Once a year before January 1st (sometimes more often, if you’re a perfectionist like me) you probably sit down and make a list of things you want to be different for next year. Maybe it’s not a list—maybe it’s just one item that you’re hoping can be upgraded in your life: your New Year’s Resolution.
Maybe it’s your relationship, or maybe it’s mindfulness and gratitude.
Perhaps it’s your weight or fitness level.
Whatever it is, you set a goal, and, come the new year, you start to work. But US News tell us that around 80% of people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolution by the second week in February Forbes has some different statistics, but apparently, only 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually succeed in meeting their goal!
Those aren’t great odds. My hypothesis would be that people fail, not because they don’t want it enough, but because they lack the planning and the mindset to see it through to the end.
In other words, life gets in the way and we revert back to our default habits.
Planning and building new habits for your New Year’s Resolution is step two, so if you’re ready for that, click here. If not, let’s get going on your mindset and start your New Year’s Resolution affirmations!
I’m someone who believes in the power of energy—that the energy and intentions that we send out into the universe reflect what we receive in life. The great news is that if you’re not a new agey hippie like me, science is still on our side!
Watch this fascinating TedX talk by Dr. Joe Dispenza. He explains that the human brain is capable of metacognition… the fact that we humans are aware of our own awareness. The truth is that when we become aware of our thoughts, we can change them!
Becoming aware of our own thoughts is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, it’s pretty simple! One way to make it abundantly easy is to start an affirmation practice with New Year’s Resolution affirmations!
What is an affirmation and what do I do with it?
Affirmations are statements that you declare to be true in order to give you emotional support and stability. If you’re a regular on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen plenty of them.
I express my thoughts and opinions with confidence.
I am unlimited in my ability to attract money and abundance into my life.
My body is healthy and strong. I feel powerful and energetic.
Affirmations work best when you are exposed to them daily. Personally, I started working with affirmations when I was 13 weeks pregnant and my first trimester had left me exhausted, sick, and angry at everything. I started writing a page of affirmations every day in my journal. Sometimes I wrote different ones depending on how I was feeling, but I focused on affirmations that made me feel energetic, positive, calm, and productive.
Not only did I see a change in my own attitude and what I was able to accomplish during the day, but I also started to see good things happening around me. People seemed more respectful and calm toward me as well.
Basically, affirmations aren’t magic, they’re mindset!
Creating these New Year’s Resolution affirmations help bring that awareness to an issue (or issues) so that your brain is constantly referring back to it, and you’re literally forming new pathways in the brain. This helps with building new habits, which in turn help you be more likely to accomplish your New Year’s Resolution!
The most important thing is that you choose something that you will be able to do EVERY DAY. This is important. Because once we are no longer exposed to those messages, they no longer build those synapses and you begin to fall back into older habits!
So let’s get started!
Set Your Own New Year’s Resolution Affirmations!
Let’s pretend that you’re looking to lose weight. Hopefully you have a very specific goal or weight in mind that you would like to achieve. (Make it realistic—if you haven’t been that weight since you were 12 years old, it’s probably not going to happen.) The more specific the goal, the easier it will be to know when you have achieved it.
So let’s say you want to weight 130 pounds (I’m assuming you’re a female at about 5’4” like me.)
Before getting into the nitty gritty of going to the gym 5 times a week and watching food intake, let’s look at your mindset!
Affirmations work best when they meet the 3 following criteria:
1.) They are PRESENT tense.
It is important to focus on how you’re going to feel once you have achieved your goal—NOT how you feel right now.
“I am working toward my goal of 130 pounds” is in future tense.
“Every day gets me closer to my goal of 130 pounds” is better, but still not best.
Some good, present tense affirmations might be:
I feel strong and powerful.
I am slim and sassy at 130 pounds.
These will help you get into the mindset of the future you that you are creating! You’ll start to feel stronger and more powerful and slim and sassy before you know it! (Even before you are weighing 130 pounds!)
