The Importance of Affirmations

Most people have heard of affirmations before. They may have even heard that affirmations are the foundation for many self-improvement techniques. Yet, despite of this, very few people actually use affirmations. Are you one of them?

Affirmations are important, but often overlooked when people set out on a new path of self-improvement. This is quite a shame because affirmations can have a transformative effect on your life and your goals. Without the proper use of affirmations, you may find yourself going around in circles in your progress.

Affirmations are defined as positive declarations, statements, or judgments. When you state an affirmation, you declare that statement as being true. Affirmations work best when they are used on a consistent basis, preferably daily. It is also suggested that you phrase your affirmations in the present tense and use positive words. Affirmations that use the words "don’t" and other negative terms are counterproductive. So instead of affirming "I don’t want these bills" you would affirm "I have plenty of money for all of my needs."

Many people resist using affirmations because they can’t understand how repeating phrases again and again will change their lives. If you fit into this category, you may not understand how the process of affirmations works.

Affirmations are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to self-improvement. When you set out to make big changes in the course of your life, whether it is financial, physical, emotional or spiritual, you set goals for yourself. These goals are results that you’d like to see take place in your life. You may want a better career, a fulfilling relationship, more money in the bank or a closer spiritual connection. These are all results that you can achieveÖbut you have to remember that they are just results.

Results can’t come without the rest of the process. The results you are experiencing in your life right now stem from your previous thoughts, feelings and actions. So in order to change your results, you need to change your thoughts, feelings and actions. The first key in the process is changing your thoughts (which leads to changes in your feelings and actions). The best way to transform your thoughts is to use affirmations.

Your "internal monologue" has a profound impact upon your life. Your thoughts frame the way you experience events and relationships around you. If you are a pessimistic person and are consistently looking for the worst in everything and everyone, your feelings and actions will follow in that same line.

Self-improvement, of any type, requires that you change the way that you are thinking. Your negative thoughts didn’t come out of the blue. You are just acting out of habit as a result from repeating negative thought patterns again and again. Affirmations, and their repeated use, will help to break your negative thinking habit.

When you use affirmations consistently, your thoughts, moods and actions will begin to change. If you think of achieving self-improvement success as someone trying to hit a target with an arrow, then affirmations are the targeting part of that process. If the archer doesn’t take the time to line up the arrow and the bow correctly, his or her shot will miss. Affirmations help you target your feelings and actions so you can get the results that you want.

Applying the Power of Visualization for Success

Have you ever wanted something so badly, yet for some reason, you’ve been unable to get it? It happens to a lot of us. Sometimes it seems that no matter how much we plan, work and strive, our goals never come to fruition.

Setting goals and trying to achieve them is not enough. Writing down your goals is not enough. Planning out your action steps is not enough. If these things were enough to get you what you want, you would no doubt have it by now.

The good news is there is a simple key to changing your dreams from wishes into realities. Most people miss out on this key, and this is why they never achieve their goals.

The missing key is visualization. Visualization is a powerful tool for success, and it’s a resource that each and every person has. You don’t need any special training to use it, and the results can really astound you. Once you apply the power of visualization to your goals, you’ll begin to see success like you’ve never dreamt of before.
Visualization is a technique of using your conscious mind to imprint your subconscious mind with your desire. You see, your mind works on two different, yet totally intertwined, levels. Visualization helps you align both parts of your mind for greater success.

Your conscious mind is the logical, thinking mind that you use every day. You have direct control over your conscious mind. You can mold your thoughts, which influences your feelings, actions and eventual results.

This is where most people focus their attention when trying to achieve a goal. They focus on the conscious parts of the mind. They plan, they think positive…and ultimately, they fail.

Focusing your attention only on your conscious mind is like trying to run a footrace with only one leg. You aren’t going to get anywhere at all. Your subconscious mind needs to be used as well.

Your subconscious mind is the storehouse of your emotions, experiences and beliefs from your past. This part of your mind is the “feeling” part of your mind and it influences your behavior and thoughts in hidden ways. Although your thoughts have control over your emotions, actions and results, your “programming” from your subconscious mind is where the process really begins.

