Affirmations: The Right Way and The Wrong Way

Affirmations are true statements that we use to re-train the subconscious. The subconscious accepts some things and rejects other things. If you want to train your subconscious using the conscious mind technique of repetition that we call Affirmations, try using a series of statements that begin on solid ground, rock-solid truth.

Affirmations have been around for centuries, dating back to ancient Greek and Egyptian cultures.  We like them, we use them, and we know that they don’t always work.

Affirmations are what I do for a living.  Some people might call them hypnotic suggestions or empowering statements.  There are a million ways to describe the phenomenon; I have my point of view–here it is.

Whatever the desired change is, wherever we are on the spectrum of desire, there is always resistance.  We defend against change.  However much pain or dissatisfaction we have, at the subconscious level we don’t want to change.  Don’t even bother to deny this—remember, I said at the subconscious level.

I can give you a few good ideas about using Affirmations in the best possible way.  For my purposes in service to clients, I use a combination of direct suggestions and indirect suggestions.

First, remember that Affirmations are true statements that we use to re-train the subconscious.  The subconscious accepts some things and rejects other things.  If you want to train your subconscious using the conscious mind technique of repetition that we call Affirmations, try using a series of statements that begin on solid ground, rock-solid truth.

Square One is different for everyone.  Some people can’t begin with “I love my body and my mind” because it isn’t true at the deepest level.  In this case, try, “I am at my best when I love my body and my mind.”  This is an example of a true statement that also serves as an indirect suggestion.

Are you overweight?  If so, it’s possible that your subconscious will reject the Affirmation, “I am a thin person.”  It’s not a true statement, and every cell of your being knows that.  Try this: “I feel so good about myself when I eat sensibly.”

The use of Affirmations is highly effective when you connect the dots from what is fundamentally true to the conditions that you consciously desire.  Beginning with a positive, indirect suggestion such as “I am at my best when I love my body and my mind” is effective because the subconscious is then cued to review what it knows about self-care, self-esteem, Love, and the associated thoughts and emotions.  The mind begins to turn in that direction.  That is entirely necessary, because you will not lose weight unless you change your eating habits and activity level.  Affirmations are a beginning and a support technique—not a panacea or cure-all.

When you begin to have success with “I feel so good about myself when I eat sensibly,” progress to a new Affirmation, such as “My extreme joy is increasing as I am becoming fitter, healthier, and thinner.”  Conjure your positive emotions and feel them wash over you as you repeat the Affirmation!

For the best, most effective use of Affirmations in your daily Life, write them out and word them carefully!  Your subconscious is literal.  Tell it what you want and speak to it as you speak to a child.  Use simple language and shorter statements.  Put your affirmations in order and start at the beginning.

Have a plan.  Begin with the more fundamental statements and have an awareness of your emotions and behaviors becoming more positive over time.  Give yourself some time to allow the changes to take hold.  When you notice the positive changes taking place, change your Affirmations to more direct statements, fine-tuning your direction toward your conscious goal.  Connect the dots.

Remember that your subconscious does not rationalize or analyze; however, it has beliefs and it is quite dug into what it knows, and it will resist change.  My personal favorite method is to use Affirmations in combination with Self-Hypnosis for faster and more effective change.  Hypnotism goes right to the heart of a belief and it can deal with the resistance instantly and profoundly.

One more point, and this is very important:  Affirmations and Hypnotism are no substitute for expert medical or psychiatric care.  Persistent physical, mental, and emotional symptoms might be an indication of a condition that is best dealt with by a qualified health-care professional.  I have many such qualified professionals in my network and I regularly refer my clients to them in order to rule out serious conditions.  I am at my professional best when I work as part of a team that includes my Client, myself, and other qualified providers who might be needed.

Once you rule out any serious indications, let your subconscious mind take over and watch the changes taking place in your Life!

Are You Resolved? Really?

Give yourself positive reinforcement. Now that change is in the air, give yourself the best possible chance by seeking opportunities to practice the principles that you know are right for you.

