I’m a big fan of affirmations, putting out into the world the things you want and manifesting them into existence. Writing, with rock solid belief, that the things you desire have already come to fruition. *this is usually the part of a conversation with my husband where he rolls his eyes, calls me a hippie and tunes me out… but bear with me*

Rather than affirmations of the
“I am beautiful…
I am worthy of love…
I am strong and confident…”
variety, I prefer to write affirmations as strong, present tense statements of accomplishments and goals. Some of the common ones I used to write are,
” I am always neat and organized;
I make health and fitness a priority, I wake up at 5am every day to exercise;
I am a terrific mother and wife
.”
just to name a few….

I’ve done this for a while now…. Typically making it the first thing I do every morning (5 items of gratitude and 10 affirmations/ goals). I never felt fully satisfied in the endeavor… something was missing. It felt like it lacked a next step. It lacked the thing you do after you close your notebook or journal. You could write the same goals and dreams and affirmations of your future life, over and over and over for years, and if you don’t ever think about or take the next step, they seem kind of unlikely.

First thing to note, there’s a HUGE difference between wishful thinking and manifestation. Manifestation is not a passive activity.

So, a couple of weeks ago I met a new friend and she said a word that I’d never heard and it was truly the answer to my affirmation issue…. ASKFFIRMATION. You’re not affirming something, you’re asking a question! ask-ffirmation. Instead of writing “I made $1,000,000” (that’s not one of mine, this is just an example), you could write “What did I do to make $1,000,000?”.

The mind is a funny thing and it wants to answer the questions you ask…. Have you ever asked yourself “Why am I such an idiot?” I bet if you have, your mind gave you a TON of answers to that one.

So I started to ask some questions – positively framed questions. *Do NOT start this exercise with Why am I so lazy??* I also switched up doing my morning gratitude journal for bedtime askffirmations. I like the idea of my mind contemplating my deliberate success while I’m sleeping. It’s the only kind of multitasking I’m a fan of.

As a side note, there’s a whole book about Askffirmations (which I haven’t read, but a quick conversation with a friend who has gave me the nuggets of information I needed to adjust how I was doing this). Here’s the link in case you want a deeper dive.

So, here are a few more examples and how they can help transform your thinking about the future AND what to do next (I love creating a process and an action plan!!).

Instead of writing “I am a leader within my company” you might write something along the lines of “What did I do to become a leader in my company?”.

Or, “I am a terrific wife and mother” turns into “How did I become a terrific wife and mother?”.

The statement and question both imply the same eventual success (as if it’s already happened), but, in my opinion, the first one can instill a sense of entitlement of the accomplishment and can make you feel like you’re here and you’ve done it and now you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (except you haven’t done the labor part yet). Whereas the question gets your wheels turning and puts your brain in the mode of developing a process and next steps to take.

Again, this is a place where the brain dump can be really powerful. The askffirmations can turn into your writing prompts at the end of your brain dump, or at the beginning if your “dumping” feels a little stalled. Either way, putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys with these questions will help you understand what to do next… because chances are YOU KNOW THE ANSWER, you’ve just never put it down in writing and never felt in control of how to execute.

So, for example – What Did I Do To Become a Terrific Wife and Mother?
I’d sit down to journal on this question and (for me personally) I’d start making a list –
I put my phone down when engaged with my husband or kids
– I block out specific times of technology-free family time
– Date night (or some realistic variation for your circumstances)
– Special outings with each kid (or some realistic variation for your circumstances)
– I stop micromanaging the way my husband does stuff around the house
– I don’t yell at my kids
– I do x,y, z for my husband or kids..

and so on and so on… You get the point.

You make a list (or however writing works best for you) and then suddenly you have the things that you believe will get you to your goal. And if you’re doing this as part of a brain dump, once your wheels start turning in this realm you’ll likely have written down way more than you ever thought you knew. Suddenly everything just starts coming out on the paper and you realize that you KNOW HOW TO DO THIS! You have a roadmap, tidbits of habits and behaviors that will get you to your goal… start putting them into action while you visualize your results. I REALLY love this topic, so more to come on this in the future!

One last little bit and then you can get to your asking…
With most tasks, jobs or goals there are typically two aspects of accomplishment – one is skill set, the other is mindset/ motivation. First, knowing WHAT TO DO and HOW TO DO IT. In the age of technology and with the google machine at your fingertips (in the form of a smart phone, tablet, computer), the HOW shouldn’t really be an issue. Information is plentiful. But the mindset/ motivation? That can be a whole other beast… And that’s the entire point of this exercise in askffirmations. You might know what you want and you might figure out through journaling and asking how you’re going to get it, but then you have to get into action!

When you write the things down of how you accomplished your goal, you have to be thinking how YOU accomplished those goals. If I was writing about being a terrific mother and wife and I wrote things about how I made gourmet meals and packed elaborate, brightly colored bento boxes for my kids everyday for lunch to show my love and appreciation for my family, that would be ridiculous! I would 100% be setting myself up for disappointment. If you know me in the real world you know that I am terrific at curating a meal – tell me what you want and I’ll find the BEST place in town where we can order it! This exercise can uncover hidden little preconceived notions you might have of what it means to be certain things… If you’ve been believing that the way to be the perfect mother is based on someone else and you’ve always romanticized that THAT was the way to do it, then you’ve created a false narrative in your head…. That’s the mind game that can stop us in our tracks! If your answer of how to be a leader, build a business, engage in relationships are all things that are so NOT YOU, then you need to reevaluate whose standards you’re trying to live up to. By this I do NOT mean to stay within your comfort zone… you absolutely 100% will have to move outside of what you’re used to and what you’ve always done, but you have to do it in a way that in authentic to who you are, NOT who you imagine the perfect wife, mother or boss to be.

So write your answers specific to YOU! So that you can look at this list and picture yourself living out these things. You can see all of these action items and suddenly your daunting goal seems manageable. You’re carving out who you want to be and the things you’ll do to get there…. they should be a little scary and they should push you, but they should make you excited too. They should make you feel like that best version of yourself is HERE and waiting to come out. When you imagine yourself doing these things you should be equal parts terrified and exhilarated! They should speak to who you are as a person. Who YOU are, not who someone else thinks you should be!