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!)
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