Affirmations are a very quick tool that can be a total game changer.
Hi I’m Coach Rebecca Smith and in full disclosure, I used to have a major beef with affirmations. I was anti-affirmations. I was like, “That’s stupid. How is that going to help? How is just saying something that isn’t true going to make my life better or build confidence?”
And the reason for this was that I had a lot of automatic negative thinking going on to the point where trying to go full positive was actually too big of a leap for me at the time. So it has taken years for me to ease into the concept of affirmations. And now that I’m bought in, I’m like, “These are so effective.” And I realized I’ve actually been using them all along but I just had this issue.
So for anybody who is that older version of me who thinks affirmations are dumb then I’m going to challenge you to, instead of trying to skyrocket to the future where everything’s amazing, just cruise a little bit into neutral territory.
So if you’re used to saying “This is too hard. I can’t do it. What’s wrong with me? I’m the worst” then what we want to find is “Everything’s okay. Things are fine. I’m doing all right. I’m getting a little better like we want.”
If you get a little spazzed out by the idea of getting super positive, then don’t worry. You’re not alone. Just see if you can aim yourself toward neutral.
Now if you’re already pretty positive as a person and you’re sort of confident and you’re like “I want to go to the next level. I’m going to level up my self-talk. I want to level up my confidence,” then this is a very simple thing that you can do.
Champions are made in the off season, right? And all of you gymnasts just wrapped up your season, unless you’re an Olympian, then you’re ramping up. But most of us are wrapped. So let’s just dig in and get some mental toughness going.
Now let’s talk about the power of words.
I want you to think about that big dream you have.
What if you were to say to yourself, I could reach that goal. Feel that in your body, what does this feel like? It could happen. Okay.
Now let’s think it might actually happen. Okay. I feel like that might happen. Okay.
Now think about it a different way. It will happen. It’s only a matter of time before it will happen.
Some of you might feel resistance of “It’s too much. Can’t deal.” Some of you might be like, “Ooh, Ooh, really? For me.” Okay.
And then think This has already happened. Okay. Now our logical brain is going to be like, “But no, it hasn’t. No, that’s not real.”
But if you start thinking in terms of speaking as if it’s already happened…If you want to be successful, then you say “I am successful.” If you want to feel confident, then you say “I am competent.” If you want to love your sport, you say “I love it.” If you start speaking as if it’s already happened then what happens is your brain is like, “Is that true? Huh? Okay. Let’s go. Let’s make that a possibility.”
Our brains are very literal. So we give it instructions like “Don’t fall brain” and your brain is like “Fall. Got it.”
Or “Don’t mess this up.” And your brain is like “Mess this up.” It doesn’t hear the don’t but it hears everything else you’re telling it.
You’re constantly giving your brain instructions on how to be in this world and in this life. So what if you gave it better instructions and you’re like, “I am a champion” and your brain is like, “Yeah, let’s go do some extra conditioning to make that a reality.”
This has been proven. This is not just like made up, new age stuff that I’m just throwing out there. There is actual research that shows that autosuggestion and telling yourself things that you want to have happen will actually set you up for more success. It’s part of decades of research.
So why not use it? Right.
So what are affirmations?
There are a few key points that need to be there in order for you to create solid affirmations:
- The first quality is it’s in present tense. We speak as if it’s already happening.
- The second one it’s positive. You say things like I am landing that vault like a champ or I am walking on campus at UCLA as their newest recruit. And you’re speaking as if it’s already happening in the positive. So you’re not talking about what you don’t want to have happen. You’re talking about what you do want to have happen.
- Then you make it brief. You want to make it quick, memorable, and even rhymey or catchy so you can just go to it really quick. I was having a hard time exercising when I was pregnant with my little one who’s three. I was really being negative with myself and I was like, “Oh, it’s so hard. And I’m so weak.” And then I was like, “Whoa, whoa, nope, I’m not doing this.” And I changed it. And I was like: ‘I’m healthy and strong. I’m healthy and strong. I’m healthy and strong.’ So that was a nice brief mantra that I could just say to myself so that I would feel great and just wipe that negativity out.
- Then add action words and feelings. For example, “It feels incredible knowing that I have been recruited to UCLA” is better than “I am a Bruin.” You want to really feel it. “I am so proud that I qualified to nationals in level 10.” You want to come up with a statement that really paints that picture so that you even see a flash of an image in your head of it happening. And there’s just this thing that happens when you open that possibility and that hope, and you start saying it to yourself over and over.
- Then write it on your wall. Put it on a sticky note. Things like “I am a champion. I am happy. I am successful.” They don’t have to be these long ones. But I would challenge you to come up with one that feels amazing to have arrived at this goal. Get the feeling in and get that action in so you can really picture it and feel it and imagine it happening. And the more that you have that image in your head, the stronger it’s going to be.