I was a complete disbeliever when I first came across affirmations and their supposed power to change our beliefs and to impact our lives. I mean, ‘how can a bunch of words make a difference to my life?’ I’d thought. The fact that affirmations made such huge promises stopped me from dismissing them completely because at that time in my life, I had hit rock bottom. I was overweight and unhappy, very unhappy. I had tried countless diets, joined in on multiple get-fit challenges and even dabbled in many faddy diets all to end up failing yet again. I can now see that the place I was in was a case of extremely good fortune because at any other time, I would have laughed and turned my back on affirmations forever. BUT that didn’t happen and I decided to further my research into the subject as I had nothing to lose anyway.
Before I delve deeper into the subject, it is important to define what affirmations really are.
Affirmations – The Basics
The dictionary definition is:
the assertion that something exists or is true.
something that is affirmed; a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.
confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc.
Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath.
There are two separate strategies (ways of using) affirmations:
- Statement based affirmations such as ‘I am confident’ or ‘I can lose weight’.
- Present tense statements such as ‘I am losing weight’ or ‘I am reaching my weight loss goal’
Positive AND Negative affirmations
Affirmations can be positive or negative! Here are some examples of each:
I can’t lose weight
I hate fruit
I am lazy
It never works for me
I can lose weight
I love fruit
I am motivated
This always works for me
As you can see from the above, an affirmation in the context of this blog is a statement or thought we say to ourselves which can either be positive OR negative. These statements or thoughts can become so ingrained in us that we can begin to believe them to be true. This belief becomes a part of our personality and impacts the choices we make and the behaviours we choose to adopt. As
It was the realisation that negative affirmations existed which really caught my attention and finally convinced me that I might be onto something powerful here. I knew that I had a negative self-image, I knew I believed I could never lose weight and I knew that I repeatedly called myself a ‘dieting nightmare!’ but, up until that point in my life, I had never considered if there was a link between these beliefs and my dieting failures! Suddenly, the pieces began to fit together and my research gained momentum. I learned that negative affirmations could:
Stop you reaching your goals
Keep you stuck in life
Stop you from even trying certain things
Cause you to self-sabotage your progress
I was now becoming convinced I was a text book victim of negative affirmations and had to know for certain. I knew it would take effort and energy to do this but my desperation to lose weight gave me the impetus I needed. So, on purpose, on paper, I wrote down all the things I said about myself and all the things I believed and thought about myself. I was shocked to find, amongst many, the following:
- I am not good enough
- I am too scared to change
- I might make things worse
- What if it doesn’t work
- I can’t lose weight
- I always fail
I then looked at the results I was achieving and could clearly see the connection between them and the self-affirming beliefs I held about myself. Even with this realisation, I remained skeptical, but it had sparked an interest I could not dismiss. More than that, it had inadvertently made me conscious of what I was saying to myself. I found that, each time I had a negative thought about myself, I was actually aware of it. Where previously I would have mindlessly had these thoughts and said those words without thinking, now every thought and every word would work its way into my conscious self and point-blank stare me in the face! Even though I still didn’t truly believe that mere words and thoughts could have an adverse affect on my life and lead me to have problems losing weight, I figured that there was no harm in trying to change them because nothing else had worked. I sat down and scrutinised my list and decided that I would arm myself with POSITIVE affirmations to replace the words I used and the thoughts I had:
|I am not good enough||I am good enough|
|I am too scared to change||I can change|
|I might make things worse||I might make things better|
|What if it doesn’t work||What if it does work|
|I can’t lose weight||I can lose weight|
|I always fail||I can win|
From then on, I committed to replacing negative thinking with positive thinking as soon as a thought came to mind or a word slipped out. At first, it felt strange and really odd. I felt as if I was faking it and, to be honest I was, because I really didn’t believe the positive statements I had written down. Despite not believing though, I persevered and, in time, it became easier and easier to replace my thoughts. Before long, it was almost an automatic response and then, without realising it, I virtually stopped using negative affirmations. I began to notice that on the days negative affirmations did manage to seep back into my life, I was experiencing problems or just that my mood was low. I could see that on these days I naturally felt less motivated and lacked energy, which increased my use of negative affirmations! To counteract this, I committed to using more positive affirmations on those days. In time, my confidence grew and the weight loss results I was achieving began to change. I lost weight, had more energy and my emotions stabilised. I sincerely put a large part of my success on positive affirmations and continue to use them to this day.
Change negative thoughts into firm positive self-talk
If you find that you struggle to lose weight, have low levels of motivation and are trapped in the vicious cycle of the dieting trap, why don’t you give affirmations a try?
Here are 4 easy steps to get you started:
- AUDIT – Audit your thoughts and words
Identify and write down the thoughts you have about yourself and the statements you use.
- CREATE – Create positive thoughts and words
Next to each negative thought or statement you use, create a positive one to counter-act it (see examples above).
- AWARENESS – Become aware each time you find yourself using negative affirmations
Each day, commit to becoming aware every time you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative to yourself
- REPLACE – Pick an appropriate, positive statement you have written down
As soon as you find that you have used a negative affirmation, replace it with a positive one. For extra potency, repeat the positive affirmation two or three times.
WRITTEN BY SHERRY TAYLOR
AUTHOR OF THE ANTI-DIET LIFESTYLE – 4 CRAZY STEPS TO WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS!