Four years ago when I decided to close my graphic design business and return writing full-time, the first action I had to do was restructure my beliefs. I was a confident designer, but I had to now start to visualize myself as a writer again. The doubts crept in quickly. Some refer to these thoughts as the voice of our internal censor and others call it the Imposter's Syndrome. No matter what name you affix to it, it's a troublemaker not worthy of attention. This small voice brings all of our fears and insecurities about our goals front and center every time we begin to take a step in a positive direction. If you want to be a writer, it will annoy you with thoughts of bad reviews and uninterested readers. Similarly, if you want to start a business, it will pester you with questions about your ability to succeed and cast doubt on the qualifications you have to be an entrepreneur.
In the film "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Samwise Gamgee agrees to join his friend, Frodo Baggins, on the journey of a lifetime through Middle Earth to Mount Doom to destroy the one ring. As they approached the edge of the Shire, Samwise realized that the comfort of his present life would be coming to an end. Stopping in the middle of the field, he says, "This is it. If I take one more step, it will be the farthest away from home I have ever been." Frodo turns to him, places his hands on his shoulder, smiles and says, "Come on." And the two take the next step and begin their epic journey. If have a dream you're passionate about pursuing, then get ready to trek into the unknown. Leave your comfort and security behind and step out in faith. The little voice will tell you that it's scary -- and it is -- and that you have no business "leaving the Shire," but like Samwise, you have a dream, you crave fulfillment, and that means going places you've never been before to do things you've never done. And it starts with learning to use and master affirmations to silence the censor and reach your destination.
Creating Daily Affirmations
Written affirmations force our minds to see us succeeding in the present and future. It also elevates past outcomes that we may not have been proud of into references instead of shame, which serve as building blocks. This is opposite of the small voice which casts fear into every equation. These affirmations are the stepping stones that help us to engage our mind and get focused on being productive. When I started working with affirmations, my first set was targeted toward giving myself permission to be a writer: "I give myself permission to write." You can do the same. I also chose to affirm my talent and support system: "I am a talented writer and my loved ones support my decision to write." I affirmed my state of mind for writing, too: "I wake up every morning excited to write." Whatever you choose to affirm, writing three to five of these affirmations and speaking them out daily, and re-reading them often. If necessary, set alerts in your phone reminding you to read them. It doesn't matter whether you believe them right now or not. You will eventually. As these affirmations take root and as you become more confident, update your affirmations targeting new areas of fear to overcome.
Creating Goal-Specific Affirmations
If you're looking to see a specific result in your life, you'll want to develop a series of goal-specific affirmations written in future tense. Saying, "I will finish my first book by February 1, 2016" or "I will launch my business by August 1, 2016" creates resolve. Specifically stating your intentions prepares your mind for action towards achieving your goal. By assigning it a deadline, you set your mind on a course to figure out how it will achieve this goal in the allotted time. This trains your mind to create solutions, not set up obstacles. Next, list every action step that you need to take to achieve your goal. Then place due dates beside each. Once written, read your affirmations and accompanying goals. You will feel internal resistance at first, but that's normal. As part of its natural fight of flight response, our minds run everything new through the filter of fear in response to things it doesn't understand or comprehend at first glance. This is normal.
Make Your Affirmations Visible
The most important thing to remember about affirmations is that you have to keep them visible. Here are a few places you can put your affirmations and ways to recall them:
- Voice recording. Record them and listen to them throughout the day, whether exercising, on a car ride, or right before you go to sleep.
As you learn to explore affirmations, remember that these are tools to help you build confidence in your abilities and to reach your goals. Done well, and you'll command constant and lasting change throughout your life at the stroke of a pen.
What are some ways that you have used affirmations create change in your life?