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Changing Your Life Using Positive Affirmations

Mention the phrase “positive affirmations” and the mind often wanders to comedian Al Franken’s character, Stuart Smalley, gazing into a mirror on old Saturday Night Live episodes, telling himself, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.” Poke fun if you will, but the art of reaffirming goals and self-worth can boost your business and personal lives.

Norman Vincent Peale, the author/motivational speaker/minister, said “People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.”

Motivational guru Zig Ziglar said, “The most influential person who will talk to you all day is you, so you should be very careful about what you say to you.”

Let me ask you a few questions. Do you talk to yourself? Do you have a positive affirmation? Do you read it each day? Write it each day? Listen to it each day?

The art of positive thinking is not always easy. Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., is the author of the book, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. Helmstetter said, “During the first eighteen years of life, assuming we are raised in a fairly positive, non-abusive environment, the average child has been told “no” more than 148,000 times. If you were a little more fortunate, you may have been told “no” only 100,000 times or 50,000 times – however many, it was considerably more negative programming than any of us needs.”

Helmstetter goes on to say that behavioral research tells us that as much as 77 percent of what we think on a daily basis is negative and works against us.

Think about that. Whatever good outcomes you are creating are coming from only 23 percent of your potential positive energy. Only 23 percent!

Helmstetter said that during the first eighteen years of life, the average person remembers being told that they COULD accomplish something in life just three or four times.

Where do these negative messages come from? Brothers, sisters, teachers, classmates. The biggest culprit of our negative programming? Our parents. Often in an effort to protect us from the pain of possible failure, parents will tell us “no” we are unable to accomplish our goals. While their intent is to shield us from the pain, their good intentions often lead us to abandon something of great importance in our lives for fear of failing.

In What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, Dr. Helmstetter talks about being a little boy, believing he could be anything he wanted to be when he grew up, then growing up to be told it was bad to have your head in the clouds and it was good to have your feet on the ground.

Feeling trapped by corporate America, Helmstetter said he reached the point where he “began to wonder and dream again, as I had when I was a young boy years before. What if we could find what’s stopping us and turn it around? What if any of us, at any time, could reach up and touch the stars?”

Doesn’t it give you a sense of freedom to think that you could go back in your mind, back to your childhood, back to when you truly believed you could be anything you want when you grow up? To get in touch with your “little girl dreams” – you know, the dreams you had for yourself when you were a little girl. Or if you, unfortunately, were one of the children that didn’t dream, isn’t it exciting to know you’ve got the chance to dream right now?

National sales director Rena Tarbet stands out as one of the most recognized names and faces in the Mary Kay community. In her book, “How to Succeed in Spite of Life’s Challenges,” Tarbet said that she believes goal setting and positive thinking helped her survive a battle with cancer that began in 1975.

Through all of the physical challenges, Tarbet kept working, building a successful business, and influencing the lives of others. Tarbet said, “Get out a sheet of paper and write down what you want. Then simply believe wholeheartedly that if you have the ability to think it and dream it, you have the God-given ability to achieve it.”

Tarbet posts her goals throughout her home, in her car, and in her date book. She suggests being very specific about your goals. “It doesn’t help to want a big house,” said Tarbet. “What exactly is a big house? To some people,
2,500 square feet is a big house, and to someone else, nothing less than 10,000 square feet will do.”

My own national sales director, Asenath Brock, attributes much of her success to positive affirmations. Brock, who is featured in the book, “Living an Abundant Life,” tells consultants to write their affirmations on index cards and place them everywhere -- by the phone, on the mirror, on the dashboard in the car.

Pat Pearson is the author of Stop Self-Sabotage. I had the privilege of seeing Pearson in person when Brock invited her to speak in Branson, Mo. Pearson’s book and audiotape set, available online at http://www.patpearson.com, is something I have listened to it over and over. What a great set to help anyone not only with their business, but their personal life as well.

