The New Wave of Positive Affirmations

With Super Bowl 49 airing this weekend, you should know that you’re just like professional athletes.

Okay, maybe not entirely. You probably won’t be this weekend’s MVP or perform a miracle on ice, but we all have at least one thing in common: our behaviors are motivated by our thoughts and beliefs. Our beliefs have such an impact on our performance that there are people and businesses ready to sell you tips and locker room speeches!

Affirmations and are short, simple, easy to implement, and don’t cost a thing. Past research shows that using affirmations can infuse hope and goals into our daily lives, enhance our performance, and help us correct our mistakes. New research, however, suggests that there is a more effective way to motivate yourself: Interrogative Self-Talk. This method uses a Q&A technique that you can play out in your mind, on paper, or with someone you trust.

Take a few moments to follow these steps and practice the technique for yourself:

  1. Make a list including goals and negative things you say to yourself:
    • I want to quit smoking.
    • I want to better manage my time.
    • I’ll never be good enough.
    • I’m dumb.
    • I’m fat.
  2. Using the Interrogative Self-Talk method, consider some questions to start a conversation in your mind:
    • Have I been able to resist a cigarette in the past? What might happen if I chose that today? How would my life be different if I quit smoking?
    • When have I most successfully managed my time in the past? Is there someone who can help me with this? Where might I see results first?
    • When do I feel most confident? Who can I ask to help me? What if I simply haven’t tapped into my full potential yet?
    • Have I used my mind to solve a problem in the past? How have I helped myself or others around me? Do I really need to be good at everything?
    • Is this about weight or health? How has defining myself by my weight interfered with my happiness? Are there healthy choices I could make today?
  3. Bonus: You can also create a personal mission statement to set new goals and remind yourself of the person you’d like to become. FranklinCovey offers this free mission statement builder for individuals, families, and teams. A statement like this can be broken down into individual affirmations or offer answers for some of your interrogative questions.

Now that you’ve got some new self-talk, incorporate the questions and answers into your life each day. You can start by reciting them aloud, meditating on them quietly, or sharing them with someone you trust. I have had clients write out some of their ideas and strategically place them around their homes and work spaces. Here are some of their most creative places:

  • In wallets/purses
  • On a car visor
  • A sticky note on the television
  • On (and in!) the refrigerator
  • On the coffee maker
  • In the shower (remember to laminate them first!)

The next time you find yourself in need of a pep talk, consider the Interrogative Self-Talk method. And please remember that counseling can be a wonderful, safe place to practice and process!

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