You probably could count on one hand (if you’re being generous) the number of people who stick to their resolutions for the new year. That’s because resolutions are more like wishes or desires; great if they happen but rarely produce long lasting change. This year, try a new technique – Affirmations.
Popular cartoonist and creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, used affirmations many times in his life to accomplish his goals. The process he used was described in his book ‘The Dilbert Future’ and includes writing down your goals “…15 times a day and somehow, as if by magic, coincidences start to build until you achieve your objective against all odds.”
He credits affirmations with helping him become a successful cartoonist. Early in his career he was struggling with Dilbert. He submitted it to various newspapers but was constantly rejected. He then decided to write the following affirmation “I, Scott Adams, am a successful syndicated cartoonist” fifteen times for around six months. He got his break in 1989, by 1991 his comic strip was in over a hundred newspapers and by 2000 it was in over 2000 papers and in several languages.
So why do affirmations work? It’s simple, they keep you focused on a specific goal. Ever realize how you notice everyone that has the same car as you AFTER you buy that new car? The cars were always there but you did not notice them before. The change in filter makes you more likely to notice opportunities.
There are a few things to note here.
1 – It has to be specific.
You cannot just write “I want to lose weight.” It needs to be stated like so: “I (state your name), lost 3 inches off my waist.” The more specific the goal the better.
2 – Write it down like you already accomplished it.
State the affirmation as if you had already accomplished it. For example “I (state your name), lost 3 inches off my waist” is better than “I (state your name), will lost 3 inches off my waist.” The former is stated strongly, while the latter is still a wish.
3 – Do not set a deadline.
Do not limit yourself by saying you will accomplish the goal in a specific amount of time. While this technique is very valuable at other times, when it comes to affirmations, it will likely hold you back. Adams himself has said that writing affirmations for less than six months is setting yourself up for failure.
4 – Write it multiple times per day.
Writing something down causes internal changes that are hard to explain. Also, it proves how bad you want to accomplish your goal. Adams has said that he chose fifteen and saw no real difference in writing it more. However many times you decide on, be consistent. Write it every day. To make things easier write it down at the same time every day – we recommend first thing in the morning.
This year, try something new. Instead of making a resolution, write down an affirmation!