A lot of affirmations we might try to tell ourselves seem too unrealistic and glorified to be true and buyable. How can we write expectations that don’t, basically, suck? 

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Over-the-Top Affirmations Fail to Overcome Negative Thoughts

Every day, about 20,000 thoughts go through our heads. Seventy-five percent of those thoughts are just repeated ideas. In addition, a lot of those repeated thoughts are negative, destructive, and don’t help us grow. 

“If we’re going to make progress, maybe we need to examine some of these things and rewrite the negative things to be more helpful and more true.”

Our actions are usually the result of either a thought, an emotion, or something that has become a habit for us. So, if our thoughts aren’t propelling us in the direction we want to go in order to grow, then our actions aren’t likely to follow. That’s why writing down affirmations—when done right—is so important.

Imagine the shape of a “U.” On one side of the U are all the negative thoughts that we repeatedly tell ourselves throughout the day. These are the thoughts that hinder us, and an example could include telling yourself that you will never be able to be on top financially. On the opposite side of the U, you have the unrealistic affirmations that may sound good and inspiring during a high moment, but when the low, discouraging times and moments come, they’re basically impossible to believe or buy into. 

What’s the solution? Try to focus on putting your thoughts in the middle of the U shape. Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts or trying to buy into fantasized affirmations that might not be true or believable, find the balance. Write down affirmations that are encouraging and you know to be true; those are the two rules.

Using Realistic Affirmations to Retrain Your Brain

Write down affirmations surrounding the areas you struggle in—the areas we often get stuck. It can be difficult at first, because you must retrain your mind and redirect the negative thoughts to remind yourself of what is true.  

Celebrate your victories and progress, and appreciate them with joy and gratitude. Start your day or week by repeating the affirmations you’ve written down, and take a moment to celebrate how far you’ve come. Once you’ve mastered one, start working on the next one.

Everyone struggles, but if we train ourselves to reframe the way we think from destructive to constructive thoughts, we will grow and become even closer to the goals we’ve set.

Here’s a breakdown of the episode:

[00:30] Often, affirmations seem too unrealistic to be believable. However, good affirmations are important. Tons of thoughts run through our head everyday, most of which are repeated thoughts, and repeated negative thoughts won’t help us grow. 

[03:14] Think about affirmations as a “U” shape. On one side are negative thoughts that drag us down, and on the other side are the hyperinflated ones that aren’t realistic. The trick is to write balanced affirmations in the middle of the U.

[06:38] Write your affirmations around the areas you struggle or get stuck. It’s not an easy process—you must undo the negative thoughts and train your mind to believe and focus on the affirmations that are true. 

[08:17] Jillian has a list of about 20 affirmations that are true to her. You can say your affirmations routinely or as you need; it’s all about the process of replacing the negative thought with the truth, and that takes time, practice, and repetition. 

[09:46] It’s especially important to celebrate your victories. Doing so reinforces the truth of the affirmations you tell yourself, and it gives you the courage and motivation to continue and try harder.