Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Affirmation Challenge Follow-up

It all started with one simple concept. Thoughts become things.

What if I spent an entire month consciously paying attention to my thoughts? Then, what if I said "See ya later, self-sabotage!" and soaked myself in affirmations instead? Would I see a difference? Would I become more motivated? Have more confidence? Be a happier person? Or was this all really too good to be true? Just another scheme in the big ol' world of health and wellness?

Off I went, all fired up with the "New Year, New You" vibes exploding ev-er-y-where, I created The Affirmation Challenge. A challenge designed to replace that snarky mean girl in the back of your head with sparkling bursts of positivity. A challenge that would renew your passions, fuel your success, and guide you as you transformed into the most brilliant version of yourself. (Hot damn! Who wouldn't want a life filled with passion, fulfillment, and happiness?!)

For the few first days, I was ON FIRE. I was seriously stoked to get this thing going and affirmations were flying at me left, right, and centre - the inspiration was there, the motivation was there, everything was jiving! I believe in myself and my ability to do anything. My positive energy creates a powerful presence and confidence. And it really did. There was no stopping me!

As time went on, and the inital excitement wore off, I could feel those back-talking thoughts trickle on in. You have 'em, I have 'em, we all do. We're human! There's going to be days when you're feeling off. Whatever it is - the motivation isn't there, you don't feel good, something bad happened, you tried something and failed, you get overwhelmed...

Instead of letting those negative thoughts just flow in, go about their business, and flow back out easily and effortlessly, I became aware. For the first time ever, I thought about the things I thought about. (Gosh, that was a mouthful, wasn't it?) More than anything, it was the realization that I had been on auto-drive, coasting through my days, allowing the negativity to shape me, and allowing myself to believe it. I had allowed myself to believe (for far too long) that I wasn't good enough, smart enough, motivated enough, passionate enough, or simply just, enough. It was profound in the truest sense.

Once I became aware, I chose to go down a different path. I learned three important things...

1. It ain't easy! With any habit, it's hard to break, and even harder to form new ones. Somewhere along the way, we've taught ourselves to become our own worst enemies. We've turned to the typical self-sabotage tactics - doubt, blame, guilt, criticism, and at times, full-blown hatred. There have been times in my own life where I've been crippled by those things right there. Saying "enough is enough" is a concept that is simple enough, but putting it into action is much more complex. It takes brain power, time, patience, and hell, you may even need to break out the brass knuckles from time to time. It's about progress, not perfection.

2. Affirmations are not about lying to yourself. There, I said it. If I wake up and am in a bit of a funk, the last thing I want to say to myself is, "Today, I choose to be great!" Because you know it's going to be followed up with a solid eye-roll. Choose affirmations that mesh with where you're at that day, create something personal, and most importantly, be honest with yourself.

Let's say, you wake up feeling less than perfect. The motivation isn't there, the vibe isn't flowing, and maybe you just don't feel like it. You've got a to-do list that could stretch across the room but find your mind wandering somewhere else. Instead of letting the guilt seep in, step back, and think, "I am doing the best that I can, in this moment."

Lying to yourself won't get you anywhere, and neither will ignoring your feelings. It's much more destructive in the long haul, building up until you can't handle it anymore. (Cue the mental breakdown!) Know that some days the best that you can do means you're a total rockstar, and other times, maybe you just need to take a break for a little you-time. Rest. Relax. Be gentle with yourself.

3. Buddy-up. Talk to someone who isn't afraid to call you out! There were times when I was so enthralled in my back-talk that I wasn't even aware. Having someone be there to say, "Stop! Thinking like that will get you no-where." is like getting an informative bear hug. Welcome it, embrace it, and know that you are loved.

As silly as it sounds, sometimes the creative mojo for affirmation-creation just isn't there. (Especially when you first wake up in the morning and your brain feels more like a turtle than a cheetah!) (I'm laughing at that metaphor...) For you, my sweet friend, I say use one or both of these. (I use them daily!)

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Heart Thoughts by Louise Hay - The kind of book that will last you a lifetime. Complete with beautiful illustrations, this book is seperated out into categories, suited for every moment. From abundance, expression, letting go, relationships and unconditional love to anger, criticism, guilt, healing, and releasing the past. Keep it next to your bed, tucked safely in your purse, or on your desk. Simply take a moment, flip open a page, and you'll find that what you'll read is just what you needed to hear.

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Spirit Junkie - Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Adding More ~Ing To Your Life and May Cause Miracles wants you to start your day off right and get the good vibes going with this affirmation alarm clock app. Each morning when your phone alarm rings, an affirmation pops up. (No thinking involved!) Simply clear your mind and meditate on the message.

If you want more information on the "how to's" of affirmations, make sure you check out the original Affirmation Challenge post, if you missed it! I hope you found this helpful and are excited to get started on your own mind-shifting, perspective-changing journey! It's just the beginning.

Did you follow along in your own affirmation challenge? How did you find it? I'd love to hear all about your thoughts and experiences! xx


  1. Yesterday my Yogi tea bag said- "Our thoughts are forming the world" Hmmm, what a lovely coincidence or maybe it's not a coincidence....

  2. SO. this is like the #1 big thing my therapist and I have been working on. I have a tendency to over-react and to immediate assume the worst, so changing my mindset has been a major part of making me happier and healthier.

    for instance, before, if Jon didn't reply to a text I'd sent him to 10 hours, I'd think that he saw it and decided that he had better things to do than answer. OBVIOUSLY this wasn't true. I know he loves me, I know I'm the most important thing to him, etc. But I could not get out of that pessimistic place in my head, and the longer I stayed there the worse it got and the harder it was to get out.

    now, when something like that happens, I TELL myself the positive. "he's in a meeting." or "he's having dinner with his mum." or "he wants to take the time to reply thoughtfully." the more I say this to myself - even out loud, sometimes, the easier it is to believe and the easier it is to stay out of the pessimistic place. and you know what? those thoughts are, actually, almost always the true cases!

    so. yes. it works :)

  3. It is SO hard to be positive 100% of the time - but I have found that since I've started paying more attention to my thoughts (and what triggers the 'negative' thoughts) that I've been more able to get myself out of a funk. Something thats really helped me is making a REAL effort to be more accepting of others. I mean, I'm not a mean person (I hope!) but small things like not getting stressed out if my housemates don't do the washing up, or leave the house a mess has actually helped me to be more tolerant with myself. I think "Don't sweat the small stuff" is basically my new life motto!!

  4. i have this book on order from the library. so excited to get my hands on it!

  5. Protip: pick one, yes you heard that right - ONE, affirmation per week. make it short and memorable, no more than 12 words but 4 or 5 is better. don't be afraid to amend the affirmation, but be sure that you stick to one specific thing at a time. as you lie in bed at night, recite the affirmation to yourself. get into a rythym so it's sort of like a mantra. don't recite it mindlessley, be aware of your words and why you're saying them. recite it over and over and over and over until you drop off. as you drift off, you're at a level of mind known as Alpha which is a very receptive state. first thing you do when you wake in the morning is start reciting again. spend 5 mins doing this before you get out of bed. take a lil break during the day, maybe right after lunch. take a few mins to relax yourself then recite again for 5 mins. do this everyday for a week until you're sick of your affirmation. you'll never want to hear those words again. that's when you know the affirmation is "installed" in your unconscious and your life is going to change <3