Visualization helps you tap into the power of your subconscious mind. It helps you use both “legs” in your race to your goal. And when you have both parts of your mind working together, you’ll achieve success much more easily.

When you use visualization to achieve your goals, you’ll be among great company. The technique has been used for centuries by leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, business moguls like Andrew Carnegie and even sports stars like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretsky.

Why it works

As mentioned before, the subconscious mind works on unseen levels. Have you ever heard the phrase “everything starts in the mind”? The mind that is referred to is the subconscious mind. Your subconscious collects information from your daily experiences. It collects messages you hear, situations you experience and feelings you have. It holds onto these pieces of information and forms the basis of your deepest beliefs.

Whatever your subconscious holds as true is what you see manifested in your life. Remember, your subconscious programming is the first step in the chain of events that leads to your results. If you want to take a good look at what your subconscious believes, look at your life around you. Everything you are experiencing is a direct result of your programming.

If you can control what goes into your subconscious mind and reprogram yourself for success, then you can achieve your desires. Visualization is a powerful tool for reprogramming.

Your subconscious mind primarily responds to the feelings that are evoked by experiences. The key difference, however, between the conscious and subconscious parts of your mind is that the conscious mind responds to reality, daydreams and memory in completely separate ways. On the other hand, your subconscious mind responds to those three things as the same thing.

The subconscious mind has the same emotional response to a memory of an event as it does to the event when it takes place in real time. The more you think about a particular event or circumstance (and evoke the feelings associated with that event) the more you program your subconscious mind.

When you use creative visualization to picture your goal coming to fruition, you are relying on this property of the subconscious mind. As you visualize and feel the emotions of your goal coming into fruition, you are programming your subconscious.

This re-programming of your subconscious mind will help you gather the resources, people and events to yourself to make your goals a reality. You’ll have your subconscious mind as an ally in your path to success, rather than your past programming tripping you up.

Keeping the right attitude when visualizing

In just a moment, we’ll get to some powerful visualization exercises that will help you manifest your goals. However, first you need to understand the importance of mental attitude when you are doing the visualization exercises.

Although your subconscious mind is the basis for your life experiences, your conscious mind has a powerful effect on how you perceive those experiences. Your mental attitude can make or break your efforts to reprogram your subconscious mind.

Remember, you need both “legs” to get to the finish line. If you start these exercises with the attitude of “this is never going to work” your conscious mind is crippling the process. You’ll end up even more frustrated and disappointed.

Positive thinking is important, and it is especially important when you start this process. Get your conscious mind in line with your goals and give the following exercises a shot. Approach them with a positive attitude and an eye toward success, and it will make all of the difference.

Visualization Exercises

The following visualization exercises are effective in reprogramming your subconscious mind for success. When you do these exercises consistently, you’ll begin to see changes in your life. You’ll be using both your conscious and subconscious minds together in order to manifest your goals.

The key factor in using visualization properly is to have a clear list of goals before you begin. Your goals can be focused on one portion of your life (like relationships, health or wealth), or they can be widespread. Sometimes people find it more useful to focus on one area of their lives to change. However, others like to take a widespread approach to their manifestation efforts.

No matter what you decide, you need to write down your goals in specific terms before you begin. The more specific you are, the better. For example, instead of simply wanting a new car, pick the type of car that you want: the make, the model, the color, etc. Be just as specific with other things in your life. Choose the type of relationship you’d like to have. Change your “I want to be rich” wish to a specific dollar amount.

Why the need for specificity? Visualization works when you immerse yourself in the “daydream” of your future life. Remember that the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a memory, a real time event, or a fantasy. It responds emotionally to each in the same exact way. Need an example? Think about a sad memory from your past. Even though time has passed, you’ll no doubt feel powerful emotions associated with that event.

