“You CAN Begin Again,” was the sermon we heard each January from the pastor of our church. I never tired of hearing the message. A New Year can be a wonderful source of motivation: Everything is renewed again and again. Any mistakes and shortcomings you have can be overcome. You are in a constant state of evolution—always moving forward, going higher and higher in achievement.

Life is the ultimate “do over.” Every year, every month, every day and even every hour can provide a new beginning. The problem: We try to correct our mistakes, make up for our deficiencies, and self-critique with harsh resolutions: “I will lose 20 pounds by Valentine’s Day.” Or, “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

Affirmations work better than resolutions. First of all, they are positive. Rather than trying to “fix” something in you, an affirmation statement affirms or “makes stronger” a positive believe you have (or would like to have) about yourself. Many people feel uncomfortable with affirmations. It seems silly to tell ourselves good things, when our minds are filled with negative thoughts.

Affirmations don’t work when they are focused on what’s wrong. It’s like trying to turn around an ocean liner. You might have 30,000 negative thoughts in your mind, repeating over and over again. When you try to add four or five positive affirmations that are the opposite of your negative beliefs, your mind says, “NO, that’s not true.”

Instead of trying to change your thoughts,

ADD IN some new ones. Here are several different approaches to create affirmations that work:

1. Take time to self-congratulate. When I was writing my New Resume New Career book, I was on a tight deadline. My friend sent me one of those “That was easy” buttons from the Staples commercial. Each time I would finish another resume, I would click “That was easy” and go get a big cup of Chai tea to celebrate. You can easily do this, and build more positive energy into your day. When you finish an online application, say to yourself, “You are good at this. You’ve got this.” Give yourself the encouragement that may be lacking in your life.

2. Create affirmations using “I am” statements. Your subconscious is programmed to receive information about who you are. That’s why children are so affected by teasing and bullying. When you take charge and start telling yourself something positive, amazing things happen. You might say, “I am very persuasive in phone conversations.” “I am able to make new business contacts easily.” “I’m a good writer.” ANY I am statement that is positive will begin to increase your confidence and motivate you to do more. The next time you get a compliment, externalize it with a new affirmation about yourself.

3. Create a vision for the future. Take a few minutes to write out a paragraph or two about the near-term future you are creating. See yourself in the new situation, and try to imagine the feelings you will have. For example: “I see myself in a new job with a team of creative, ambitious people to lead. Our work is difficult and complicated, but we are up to the challenge. In fact, we revel in the excitement of solving problems. I am effectively doing my job, encouraging others and creating value for the company. This is the best position I have ever had.” There are so many affirmations that can come out of this statement! Just one: “My work can be complicated and difficult, and I enjoy the challenge.”

4. Express your appreciation. Much has been written about appreciation journals. Writing down what is good in your life causes you to look for more good things. You start to see more opportunity everywhere you look. Each positive encounter with a new person gives you an appreciation for how kind and helpful people can be. Your mind is less likely to fight a “thank you” affirmation, especially if you state a future situation as if it were true today. For example: I am so thankful I have found the ideal job, making more money than ever before.

Why not resolve NOW to write and say a few affirmations each day? There’s a great new opportunity in 2021 with YOUR name on it. Go out and claim it.

On your side,

Catherine Jewell

The Career Passion® Coach

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