
We move toward and become like that which we think about. Our present thoughts determine our future.
“Every now and then, something occurs that turns a light on for you, that helps you see yourself and others more clearly, think differently, let go of unproductive behavior and attitudes that stand in your way. Sometimes it’s an event of major importance – a marriage, the death of a loved one, birth of a child, a serious illness, an unexpected divorce, participation in war, falling in love. Sometimes its something that no one notices but you. Nevertheless, you feel changed for the better by it. And that’s exciting.”
We can learn to “see” in new ways, we can bring this process under control.
“Now, if you move toward that which you think about, then your ability to control what you think about, who you listen to, and how you interpret and explain your experiences becomes crucial. Your ability to control these things will, in turn, control your direction in life. And if you become like that which you think about, your character and integrity are involved, aren’t they? Repeated thoughts generate actions; actions repeated over time determine character; and character, as the great writers and thinkers of the world will tell you, is destiny. In other words, what happens to you in life is not accidental. It’s a direct or indirect result of what you think and what you do.”
Goals – what you want to achieve.
Affirmations – what you need to change to get the goal. The goal will be achieved or not depending on what we say to ourselves. Thoughts are things. They close windows or open windows. There are no accidents, nor luck. Everything we say to ourselves has consequences for what our body does.
Kids, for example, always do what we tell them…”You’re always doing ….!” Always in the negative. We should say what we what we want them to do, not what they are “always doing”.
We think that to learn or to teach people we have to tell them what they are doing wrong so that they can correct their mistakes. WRONG.
How to write goals:
1. Put your goals in writing.
2. Define your goals clearly and specifically.
3. Turn your end-result goals into short-term subgoals.
4. Make sure your end-result goals are both challenging and attainable.
5. Anticipate obstacles and setbacks.
6. Track your progress and reward achievement.
7. support your goals with affirmations and visualization.
Affirmations support and maximize goal achievement.
Saying “yes” to something clearly and with conviction. Makes it firm, solid, more real
Thoughts become real when repeated. They change into beliefs. Beliefs become behaviors. Behaviors create experiences and results.
We don’t need to repeat an experience over and over to build a belief. We can do it effectively with our memory, revisiting and reliving it as if it were happening again. The effect on your body and mind is as if it were happening.
This is a technique being used more and more as a part of training in many areas.
Sports and visualization.
Health professionals helping patients suffer less stress and pain, less bleeding and shorter recovery time.
Sales professionals visualize dealing with difficult customers
Visualizing the job interview.
Visualizing the business presentation, and new venture,a meeting.
How it Works
Visualize what you want for yourself in the future and affirm in language.
We are creating cognitive dissonance. What we are affirming runs counter to our presently dominant self-image. It creates a discrepancy and therefore tension which is uncomfortable. If we force it in there we will have to make adjustments in our self-image and behaviour to resolve the tension.
How to write affirmations:
Using affirmations is a form verbally painting a picture in our head of where we want to be.
1. Affirmations celebrate achievement in the first person, present sense.
They have to be about you. You have to see yourself doing or behaving whatever it is you affirm.
You want to imprint your affirmation into your subconscious as an accomplished fact, something you’ve already achieved.
Not “I can…” “I want…” “I intend…” “I’m going to…”
Phrased in these ways, our subconscious is saying “but not right now”
Why do New Year’s resolutions always fail?
Say “I am”, or “I do”
2. Affirmations are phrased positively, with passion/emotion, and possession (it’s mine!)
State what you want to do and be, not what you don’t want. Negatives create images of doing the very thing you are trying to change.
No – “I never miss an exercise class”
Yes - “I keep my exercise commitments”
No – “I don’t have the desire to smoke cigarettes”
Yes – “I’m proud of being committed to breathing only clean air.”
No – “I no longer lose my temper.”
Yes – “I remain calm and reasonable.”
Affirm the solution, not the problem, the end result, not present reality.
Imagine to yourself what this problem will look like when it is completely fixed. “How will I behave when I no longer do this?
3. Affirmations are brief
They have to be easy to visualize and incorporate into daily routine. Rather than making them long, it is better to have an umbrella affirmation and then use several briefer affirmations.
4. Affirmations put you wholeheartedly into an experience.
Rote repetition will not work. You’ve got to have conviction and visualize them.
Use richly descriptive language – see, hear, touch, taste.
5. Affirmations are specific.
Include details of reality. Analyse it.
“I am a strong leader.” What does that mean? What is “strong?” What behaviors are indicative of a leader?
6. Affirmations are realistic
A goal or affirmation has to be close enough to currently reality so that you can see yourself experiencing it, but not close enough that you lose motivation and drive.
Do not accept the judgments of other people who want to define your capabilities and your reality. You are your own judge and you know that trial and error is the way to learn. It’s OK to bite off a bit more than you can chew.
7. Affirmations make no comparisons.
There will always be people better and worse than you. Comparisons with others aren’t useful in strategies for personal growth. Competition with others points to shaky self-esteem and a need to prove something. Only on the battlefield is competition useful.
8. Affirmations do not work without desire and commitment
Are your goals your own? What drive and motivation do you have? If none, don’t bother with affirmations. Are you willing to work for them?
Putting affirmations to work:
1. Twice a day, every day. Morning and evening.
2. Read, picture, feel – record them where you have easy access – you have to visualize with them.
3. Repeat to imprint – once in a while the effect is immediate, sometimes it takes hundreds of repetitions.
The following are well-written affirmations. Affirmations do not have to be specific to us. If you like any of the following, use them.
Notes taken in part from Entelchy Training and Development Seminar, and Lou Tice in Personal Coaching for Results.