What Have You Been Affirming? 3 Steps You Can Take for Better Results

affirmations change mindfulness subconscious wording Apr 01, 2024

When you hear the phrase “saying affirmations,” what comes to mind? Perhaps a vision of someone looking in the mirror and telling themselves they’re good enough and that people like them, like in old SNL skits with the Stewart Smalley character?

I know that there are many people who repeat affirmations in front of the mirror, whether as a daily practice or as they prepare for an important event. There are also many who feel silly and uncomfortable at the mere thought of talking to themselves in the mirror, like it’s too embarrassing or simply pointless. 

What do you think?

Well, don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to make this part of your daily routine or anything like that (though I do support it). But I would love for you to consider what you may be affirming without even realizing it, and how it may be affecting your results.

Whether we do it intentionally or not, we’re all affirming things about ourselves every day. Not you, you say? Well, I think you’re going to want to hear me out on this.

Think about this for a minute. How often do you say little things like…

I’m so clumsy.
I’m so fat.
I’m so old.
I always lose things.
I’m so forgetful.
I’m always late.
I’m always broke.

Whether these words slip out or silently echo in your thoughts, chances are you recognize a few of these. Maybe an innocent stumble earned you the "clumsy" label, and without realizing, you've made it part of your self-talk.

The "old" and "fat" labels, often reinforced by relentless societal standards on body image and aging, can easily seep into our consciousness. Advertisements, social media, and even offhand remarks can amplify these labels, making them hard to shake off.

Now consider how many times you’ve said something like…

I’m never going to have the money.
I’ll never be good enough to…
I’ll never be able to learn how to…
I’m never going to be able to…
I’ll never have such an amazing relationship as that.
I know that will never happen.

Not exactly inspiring statements, right? I know that you may be thinking “what’s the big deal, I’m just being sarcastic” or “I’m just being realistic.” 

Well, these so-called harmless statements are not necessarily so harmless. Let’s dive a little deeper. 

Your thoughts and words matter because…

Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your ACTIONS.
Your actions become your HABITS.
Your habits become your RESULTS.

Every thought we think, experience we have, everything we say or hear – everything – makes an impression on us, especially in our brains. The more we think or experience something, the bigger the impression made in our brains because neural pathways are formed.

Neural pathways are formed based on all of our thoughts, and they become stronger each time the idea is thought or the experience is had (similar to how a path forms in the grass as people walk on it.) This happens so that you (your brain) can become more efficient. 

For example, think about driving to the store or to work. How many times have you arrived at your destination and don’t even remember driving there? That’s the work of some well-established neural pathways. Those pathways form because your brain recognizes that you’ve done that before, so it wires itself so you can do it more efficiently. That way you can free up your brain to work on other stuff, like paying closer attention to traffic instead of figuring out how to get there.

Your subconscious mind, much like an algorithm running in the background, influences your decisions based on the 'data' it's been given. If it's regularly fed messages of inadequacy or impossibility, your actions will likely reflect these beliefs, leading to outcomes that reinforce them.

It's important to remember that your brain is always 'listening', even if you're not consciously affirming these thoughts in front of a mirror. 

So, how do you break this cycle? How can you rewire your brain to change these subconscious programs? How can you support yourself in taking more productive actions and end up with more desirable results?

I’ve got you! Don’t worry. Here are 3 steps you can start taking today to begin to reset your algorithm.

Step 1: Check-in with yourself. See it, name it.

The first step is to take a look at what’s going on in your life lately. Like I always say, you have to see it and name it before you can change it. Grab a journal and see what comes up for you with these questions:

  • What is working the way you want it to work? What’s flowing and feeling good?
  • What’s not working? Where are you feeling frustration or like you’re not where you want to be?
  • Where are you feeling unhappy? What’s causing you stress? Where do you want to see more progress?
  • What needs to change? What do you want to be or do different?

First of all, celebrate where things are going well for you! Good for you!

Now, dig deep on what isn’t working or where you want it to be and get specific on what exactly that means. For example, if you’ve been saying that there’s never enough time and I’m so fat. Maybe you can identify that you’ve been giving up a lot of time for what other people want and that you’ve been neglecting time for yourself to exercise and cook healthy meals, which has been taking a toll on you physically.

Step 2: Become mindful of your words. Your subconscious mind is listening.

The second step is to become consciously aware of the subconscious program that’s been running by paying attention to the words and phrases that you use. Your words matter!

Acknowledge the statements that you’ve been making and the thoughts you’ve been thinking that have been affirming what it is that you do not want. Knowledge is power here!

As you begin to recognize what you’ve been saying, or when you catch yourself going forward, stop to ask yourself:

  • Is this actually – factually – true?
  • Is this something I want to be true in my life?
  • Would I talk to my friend (or anyone!) like this?
  • Is there any value added by making this statement?
  • How would I feel if I stopped saying this?

If it isn’t fully true (“never” and “always” are good clues it’s not!) and you wouldn’t say it to a friend because it would be hurtful, then STOP SAYING IT! It’s not something that’s bringing any positive value to your life so decide to cut out those statements and thoughts by practicing being intentional with your words.

Step 3: Reframe for a more empowered perspective.

And the third step is to change your wording so that you begin to affirm what you DO want.

Of course, you can identify what you do want and then create positive wording around that, but let’s talk about reframing any negative statements that you’ve been using.

Here are a couple examples: 

Instead of: I never have good luck dating. I’m unlucky in love. The people I attract are always…
Try saying: I’ve learned a lot in my experiences dating, and I’m much clearer on what I want and don’t want in a relationship. I’m excited and curious to see how my next date goes.

Instead of: I’ll never be able to do that. That will never happen for me. I’m never going to have enough money.
Try saying: I wonder what it would take to make that happen. How can I break that down into steps that I can do to make that happen? What do I need to learn? Who do I know that’s experienced something similar who could connect with to get some ideas?

Notice that I’m not trying to sugarcoat or reframe in a way that isn’t believable or doesn’t feel right right now. For example, I don’t want you to suddenly start saying that you feel sexy or fabulous in your body if you’re feeling super bloated or defeated about your weight. That’s going to create cognitive dissonance, so your subconscious isn’t going to know what to do with that.

Instead, you could try options like these:

  • My body may not be the size I want it to be today, but that’s okay because I’m still making progress on my fitness goals.
  • I love my body and get to make healthy choices that nourish my body.
  • I appreciate my body because it allows me to do the things I want to do.
  • I choose to love my body and I’m going to work on getting a little more movement today.

Embracing negative self-talk or casting shadows on your aspirations will never serve as a catalyst for achieving your goals or realizing the joyful life you envision and deserve. Remember, past or present circumstances do not dictate your future. Just because something was or is, doesn't mean it has to be. Your destiny is not written in stone – it's shaped by your actions today and into the future.

Changing your thoughts and words is a great way to begin to change your actions and results. Of course, that in no way means that you can simply change your words and expect to reach your goals without taking action, but you’re going to feel a heck of a lot more motivated to take action when you’re not bringing yourself down.

So what empowering affirming words could you create around your goals and dreams? What can you say to rewire your subconscious thinking? What actions will you feel more inspired to take?

Enjoy the journey!

P.S. I understand that this may feel confusing or overwhelming, so if you want some help sorting this all out I invite you to schedule a complimentary Clarity Session with me right here.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.