Not too long ago, we published a blog entry titled “You Should Not Be Negative When It Comes to Considering Affirmations,” which made the case that positive self-talk can be a powerful tool when it comes to supporting your mental health.
In that entry, we asked you to run a little thought experiment. Go ahead and run it now:
Think back on the kinds of things your inner voice has been saying to you over, say, the last two weeks. How much of that inner dialogue has been critical? If you are like many, many people, there is a good chance that you criticize yourself quite frequently.
That tendency to criticize yourself can be as harmful as it is common. Fortunately, the flipside is also true—developing a tendency to build yourself up can be truly helpful to your mental health.
With a new year on the horizon, we thought it was a good time to return to the topic of affirmations and to consider how affirmations and the practice of setting resolutions at the beginning of the year can go together.
The Reality of Resolutions
We probably don’t even need to detail how difficult it seems to be for folks to stick with their new year’s resolutions. From losing weight to getting more exercise to reducing time on social media to spending more time with friends or family (and a host of other goals), resolutions seem to have two things in common: We know that following through has the potential to improve our lives in one way or another—and we tend not to follow through.
Here’s where affirmations might be able to make a difference. Let’s take a look at a strategy that might combine affirmations with resolutions in the hope of supporting your mental health.
Assign Each Resolution an Affirmation
Okay, we admit that things get a little meta here at the beginning of our suggestion. We proposed that you resolve to use affirmations to help you stick to your resolutions.
Still with us? It gets more straightforward from here.
Let’s imagine you are going to set three resolutions related to your mental health for the new year. We’ll offer three examples here, but of course, your resolutions will be your own. So, too, will be the affirmations that might help you stick to your goals.
Here are three potential resolutions for the purpose of this discussion:
- I will start a gratitude journal to help me remember all the good things in my life.
- I will take a 10-minute walk each day because doing so supports my physical and mental health.
- I will participate in the arts—either as an attendee or a practitioner—each week.
Now, let’s connect some affirmations to those resolutions. Remember, an affirmation is a bit of self-talk that you can return to frequently when you need a quick boost of confidence or a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.
So, affirmations related to a gratitude journal might include:
- I notice and celebrate the good things that happen each day.
- Every day offers opportunities to experience hope and happiness.
- Wonderful things have happened to me—and will continue to happen.
Affirmations related to taking a daily walk might include:
- I treat my body and my mind with care, love, and respect.
- I pursue energy and vitality when I exercise.
- I know that small changes to my routine can provide significant benefits to my mental health.
Affirmation related to arts participating might include:
- I am a creative person.
- I appreciate the beauty and creativity artists can share with me.
- Taking a break to be creative or to experience art helps me experience more joy.
Now imagine that your day is winding down, and you just don’t feel like sticking with your gratitude journal. While it is perfectly fine to take a break from your practice of recording moments for which you are thankful, you might turn to your affirmations if it starts to feel like the habit is slipping away from you.
Why should you stick with the gratitude journal? Because you notice and celebrate good things that happen each day, you know that every day offers opportunities to experience hope and happiness, and your journal reminds you that wonderful things happen to you regularly—suggesting they will continue to happen in the future.
Your affirmations transform you into your own coach when it comes to maintaining your mental health resolutions. It’s a simple—but powerful—shift in your mindset that can make your resolutions more likely to work for you for a long time.
We Are Committed to Helping You Improve Your Mental Health
At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado, we provided personalized, evidence-based treatment for whatever mental health disorder might be upending your life. From one of the many kinds of depression, to anxiety and panic disorders, to issues centered in traumatic experiences you have had, we have the expertise and the empathy necessary to help you make—and maintain—improvements. As the new year approaches, resolve to get the help you need to make this year better than the last when it comes to your mental health.