Take a few moments and write down a list of specific goals, dreams and wishes for your life. You can focus on one area, or take a few hours and target for widespread change. Write down exactly how you want your career to develop, or how you want your family to life to operate. Write down how much you’d like to weigh, or how much you want to make. Write down the specifics of your dream home or the dimensions for your fantasy yacht. Get everything on paper before you begin, and your visualization efforts will be much easier.

The Visualization Meditation

The simplest way to start using the power of visualization to manifest success is to practice daily visualization meditation. You can start with just a few minutes a day and then work up to longer periods of time.

Start your meditation session by picking an event, circumstance or experience from your list of goals. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes and are in a place where you can relax for ten to fifteen minutes. Turn off the television, unplug the phone and just relax.

Begin by closing your eyes and clearing your mind of all of the worries from your day. This is your time to focus on the future and to visualize your success. Start by thinking of your goal and then begin to visualize it. Immerse yourself in the experiencing of attaining that goal. See yourself sitting on the deck of that yacht, or receiving those checks in the mail. Picture your family having a peaceful and fun-filled evening together. See yourself meeting the man or woman of your dreams and sharing a happy life together.

Think of the process this way: instead of visualizing in your mind’s eye, you are going to be “living” in your mind’s eye. Immerse yourself in the experience totally. Imagery is the language of your subconscious mind, and you when you use the visualization meditation you are speaking directly to the part of your brain that you need to reprogram.

Make the mental image as specific as possible. Flesh out all of the details of your experience. What is the weather like? What are you doing? Most importantly, feel the feelings that you associate with attaining your goal. Get excited, feel your heart race and feel the enthusiasm you have for life. The emotional response to the process is very important, so get your feelings involved.

During the meditation, if you have any negative thoughts or feelings about your goal, do your best to ignore them for the time being. Don’t worry about how you are going to afford the new car or the new house. Don’t bother with the details at this point. Your only job is to visualize your success completely and reprogram your subconscious mind.

Some people find it helpful to do their visualization meditation right before bed. The subconscious mind doesn’t sleep, and if you program images into it before you go to bed, it will work on the “problem” for the rest of the night. Remember, your subconscious mind works in unseen ways to help manifest your beliefs and desires. Doing this exercise at night before bed will give your subconscious more time to bring your goal into reality.

The Visualization Board

Sometimes people respond better to visual images rather than images that are created in their own minds. If you are one of these people, using a visualization board may be the right method for you.

Visualization boards are helpful tools for surrounding yourself with the images of the life that you want to leave. Creating one is simple to do, and you can edit your board as you achieve your goals, or as your goals change.

Start with the list of goals that you created earlier. The next step is to find images that correlate with those goals. This can be done over several days, and you can continue to collect images after your board is “done.” Gather together some magazines, images from your computer, pictures of you on vacation and sort through them. You can use images and words together to define your goals. Make sure to include your own picture on the board as well. See yourself among the things, circumstances and people that you desire to be around.

Collect your images and words over the course of a day, or a few days, and then let your pile sit for a while. Return to it after a day or two, and then sort through your pile again. Pay close attention to your emotional response to each image or phrase. Only select the images and phrases that you feel excited and passionate about. You want to get an emotional charge out of looking at your visualization board, so choose your images wisely.

After you’ve collected the appropriate images, it’s time for a little art project. Pull out your glue stick or your thumbtacks and post your images, words and phrases all over a piece of poster board or on a bulletin board. Make sure it’s big enough that you’ll notice it each day.

You can arrange your images in categories based on the part of your life that they’ll affect. You can have a relationships section, a money section, a health section, etc. Group like pictures together so you can create an overall image of that portion of your life.

Each day, take a few moments to look at your visualization board. The repetition on the subconscious level will begin to reprogram your subconscious mind. Over time, you’ll draw unto yourself the people, events and beliefs that you need in order to achieve your goals and the success that you desire.

Remember to stay positive as you look at your board. If you have thoughts of “this will never happen” or “this is silly” your conscious mind will be working against you. Ignore your internal critic and just go with the process. Before you know it, you’ll be bringing your goals and dreams into reality.