“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” Robert Allen Coauthor, The One Minute Millionaire
Have you ever been driving your car and suddenly realized you had left the emergency brake on? Did you push down harder on the gas to overcome the drag of the brake? No, of course not. You simply released the brake…and with no extra effort you started to go faster. Most people drive through life with their psychological emergency brake on. They hold on to negative images about themselves or suffer the effects of powerful experiences they haven’t yet released. They stay in a comfort zone entirely of their own making. They maintain inaccurate beliefs about reality or harbor guilt and self-doubt. And when they try to achieve their goals, these negative images and preset comfort zones always cancel out their good intentions—no matter how hard they try. Successful people, on the other hand, have discovered that instead of using increased will power as the engine to power their success, it’s simply easier to “release the brakes” by letting go of their limiting beliefs and replacing them and changing their self-images.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Think of your comfort zone as a prison you live in—a largely self-created prison. It consists of the collection of “can, can’t, must, and must not”, and other unfounded beliefs formed from all the negative thoughts and decisions you have accumulated and reinforced during your lifetime. Perhaps you’ve even been trained to limit yourself.
Too often, we get stuck in an endless loop of emphasizing behavior, which keeps us stuck in a constant downward spiral. Our limiting thoughts create images in our mind, and those images govern our behavior, which in turn reinforces that limiting thought. We can control this behavior by creating positive and effective affirmations.
The Nine Guidelines for Creating Effective Affirmations
To be effective, your affirmations should be constructed using the following nine guidelines:
1. Start with the words “I am”. The words I am are the two most powerful words in the language. The subconscious takes any sentence that starts with the words I am and interprets it as a command—a directive to make it happen.
2. Use the present tense. Describe what you want as though you already have it, as though it is already accomplished. Wrong: I am going to get a new Audi A6. Right: I am enjoying driving my new Audi A6.
3. State it in the positive. Affirm what you want, not what you don’t want. State your affirmations in the positive. The unconscious does not hear the word no. This means that the statement “Don’t slam the door” is heard as “Slam the door.” The subconscious mind thinks in pictures, and the words “Don’t slam the door” evoke a picture of slamming the door. The phrase “I am no longer afraid of flying” brings out an image of being afraid of flying, while the phrase “I am enjoying the thrill of flying” evokes an image of enjoyment. Wrong: I am no longer afraid of flying. Right: I am enjoying the thrill of flying.
4. Keep it brief. Think of your affirmation as an advertising jingle. Act as if each word costs $1,000. It needs to be short and memorable enough to be easily remembered.
5. Make it specific. Vague affirmations produce vague results. Wrong: I am driving my new red car. Right: I am driving my new red Audi A5.
6. Include an action word ending with -ing. The active verb adds power to the effect by evoking an image of doing it right now. Wrong: I express myself openly and honestly. Right: I am confidently expressing myself openly and honestly.
7. Include at least one dynamic emotion or feeling word. Include the emotional state you would be feeling if you had already achieved the goal. Some commonly used words are enjoying, joyfully, happily, celebrating, proudly, calmly, peacefully, delighted, enthusiastic, lovingly, secure, serenely, and triumphant. Wrong: I am maintaining my perfect body weight of 178 pounds. Right: I am feeling agile and great at 178!
8. Make affirmations for yourself, not others. When you are constructing your affirmations, make them describe your behavior, not the behavior of others. Wrong: I am watching John clean up his room. Right: I am effectively communicating my needs and desires to John.
9. Add or something better. When you are affirming about getting a specific situation (job, opportunity, vacation), material object (house, car, boat), or relationship (husband, wife, child), always add the words “or something (someone) better.” Sometimes our criteria for what we want to come from our ego or from our limited experience. Sometimes there is someone or something better that is available for us, so let your affirmations include this phrase when it is appropriate.
A Simple Way to Create Affirmations
1. Visualize what you would like to create. See things just as you would like them to be. Place yourself inside the picture and see things through your eyes. If you want a car, see the world from inside the car as you are driving it.
2. Hear the sounds you would be hearing if you had already achieved your vision.
3. Feel the feeling you want to feel when you have created what you want.
4. Describe what you are experiencing in a brief statement, including what you are feeling.
5. If necessary, edit your affirmation to make it meet all of the above guidelines.
You are Capable
The Magic of Effective Affirmations to Achieve Your Higher Self
One of the most limiting beliefs apparent today is the notion that somehow we are not capable of accomplishing our goals. Despite the best educational materials available, and decades of recorded knowledge about how to accomplish any task, we somehow choose to say, I can’t do that. I don’t know how. There’s no one to show me. I’m not smart enough and so on. Where does this come from? For most of us, it’s a matter of early childhood programming.
We take this sense of inability into adulthood, and then it gets solid through workplace mistakes and other “failures.” But what if you decided to say instead, I can do this. I am capable of it. Other people have accomplished this. If I don’t have the knowledge, there’s someone out there who can teach me.
You make the shift to competence and mastery. The shift in thinking can mean the difference between a lifetime of “could haves” versus accomplishing what you really want in life. Never stop dreaming.
Read more: Make Your Passion a Profession