Monday, August 25, 2008

Affirmations, Part 1

There's a big difference between goals and affirmations. In my experience, they work best in harness, but many people don't know the difference between the two or are using only one.

Goals represent your destination and your milestones.
  • By January 1, 2009, I will weigh 151 lbs.

  • By September I'll be sitting in the corner office as the new VP of Portland Operations.

  • I'll own a new Lexus by my next birthday.
Supercharged goals have SMART qualities: Specific, Measurable, Actions I can take, Realistic, and Time-based.

"I walk every day" has action, but little else. Unless you are in a wheelchair, you probably walk every day, on errands, around the house, office, or school. What kind of walking (duration, speed, frequency) will help me achieve my goals? Which is easier to measure: "I walk every day" or "At 9:00 AM every morning, I leave the house and walk for 20 minutes."

Specific, measurable action.

Goals help you celebrate every movement forward, no matter how big or small your goal may be. They also reveal opportunities to become even more successful.

Affirmations are completely different. Affirmations keep you enthused, encouraged, and inspired about your journey. They give you a sense of hope, power, optimism, and satisfaction. They keep you motivated. Affirmations are the gas in your car; goals are the mileposts.

There are a lot of articles about how to write powerful affirmations. I disagree with some of them. I think affirmations have several characteristics:
  • An affirmation is 100% believable.

  • An affirmation is true at any moment.

  • An affirmation contains a vision of the goal. It reminds you where you're going, or why.

  • An affirmation reinforces the beliefs you want to have.
  • An affirmation leads you into a new space. It inspires (or creates) growth and movement.

  • An affirmation counteracts or neutralizes negative self-talk.

  • An affirmation empowers me as the person in control of my life and my results.
I'll take these one at a time in future postings.

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