Several years ago, I had a mentor who recommended I start using affirmations. She suggested that I could radically change my outlook on life by thinking different thoughts.
Up to that point, I hadn’t really heard about affirmations or mantras, so I was skeptical. My logical mind just couldn’t quite connect saying some words and having a life transformation. But I was willing to try it out. You see, I was unhappy. I wanted something different. I felt stuck and unsure of how to go about getting it. So, I said I’d test them out.
I began to see that as I used affirmations, my life was changing. At first the changes were subtle, but they were there. Gradually, over time I found myself changing in ways that I had never expected, but more importantly, I found myself full of confidence, hope and joy! I found the confidence to quit my 6-figure 9-5 and jump into being an entrepreneur. I found myself knowing that I could create whatever I wanted for my life and that filled me with hope. And a big one here……I found that I was no longer a “half empty” girl. I truly started to see the good in everything. That led to so much more happiness! Did using affirmations do all that? I believe so.
Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at affirmations from a logical perspective.
The dictionary defines affirmation in this way:
- The action or process of affirming something or being affirmed
- Emotional support or encouragement
Let’s take it a step further. What does affirm mean? It means to state as a fact: assert strongly and publicly.
That helps. We are stating something strongly and publicly. This statement provides emotional support and encouragement.
That sounds a little basic, but sometimes I find it helps to go back to the definition of the word and look at things without all the “woo” and noise that is out there.
Why do we even need something like affirmations? I want you to consider the statement, “you are what you think”. Let’s take that a step further and think about our bank balance. Is our money a reflection of what we think? Are we creating the amount of money we have with our thoughts?
How is it that our thoughts can shape our lives? Is it some unseen power out there that hijacks our thoughts and then creates our life? No, it isn’t. It is something unseen though. It is our subconscious. You see, the subconscious can’t identify fact from fiction. If it is fed a diet of fiction, it believes that fiction. It takes things as they are literally expressed and does not filter out other meanings for the words. The fun thing about the subconscious is that it wants to protect us. So, if it believes a fiction, then it is going to do everything in its power to make sure that fiction is true.
It works the same with money. The things we hear start to get programmed into our subconscious. For example, we might be programmed to believe things like: money is scarce, money only comes from hard work, money is evil, or not everyone can have money. Once those things are programmed into our brains, our brain starts to create exactly those things in our own lives.
Let’s look at one of my own “fiction” statements. For many years I believed that spending money on a nice house was wasteful. Where did this come from? I’m not sure, but I do know that my parents had housing that was provided by my dad’s job. And even though they didn’t have rent or a mortgage, they still struggled financially. Then when they divorced, mom chose the least expensive houses that she could find. I think my mind just grabbed onto the fiction that it was “wrong” to spend a significant portion of my income on a home. So, when I purchased my first home, I refused to even consider a home that had everything I wanted. Not because I didn’t have the income for a really nice home (with everything I wanted), but because I thought that I wasn’t the type of person who did that.
I have been able to change that way of thinking and using affirmations has been a big part of that. I had to shift my thoughts from thinking that having a house I truly loved and has all the things that really matter to me was wasteful, to thinking that I deserved to have just that home. I had to stop thinking that I wasn’t the kind of person who spent 30% of my income on my housing to knowing that I’m the kind of person who makes great money decisions and having the home of my dreams is possible for me. Those changes led me to selling my home in WV and moving to FL, renting a house with a pool of my own and being near the ocean. All of which were lifelong dreams.
It’s possible for you too! Here are a few rules of thumb that I use for myself as well as my money mindset clients.
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Discover what you are really thinking. In order to create an affirmation that works for you, you have to figure out exactly what you really think and believe. When it comes to money, we have a lot of influencers. Start thinking about:
- What did you hear your parents and grandparents say about money?
- What do you hear on TV or Social Media?
- What do you say about money to your friends and family?
- What do your friends and family say about money?
- Pick one thing. To create lasting change, we need to be able to put our full attention and focus on that one thing. If we try to pick too many, we most likely won’t succeed. So, when it comes to using affirmations, I recommend picking just one. So, look for that one thing that feels crucial for you and start there.
- Make it feel possible to believe. When writing your affirmation statement, you might be tempted to write something that is way beyond where you are right now. For example, you may have decided that you always think that your checking account is empty. It might be tempting to write something like “I have $1M in my checking account”. Your brain knows that isn’t true and likely is going to remind you of that fact every time you say your affirmation.
Instead, I recommend something that isn’t true, but feels possible right now like: “I have $500 in my checking account at all times”. Doesn’t that feel possible? Or at least far more likely than $1M?
The important thing to remember is that you need to feel positive about the affirmation and believe that it is truly possible for you.
Using affirmations is one of my favorite ways to change how I think. In fact, it is something I teach my clients regularly. Transformation starts in the brain and changing our thoughts can truly change our lives. I’m hosting a free 5-day Money Affirmation Challenge. If you’d like to learn more, you can check it out here.