This time last year

I’ve just found a small piece of paper in a pile of other papers on top of my fridge. This particular piece of paper, however, made a big difference in my life.

This time last year I had a conversation with a friend about the concept of a daily affirmation, the slightly Californian-tasting and dipped in NLP* idea that you what you tell yourself becomes your reality.

I was skeptical… because I am always skeptical… but it made logical sense so I decided to try it. I wrote down the following:

“I will get fit, be more positive and have more energy. I will lose 10kg and fit into size 10 jeans. I will attract the kind of man I want.”

I stuck that piece of paper to my fridge and I said my affirmation outloud to myself every morning and every evening.

Then I signed up with a personal trainer because this time I meant business. As a result, I lost 13kg (28 pounds or 2 stone) and now wear a size 8 jeans (a 4 in US sizes). I am fitter than I’ve been since I quit fencing in my mid twenties and I sleep better and find it easier to wake up and get going in the mornings. Things that used to enrage and frustrate me no longer bother me nearly as much; the bright side is much more readily visible to me now.

Also, and most importantly of all, I’m engaged to be married to the man I love which would not have been possible this time last year – not because he didn’t find me attractive, but because I didn’t find myself attractive.

Anyway, I’m noting this here now partly to assert the truth of the old adage that a lot can change in a year, as well as to illustrate the effectiveness of seemingly simple techniques in overcoming years of bad thinking and their associated habits of behaviour, which can be a viciously self-reinforcing and miserably destructive cycle.

And now if you’ll forgive me I’m off to write another affirmation, for this next year…

*NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming, also sometimes termed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, whose basic premise is that if you tell yourself something often enough, you’ll believe it and make it true… So stop saying and thinking “I can’t do that” and “I’m unattractive” etc etc and instead tell yourself “I can do that” and “I am attractive”… It’s more complex than that, obviously, but you get the general idea.

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11 Responses to This time last year

  1. I have always believed that affirmations worked, and I am extremely pleased to read this post, which so effectively proves that point!

    I am also very happy that your affirmations have had such an impressive effect on your life.

  2. bigbadjohnnyp says:

    I have to say I’m not convinced about affirmations etc – however – like so many things, they are, in my view much more inclined to (seem to) work if you believe in them and thus you can end up with positive reinforcements.

    • I think that probably one of the reasons affirmations work is that they very concretely reinforce your “want list” by the daily repetition. One of my affirmations that worked extremely well when I was unhappy with my body was “I am strong and I am healthy and I don’t need my gut” The whole statement was true and as I repeated it I think it helped solidify the strength I needed to take control of my dietary intake. The result has been great, I am now within 6 pounds of my final goal weight.

      • Woo says:

        I completely agree. I think they work not because the universe somehow hears you and delivers what you want, but because you hear yourself: articulating what you want focuses your attention on it in a way that makes you much more likely to act to achieve it. Its self-fulfilling, and that’s the beauty of it.

        And WAY TO GO you on being within 6 pounds of your final goal weight. That is brilliant.

    • Woo says:

      I agree with you – it all seemed very ‘la-la-land’ to me and I certainly don’t espouse the view that anything other than your own willpower is at work to make the affirmations true, but it does work – its basic psychology.

  3. Oooh. I like this idea. I’m going to put one on my mirror . . .

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