A couple of days ago, I had read a blog post by Dilbert Cartoonist Scott Adams on affirmations. (http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/10/affirmations.html)
Understand Scott Adams views the world in a rather peculiar, humourous way. If you read his blog, you'll see he has written about some pretty contraversial topics and espoused some rather unusual views. Even so, as is the truth with most humor, there is a kernel of truth to it.
So I began to think about the presence of affirmations in my own life and what role, good or bad, that they have played. I think I can honestly say that Scotty-boy might be onto something here.
Perhaps one of the most life-shaping affirmations happened very early in my life. When I was about 6, I was particularly unahppy about the state of my parents, i.e. divorced. I hated it, thought it was wrong. I said to myself then that I was not going to put my kids through what I went through. To this day, I still say that to myself (though not daily).
The result? I'm married to a wonderful woman for 7 years and have two kids. We are both committed to staying together to raise our kids. We had a rough patch there a couple years back, and she had reminded me of that committment I had made to her and to myself. That particular affirmation got me through that rough patch and things have gotten substantially better since then.
I've also said over the years that, at least in terms of my career, I am incredibly lucky. I attribute at least some of my success to hard work. It comes down to being at the right place at the right time, and always being open for new opportunities. When I have a bad day at work, I remind myself that I am incredibly lucky to have the job and situation I have.
There are probably other examples of affirmations in my life, but these are the most prominent.
Putting this in the conext of Steven Covey's "7 Habits," this is clearly Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind. And Covey spends a lot of time giving you the tools to try and make that end achievable. There is a ton of planning and determining "next actions" and what not. Clearly that makes some sense, but let's face it, not all of us work that way. I am not a big planner. I am more about the big picture than I am about the details.
Affirmations are about the big picture. They are simple, succinct statements repeated regularly and often that describe the reality you want. In some respects, they are statements of blind faith because the path you will take to achieve that goal may not be clear. The beauty of this is that it doesn't need to be.
It is difficult to forget something that you regularly say to yourself, write down, or "pray" about if you prefer. The act of a regular affirmations keeps the idea fresh in your mind. Your mind will be able to more readily identify opportunities to attain that reality, or so the theory goes.
Given that the act of an affirmation takes so little and so simple, why not try it? At worst, you will be out maybe a minute or two of time per day. At best, you'll have the results you want.
So what is my affirmation? Here it is: I will weigh 195 pounds.