Why I Go For Affirmations, Not Resolutions

I’ve got nothing against resolutions. They’re just set up to make you feel like a failure.

Most of us are going to ditch our resolutions by the end of the month, so why do we go through the trouble of setting up this shame trap for ourselves?

Resolutions are great. I love goals. I have many. But when we inevitably fail to meet our own unrealistic expectations, we feel really really bad about it. 

This is why I prefer affirmations. They’re the fake-it-til-you-make-it life hack that really works. 

Affirmations are sentences or phrases you repeat to motivate yourself and challenge negative thinking. Say these lines to yourself enough times and you might just start to believe them. And when you believe them, you make shit happen. 

This started back in 2019. I’d been suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks and taught myself some DBT techniques to retrain my brain. That’s how I learned to embrace affirmations. They’ve taught me how to be kinder to myself, remain calm under pressure, and set boundaries. (I’m not always good at doing those things, but it’s a big step up from not doing any of that work before.) I’ve used affirmations to pump myself up before a performance or job interview, to get me through a really bad day, and even just to remind myself of my goals. 

Yes, affirmations can feel cheesy, but they work. As our mindset changes, our brains are literally changing too.

I’ve spent years learning how to change my thought process so I can embrace who I am. I’m getting better at noticing downward spirals, and now I interrupt any negative self-talk with the question, Would you say these things to a friend?The answer is always no. 

^I’m a huge fan of the Calm app. I’m finding Jay Shetty’s “Daily Jay” extra inspirational these days. Coincidentally, today’s lesson is Self-Affirmations. You can use this link to get a free 30-day guest pass. It’s not an affiliate link, and I’m pretty sure I only have five to give away.

Why not display your intentions somewhere to remind you of what you’re working toward? It can’t hurt.

I like to write down my affirmations and keep them in a place where I can see them every day. My affirmations are scribbled onto index cards pinned to a cork board my desk faces.

An actual photo of Cristy's home office setup
Behold! A photo of my actual office. I also made a vision board. I’m not going to lie. It was very fun to create the collage. I was so excited when Zach brought home a two-pack of purple glue sticks.

To be clear, I’m not advocating for toxic positivity. I once worked for a CEO who sincerely said  “TGIM every Monday morning with a bright smile on his face. 😐Please don’t be that person.

My 2023 Affirmations

This year I’m focusing on getting to tasks sooner and completing them, specifically writing. 

I struggle with self-motivation and completing my own projects (i.e. procrastination). It’s partly due to ADHD as well as my lovely habit of underestimating how long things take to get done. But it’s also very much a consequence of my perfectionism. While medicine can improve my focus, it’s up to me to learn how to cope with any difficult emotions procrastination tries to subdue. 

What’s triggering that avoidance response? Fear of rejection? Fear of not living up to expectations? 🤷🏻‍♀️Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what’s going on in this noggin of mine, but I’m working on figuring that out.

I searched high and low (ok, mostly just the first page of the internet) to find inspiration for my 2023 affirmations. After minutes of research, here are ten new affirmations* I’ve added to my cork board. 

  1. I will focus on the things I can control and let go of what I can’t. 
  2. I have confidence in my abilities, and I believe in myself. 
  3. I am creating a work life that inspires and motivates me.
  4. I give myself permission to go after what I want.
  5. I am committed to my goals and values.
  6. Staying true to my commitment energizes me. 
  7. I follow through.
  8. I am willing to put in the work needed to achieve my professional goals. 
  9. Success begins with my mindset.
  10. I am imperfect and that is ok. 

(*Affirmation sources and inspo include: SnackNation, Happier Human)

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own affirmations, there are plenty of websites with lists of suggestions. It can get overwhelming. Just pick a few that speak to you and see what happens. You’re welcome to use mine too.

Do I read my affirmations every day? No. But I often do. On especially hard days I read them out loud. 

Don’t worry if you don’t believe what you’re reading. Fake it until you do. You may not ever fully believe these affirmations, but maybe you’ll start to notice the negative self-talk and course-correct before you go too far down.

They can also just serve as a simple reminder to be kinder to yourself. 

Try affirmations, and report back. I’d love to know how it goes for you.

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