Affirmations: the hot new thing replacing New Year’s goals

It’s a new year, and that means a lot of people are re-upping their goals. Fitness, professional, nutritional, personal…I think we’re all familiar. Let’s do something different this year. Let’s write some affirmations.

The shortfalls of New Year’s goals

We’re not strangers to the concept of ‘goals’. There are so many gurus out there championing the idea of putting your goals down on paper to make them more clear, voicing them out into the universe to make them real, and using them to guide you through your decisions to make them impactful. One of the coolest mantras out there is that the difference between a dream and a goal is action. 

What you’re missing without daily affirmations

Well, here’s a little twist. If you’ve been making goals for the past ten years but you’ve never really made significant progress toward them, I don’t think the creation of the goal is the step that you’re missing. If you want to eat healthier in your 2022 goals, it’s really easy to say, “in 2022, I’m setting a goal to eat healthier.” You can even be more specific, like, “in 2022, I’m going to make half of all my plates consist only of vegetables.”

Great! But where’s your accountability and emotional support when the universe tests you that first time when your friends want to meet up at a burger place? Or when you know you should get up early to go to the gym in the morning, but your spouse REALLY wants to watch the latest episode of the Sex in the City reboot?

That’s when your affirmations can bring more power to your goals for 2022. Saying you want to be a certain way is one thing, but better, deeply-consistent behavior changes don’t come from what you want to be, they come from how you identify the way you are. 

“I want to eat healthy” versus “I’m the kind of person who orders a salad instead of fries when I’m in this situation.” That can be wildly helpful not only for your physical health, but for your mental health.

What are affirmations

I think most of us think of affirmations as a form of self-love. Something we recite to ourselves to help us focus on our value and belief in self. Whether it’s for self-confidence or behavior change, self-love affirmations can be treated as something you recite to yourself daily (eg. daily affirmations or morning affirmations) or weekly (eg. Monday affirmations or Friday affirmations are common). 

How I use positive morning affirmations

It’s been easier for me to read my affirmations to myself every morning as motivation to get myself out of bed. I’m going to share my affirmations with you, but remember that this is just a guide and shouldn’t put restrictions on what you can write for yourself. If you’re having trouble writing your daily affirmations, it’s pretty easy to just google relevant topics, like “daily affirmations for women” (or affirmations for men) and get hyper-specific, like “positive affirmations for black women” and “relationship affirmations”.

According to Google Trends, searches for “positive affirmations for women” are way more common than their counterpart, but good, powerful daily affirmations can have a huge impact in any life. So let me introduce you to my affirmations and why I’ve written them the way they are. 

My 2022 affirmations

I’m blessed to be able (in time and capability) to do active things whenever possible

I wrote this because I found myself during quarantine to be taking for granted the fact that I had time, location, funds, and a basic level of fitness that afforded me opportunities to things which aligned with my goals. I could pay an inhuman amount of money for a gym membership in Manhattan. I could take the dog for a long walk to a dog park because I live in proximity to it. Gratitude is such a powerful tool. And when you recognize the ways things have aligned to allow you do do things, you’re ultimately more likely to do them.

I know the healthy alternatives I can pick when faced with an unhealthy decision

I freaking love french fries. Like…I know a lot of people say that, but I think I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve gone into a restaurant as an adult and not ordered fries if they were an integral part of a menu. Not only is there that true potato passion, but I also just flat out identified myself as a french fry connoisseur. So saying I know what healthy alternatives are, like apple slices, a side salad, or no side? That’s a simple yet powerful change to how I identify and therefor behave. 

There’s no such thing as “I’ve done enough.”

Ugh. Tell me this isn’t the coldest, meanest, chills-and-shudder-inducing affirmation on earth? Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay talks of his mentors as some of the hardest-nosed people anyone could ever imagine interacting with. Yet it was from that environment where even the smallest things received attention and everything was always seeking improvement, that Ramsay found his drive for perfection and balanced it with his own compassion to build one of the greatest food and entertainment empires on earth. Me? I just found myself getting home after a long day at work and thinking, “I’ve put in my time and now I’m going to just zone out and watch Netflix.” Which would be fine if my day at work aligned with my long-term goals, but they don’t. So I get home, walk the dog, tell myself I haven’t done enough, and start the work on the things that align with my future and not just my present.

This is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix

You know the problem with the word ‘diet’? It’s that we’ve allowed it to imply a short term approach to a long-term problem – that a diet means you’re going to cut out fried foods for a month, lose a little weight, and go right back to the bad behavior 30 days later. I don’t want that for my life, and I don’t just mean my beloved french fries. I want my podcast, my films, my books, my relationships…all of it…to be a lifestyle and not a fad. I want to be consistent and reliable for my followers, for my family, and for myself.

I have the skillset I need in order to reach my goals

Have you ever put a task before yourself and found yourself using research to delay the actual work? I don’t think it’s a secret right now that I’m knee-deep into working on a documentary. And, let’s face it, I may not necessarily be a documentarian by education or by trade. But I have 33 years of watching documentaries as my guide. I know what’s bad. I know how to use Google to find what I need to do things right. I don’t need to have Werner Herzong’s life experience in order to finish my film. I just need my beliefs and some basic editing software. And that goes for how I plan my workouts in the morning, how I pick the healthier of two food options, and whether I do or don’t spend time on that annoying task at work which makes my boss happy. I don’t need a PhD to get it done. I just need to do it.

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, Facebook, and Bloomberg. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.

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