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By Teri Mahaney, PhD

How do you talk to yourself? Are you your own best cheerleader — using positive affirmations – or worst critic – using limiting judgments?

The practice of positive self talk is not new, but the brain research showing their effectiveness is. MRI studies show certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation, and numerous studies show daily affirmations improve self esteem and effective self management strategies.

The average person has thousands of  thoughts a day (estimated at 50,000), which works well if they are positive and reinforcing. However, it is estimated 80-90% are negative, critical and judgmental, creating huge doses of  limitation, discouragement and self sabotage! To discover if you are your own best cheerleader or worst critic, spend at least one full day monitoring to what you say to yourself. Positive or negative? Analysis or judgment? 

Analysis is a statement of fact such as: I did not make my goal of ten cold calls today. Analysis can be clarified with facts such as: I procrastinated; I got sidetracked; I was afraid. Analysis does not include criticism and blame.

Judgment is criticism: I can’t believe I failed again. I’ll never make it at this rate. Why did I think I could be an entrepreneur? You can neutralize negativity with affirming statements. Practice on-the-spot reversals by catching a criticism and rewording it right away. I have what it takes to be a good salesperson. I am a natural entrepreneur. I enjoy learning what I need to know. I make a plan and follow the plan. My cold calls balance out at the end of the week.

Use these guidelines for cheerleader affirmations: 

*Be present: use the present tense, not the future tense. State I have, I am, I do …. not I will have or will be or will do.

“I am a successful businesswoman and I appear that way to others.”

*Be Positive: state outcomes of what you want, not what you don’t want.

“I love talking about my business to strangers.” *For a boost in effectiveness, state them in several perspectives;

I am a successful businesswoman

I feel like a successful businesswoman.

I see myself as a successful businesswoman.

l think like a successful businesswoman.

*For a double boost, add an emotional word of enjoyment.

I love being a successful woman.

I love feeling like a successful businesswoman.

I love seeing myself as a successful businesswoman.

l love thinking like a successful businesswoman.

*For a triple boost, choose one that really challenges you and hand- write it seven times for seven days. (I have a special journal for these and use seven different colored pens. Reviewing them is awesome!)

*For the most effective strategy, say them to yourself slowly as you drift off to sleep each night. 

Try some of these and/or write your own. 

It is exciting to know my past does not limit my future.

It is my natural birthright to succeed and be a success.

I deserve all the good that comes my way.

I love being a strong and powerful woman.

It is natural for me to empower myself to the fullest.

I feel good knowing I have what it takes to accomplish my goals.

It is exciting to know I can do what I set my mind to.

I feel powerful speaking up for myself.

It is fun to promote myself and my business.

I enjoy providing value with who I am and what I do.

I love fulfilling my potential and prospering doing it.

Teri Mahaney, PhD, is the creator of the Change Your Mind program that is internationally recognized and referenced in books on the brain and change.  Learn more about her MP3 programs and consultations at  www.changeyourmind.com and www.terimananey.com

These techniques were researched at the Salk Institute and have been invaluable aids to me and my students! Use them, and enjoy holistic thinking for success! Teri Mahaney, PhD, is the creator of the Change Your Mind program that is internationally recognized and referenced in books on the brain and change.  Learn more about her MP3 programs and consultations at  www.changeyourmind.com and www.terimananey.com

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