Hack Your Brain Using Affirmations
Affirmations are not repetitive wishing, they are about so much more than wishing. There’s actually research that suggests that writing or saying an affirmation every day can create the chemical and neural pathways in your brain to make it a permanent part of who you are.
1. Optimists are Problem Solvers
Affirmations can be a delicious part of your complete breakfast—an exercise in telling yourself, over and again, what you most want to be, and tuning your brain to start doing what it takes to get there.
The truth is loads of successful people use daily affirmations as a warm-up to their day, and to help them get their brain focused on doing things that lead to their goals.
Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form.
2. So not magic. And not luck, Either
Instead, affirmations are like a program you install in your brain to keep you alert for possibilities, keep you focused on productive tasks, and keep you working toward the achievement of your goals.
Affirmations are a shortcut to the goal-writing and goal-checking process. By writing out a simple goal, and repeating it to yourself every day, you’re hacking your brain, getting it focused on what’s important, and ignoring what isn’t.
3. Anatomy of an Affirmation
Words used for affirmation matter. For example, “I will be a wealthy author”
That one is shorter, obviously, but also less focused. It was also projecting into the future, instead of claiming the goal for right now. It was originally focused more on who I would be rather than who I am.
So I tinkered with it to get it to exactly what I wanted it to be, and I started writing it fifteen times a day, every single day.
The effect of that has been amazing. Because in many respects, I am exactly the author I describe in that affirmation.
Moreover, writing something every day is better than writing nothing —and writing something affirmative every day is better than writing something pointless.
If you want to develop a daily writing habit—or any other positive habit, for that matter—you have to develop certain core disciplines, like forcing yourself to write. And if you’re going to do that, you might as well write something that benefits you and is meaningful.
4. The benefit of Creating a Habit
This is a practice, to develop a habit, and not the sort of writing you’ll do full time. But as a practice, it’s incredibly beneficial.
Have you ever sat down with the best of intentions, and faced the blinking cursor or the blank page, and just froze? The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.
Affirmations help you get past the “blank page freeze” because, all else aside, you know you’re going to sit down and write something. It takes the pressure off.
And how your write your affirmations doesn’t really matter. Your goal is to acclimatize yourself and develop a habit of sitting down and writing, every single day, without fail.
Affirmations are one of the first things I recommend to would-be authors because they have a positive impact on your mental game, while also helping you to develop some daily writing muscle memory. Even after you get into the groove and start writing regularly, I recommend you keep up the practice of a daily affirmation.
Let’s take a look at some rules you can use to help you create your affirmations
8 Rules for Creating Your Daily Affirmation
- Write in first person: “I” is powerful. It’s you, owning what you’re saying. If you want to create a new idea of yourself, and live that idea, you should always start at “I.”
- Use your name: It is a bit redundant, but when we make “contracts” with people we use this format.
- Be specific: Elaborate a bit on your ideas, motives.
- Be present: Claim this right now, not in some amorphous future. Define your reality a bit. “I am” is a powerful signal to your brain. Claim it, own it, be it.
- Write it 10 to 15 times per day: It doesn’t matter how. Write it by hand or use a word processor. The important part is to develop the daily habit of writing, and the habit of thinking of yourself as an author.
- Write it before writing: When you write doesn’t matter as much as the writing itself. But before you put a word on the page for your book or anything else, write your affirmations. They’re a trigger to your brain saying “this is writing time.” This really helps reduce “writer’s block,” which is mostly a hesitation to get started.
- Define each term: Once you have your affirmation written, start a separate document and write definitions for every term you’ve used. Define the terms you wish to use for yourself.
- Refine as you go: Start with one affirmation, and refine it over time. Don’t worry if yours isn’t perfect. If you write this for a week or a month and decide it could be fine-tuned or refined, do it till your affirmation represents your real goals and ambitions as an author.
This isn’t magic. And it isn’t wishing. This is about programming.
Every day we make choices that allow us to shape our lives. Affirmations are part of a process that lets us choose the direction we really want to take. On the map of our lives, they’re a compass.