In the set, Pearson stresses the importance of goal setting in all aspects of life and using positive affirmations in order to reach these goals. She takes listeners through several exercises during the audiotape, to uncover why you might be keeping yourself from reaching the success you deserve.

“There are two things that get in the way of our goals most often,” Pearson said. “The first is negative beliefs about ourselves and our abilities. The second is a lack of permission from our past. Both keep us stuck. Nobody else can change our situation. It is up to us.”

Are you ready for the details? How can we reprogram the negative messages in our minds? How can we start our own journey down the road to success? The answer -- by creating your own positive affirmations.

Pat Pearson recommends always having three affirmations at a time – one personal, one business, and one health. She warns that individuals are often so eager to see results that their affirmations become too long and complicated.

Both Pearson and Helmstetter suggest stating affirmations in the present tense, as if the goal has already been achieved.

The best advice I ever received regarding positive affirmations was when Asenath Brock told me to record my affirmations on tape.

Over the course of several days I gave a lot of thought to my goals. What did I want out of my business? Was I sure this was the right business for me? What were my “little girl dreams” that I had yet to reach in life? Where did I see myself in one year, five years, 10 years?

I wrote each goal down in the present tense. Instead of saying, “I am going to always be on time” or “I will always be on time,” I said, “I am always on time.” Getting rid of the “I am going to…” or “I will…” and stating your goals in the present tense or if they had already happened helps you take ownership of those goals, and makes your mind think it is already on the right track.

Next, I grabbed a 30-minute cassette (15 minutes per side) and asked the most important people in my life to record a short statement. I wanted to start my tape off reaffirming their faith in me so I could hear their messages each time I played my tape. My parents’ words mean a lot to me, but what touches my heart the most is hearing my son say, ““You are very, very beautiful” each time I play my tape.

When it was time to record, I sat down with my tape recorder, propped up a small mirror so I would remember to smile, and got busy. I used a peppy voice to record each of my goals. I stated all of my goals as if they had already happened, being sure to cover every aspect of my life – business, education, spiritual, family, weight loss, exercise, time management, health, relationships. Rather than leaving silence at the end of the tape when I finished my script, I added a prayer.

Once the recording was finished, I set up my positive affirmation station next to my bed. I plugged an AC adapter into the wall, connected to a Walkman-style cassette player with the auto-reverse feature, and into that I plugged a pillow speaker (available at Radio Shack stores). Next, I adjusted the volume and slid the pillow speaker into one of the pillows on my bed.

Each night when I climb into bed, I press play and reaffirm my goals all night.

Married friends assure me that their spouses don’t mind the affirmation tape playing on the pillow speaker all night. In fact, it takes only a few moments to adjust the volume and position the pillow speaker just right so your spouse won’t hear a thing. And even if he does hear it, will he really mind? After all, you’ll be well on your way to building a healthy, wealthy life for the two of you and your family. Will he really mind once he sees it all coming true?

They say that the conscious mind goes to sleep but the subconscious mind never rests. My subconscious mind is reaffirming my life and my goals all through the night. And, just like I say in my positive affirmation tape, I wake up each morning feeling refreshed and ready to conquer a new day.

Are you ready to reaffirm your life and your goals? Remember – You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.

Jill Henry is a very busy mom and is interested in way too many things. Full-time college student, freelance writer, president of a writers' group, and she wonders if she needs a 12-step program to deal with her affection for running homebased businesses. She is the first Affordable Luxuries consultant in Missouri, building a team of consultants across the U.S. She runs a lawn greetings rental service and will soon debut an ebook on how to start your own lawn greetings business. Her first ebook, "Gifts From the Heart of the Home: Edible Gifts For All Occasions," spent 4 weeks as the #1 best-seller at Booklocker.com following its debut.. And she is a director for WAHMfest, putting the finishing touches on a WAHMfest event to be held in April. She can be emailed at jsh131s@smsu.edu


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