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New Year Affirmations, Not Resolutions

I have found writing affirmations much more powerful than making New Year's resolutions. One of my first coaches taught me the value of writing affirmations and, since the year is just beginning, I wanted to share his insight as my New Year's gift to you.

I will never forget the first meeting I had with my first coach, Dr. John Bullaro. I am still grateful to him for all the gifts of learning and the psychological support he gave me. I had hired John not just because he was smart and a complete straight-shooter, although those were required criteria, but because his multi-faceted experience in business had already provided me great advice as I built my small companies.

On the first day of our coaching work together, John asked me if I wrote affirmations. I looked at him, eyes wide, and asked "What in the world are affirmations?!" Here is how John taught me to write affirmations - and I have been doing it ever since!

  1. First of all, he said, make a list. Then, separate the list into your life categories; mine are business, family, health, and spirituality.

  2. Start with one category at a time and visualize your ideal scenario. One year from now, what does this part of your life look like?

  3. Now, write the description for that part of your life as if you have already achieved it. For example:
    • Business/Career: My business has just broken the 5M barrier, and I took my first bonus check of $100k. (Or if you work for a company: I have finally been recognized for my contributions by a promotion to - your next title up - and a 25% increase in my salary.) I am setting daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals, and I am disciplined in focusing my time and energy on those goals. I am meeting unexpected challenges with healthy, fair and unemotional solutions. I am expanding my network and taking the time to build quality relationships with my business partners.
    • Family: I am reserving quality time to spend with my family. I am not answering phones or thinking about anything else but being fully present when I am with them.
    • Health: I am doing a combination of yoga and cardio exercise at least 5 days per week, and I am making healthy food choices. My relationships and social life are balanced and satisfying. (Some people would put this sentence into the family section, but I consider this an aspect of health).
    • Spirituality: I am extending kindness and support to everyone who crosses my path. I am committed to developing a higher, more conscious self.

    These are my examples. You may have as many categories with as many details as you wish; they are your affirmations. The more specific you are in writing your affirmations, the more effective they are.

  4. Once you have completed writing your affirmations, it is important to read them every morning and every night before you go to sleep, visualizing each aspect of your life as you read. Incorporate these visualizations into your conscious and unconscious self.
John finished his lesson with a warning: "Be careful what you write, since every affirmation I have written has come true." I thought this was just "coach-speak," telling me what I needed to hear to encourage me to write my own affirmations. But here is one of many examples of where writing affirmations paid off for me big time!

In March of 1998, I saw an Oprah show where one of her guests, a successful writer, shared that she found living with beautiful views contributed to her creativity. At the time, I was living in a dark, ugly house in Santa Clara in the Silicon Valley; it was all I could afford. My son, Dan, encouraged me to visualize living in a house with views. So I wrote affirmations that went something like this: "I am living in a house surrounded by views. The views are inspiring me to write, and being surrounded by nature is inspiring my spirituality. I have a lot of land where my dogs can run freely without leashes."

By June of 1998 - less than three months - I had sold my house in Santa Clara and bought a 5-acre ranch with an octagon-shaped house with glorious views of mountains and trees on the central coast of California. I have written more in the 5 years I have lived here than in any previous time in my life. I even bought the ranch for less than I sold the ugly dark house in Santa Clara!

New Year's resolutions are often forgotten within weeks. Written affirmations and their accompanying visualizations can be so much more powerful. I encourage you to take some time and write affirmations for yourself today. Visualize your dream life as if you are already living it. Stay committed to visualizing the description of this life every morning and every night before you go to sleep.

What are your experiences with affirmations or resolutions? What techniques have helped you move forward more successfully? Please share them with us on the discussion board.

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