We cannot always control our thoughts,

but we can control our words,

and repetition impresses the subconscious,

and we are then master of the situation.

Florence Scovel Shinn

As you press on through life, you are continually affirming and reaffirming your own thoughts and beliefs. Throughout each day, you consciously and unconsciously tell yourself things based on your own belief system. The problem is that for much of this time, you may actually be repeating and reaffirming negative thoughts, rather than positive ones. This is not good. After all, if your affirmations are negative, how do you expect to have positive outcomes!

Think about it for a moment. How many times in a single day do you tell yourself how stupid you are for forgetting something or how fat you are when your favorite clothes feel a bit snug?

Negative thinking serves to reinforce an internal belief that you will never be able to change by yourself, and that you are destined to continue repeating your self-destructive behaviors over and over again. When you reaffirm your negative thoughts, you enter into a vicious cycle that leads to even more negative thinking. Imagine how much different your life would feel if you began using affirmations to reinforce the positive instead!

Affirmations can work wonders if you use them properly. By making a few simple adjustments in the way you phrase your internal dialog, you can begin using this powerful technique to change your thinking and change your very life. Your subconscious mind accepts things on a very literal basis. So for affirmations to work effectively, you need to follow a simple plan.

1. Make it now. Your subconscious mind needs to know you are actually doing something right now, not in a future moment. Let’s use smoking as an example. If you say an affirmation like, “I will quit smoking,” your subconscious does not know what you mean by “I will.” It has no sense of planning for the future. Saying something more like, ”I am free from the desire to smoke” is an effective positive affirmation, and will begin to reprogram your subconscious mind into thinking of you as a non-smoker, even before you put down your smokes.

2. Make it personal. An affirmation must be personal for your subconscious mind to get it. Saying stuff like, “You need to eat healthier” will not help you change your diet. When your subconscious hears the word “you,” it doesn’t interpret it as a statement directed at itself. Instead, try phrasing your affirmation in the first person. Stick to “I” in your affirmations and you will begin to notice a strong positive effect on your behaviors. ”I enjoy eating healthy foods” is a positive, first person affirmation that will help you begin making better choices when you reach for a meal or snack.

3. Make it literal. Your subconscious mind is very literal in its ability to interpret. It cannot process the concept of “not.” The statement, “I am not going to lie on the couch watching TV when I should be exercising” won’t do anything other than reaffirm how you should lay on the couch in front of the television. Form your intentions in a positive way, even if you haven’t made the behavioral change yet. ”I enjoy exercising in my spare time” is more likely to get you motivated to get up and head over to the gym, instead of reaching for the remote control and a bag of your favorite chips.

Positive, personal, and present tense affirmations are extremely powerful in changing how your subconscious affects your behavior. Make every effort to stop reinforcing your old, negative, stinking thinking that keeps you stuck in a rut. Try using these three simple techniques today to create affirmations that can change your subconscious programming, your actions, and your life for the better.

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