Welcome to the end-of-year season!  This is the time of year when we all go inward for introspection.  Hopefully, we assess ourselves, decide which changes we will make, and begin fine tuning ourselves and our lives.  Now that we’re here, let’s take a look at the positives and the pitfalls of making New Year’s Resolutions.

First, the pitfalls.  New Year’s Resolutions are laughed at.  They are both the joke and the punch line.  A great many people just don’t believe that lasting change is possible, so they will deride your efforts to make positive changes.

Every year at the gym, right after the New Year, there is increased traffic due to people wanting to get into shape right after the holidays.  We expect this traffic.  You want to know what the joke is?  They will all be gone in about a month.  These folks even have a name: “Resolutioners.”  It is well known that most people will not sustain the changes they plan. Here’s a tip: only tell the people in your life who will be supportive, and who are also interested in making changes for the better!

A resolution means perseverance and determination.  Changes don’t have to be painful, but the effort that you put in is equal to the results you will get.  Don’t get caught up with distractions from your goal!

Here are some ways you can reinforce your decision to change for the better.

Watch your self-talk.  Whatever doubts you have are expressed in the way we talk to ourselves.  All doubt comes from the conscious mind.  The unconscious does not argue; it only does what we tell it to do.  As you are making changes in your life, change the way you talk to yourself.  Talk as if you are a great coach to yourself.  You love yourself and you want to have the best life you can get, right?  Be a positive influence upon your own mind.

Give yourself positive reinforcement.  Now that change is in the air, give yourself the best possible chance by seeking opportunities to practice the principles that you know are right for you.  You will probably be better off making new habits and changing People, Places, and Things.

Encourage yourself to change by changing the little things: routes traveled, daily rituals and routines, and personal habits.  By doing this, new opportunities for lasting change will come into your consciousness.  When this happens, give thanks!  This is your powerful subconscious mind guiding you toward the changes you want!  Give yourself the gift of change, and go for it!

Suggestibility and Affirmations

Think of your subconscious as a child of about 10 years old. Even a stubborn child can be motivated—it’s all in your presentation. If you let a child think they came up with an idea on their own, they’ll probably jump all over it.

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” You might recognize this affirmation, originated by Émile Coué almost a century ago.

Affirmations are ideas packaged into neat phrases that are used for the purpose of self-improvement. They are typically used as meditations just before sleeping or immediately upon awakening. The theory is that the idea will act upon the subconscious, causing desired changes. This effect has been produced and replicated hundreds of times in clinical studies.

But what if your affirmation isn’t working? It might be because the exact wording doesn’t match your suggestibility. Suggestibility varies greatly among all of us, so when it comes to affirmations, one size does not fit all. Not even close.

Are you the type of person who bristles when being told what to do? If so, it’s possible that your subconscious will reject a direct suggestion. However, even if your subconscious resists authority, there’s a way that you can present it with new ideas that it will accept readily.

Think of your subconscious as a child of about 10 years old. Even a stubborn child can be motivated—it’s all in your presentation. If you let a child think they came up with an idea on their own, they’ll probably jump all over it. Keep in mind that approximately half the population is very OK with authoritarian affirmations (direct suggestions), and can accept them at face value and get results, no problem.

How can you determine your own suggestibility? That part isn’t so simple for the uninitiated, but it’s possible. If you are highly empathetic or sympathetic, if you can easily imagine physical sensations in your body, and if you are usually outgoing and eager to converse, it’s likely that you will respond to direct suggestions. Conversely, if your emotions don’t translate quickly into physical sensations, or if you tend to have difficulty connecting immediately with someone else’s emotional state, it’s likely that you’ll have more success with indirect suggestions.

Coué’s affirmation above is a direct suggestion. If you don’t have success with it, change it to an indirect suggestion and try it again for a week or so. Here are some examples: “Every day, I can get better…” or “It’s possible that every day, I am getting better…” Does your subconscious require a super indirect suggestion? Here you go: “Every day, in every way, I can give myself permission to allow myself to consider that I am getting better and better.”

Remember, your subconscious mind doesn’t analyze or evaluate, it just does what you tell it to do when you’re speaking its language. So try your affirmations as both direct and indirect suggestions, and see which one works better!