2.) They are POWERFUL:
“I feel good about myself” is an affirmation that just doesn’t cut it on the power scale. Try instead:
“I am a woman who exudes confidence and feels radiant in her own skin!”
“I am a fitness badass!”
You’ll notice that in the 2nd example, I used more specific adjectives and strong verbs. “Radiant” is better than “great” or “good”. The 3rd example uses strong language. Cussing can actually be therapeutic, so don’t think you need to be pure when writing these!
3.) They are POSITIVE:
“I have lost 30 pounds” is an ineffective affirmation because it focuses on the word “lost”.
“I feel energetic and light at 130 pounds!” is much better. The focus is now on “energetic” and “light”. Again, this example is specific, it is in present tense, and it focuses on the positive!
There are better examples in other primary goals: “I no longer accept toxic people in my life.” The words “No” and “Toxic” stand out. Flip it so that it has no negatives or negative words: “I only accept warm and generous people into my life.”
You can find great affirmations online—just make sure they fit these criteria. (Not all do.) It’s even better to make your own because they will be more specific to YOUR life and your goal. Either way, make sure they resonate with you at the highest level.
You don’t have to fill an entire journal page with your New Year’s Resolution affirmations… 2-3 is great, and 4-6 is even better! I do recommend doing more than one, and that is because you want to get a more complete picture of how you or your life will look and especially how you will FEEL once you’ve achieved this goal!
The Tough Part: Practice
Setting your affirmations is a fairly straightforward process, but what comes next is a little more tedious. You need to ACTIVELY focus on your New Year’s Resolutions affirmations every day. If you set them and forget them, your affirmations will do nothing for you. Even if you print them out and look at them every day, that’s still very passive.
Here are 3 easy ways to actively practice your affirmations every day to really engrain them in your brain.
1.) Write them out.
As much as my life as a teacher focuses on talking and singing, I really feel my most meaningful and thoughtful work is done when I am writing. So I bought a journal at Target and got to work. Every morning I wrote the date at the top and then filled my paper with my feel-good affirmations.
The recommendation to students today is that they take class notes by hand, and this exercise is no different! Learning and retention is enhanced when writing things out by hand. So don’t think you can just open a word document and type the same 5 sentences every day to get an impact!
Keep track of your daily affirmations practice on a calendar or in a planner. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day—that defeats the purpose. Affirmations should help you be your best self, not tear you down.
2.) Say them aloud.
Pick one time of day, preferably in the morning when your brain is fresh and say each affirmation aloud, with meaning and determination. Perhaps as you are blowing your hair dry or doing your make-up. (Bonus points if you can look at yourself in the mirror and pump yourself up while you recite your affirmations!)
If you don’t think you can memorize them to recite them every day, then print them out and tape them to your mirror! If you’re the kind of person who wants to focus on one affirmation at a time, then repeat that affirmation as many times a day as it pops into your mind!
3.) Meditate or Practice Self-Hypnosis
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I went through a self-hypnosis program called Blissborn. Kind of similar to the Hypno-birthing program which is a lot more popular, it really helped me get into the mind-frame of what labor would be like as a first time mom. I set intentions and affirmations for what I wanted my son’s birth to look like and would put myself into hypnosis 4-5 times a week, reciting those affirmations in my mind clearly. Even though I did not get the birth experience I wanted (very few moms do!) I am convinced that the affirmations that I set helped my body to relax during labor. I had a short pushing time for first moms, and a VERY short recovery time!
Self-hypnosis can work wonders because not only are you focused on your affirmations, but you are CLEARING AWAY everything else! During self-hypnosis, you have wiped the slate clean and you are putting intention on only things that you want to focus on.
This is probably the most difficult of the 3 ways to practice your intentions daily, but it can also be the most helpful if you do it right.
That’s it! Use those New Year’s Resolution affirmations to keep your focus on your goals and you’re halfway there! Now you just need to plan!