Affirmations are positive, present-tense statements designed to bring out our best selves, to focus our thoughts, emotions, and attention in the direction we want to move toward. Basically, affirmations accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. Affirmations are lenses that concentrate our thinking, direct our feelings in uplifting, inspirational ways. Affirmations are designed to help us spend our entire lives “on the sunny side of the street.”

A tail ender is the negative counter or reversal to an affirmation, a negation of the previous positive thought. A tail ender is your internal critic at work, trying to take you down a peg or two, usually under the guise of being “realistic” or “trying to spare you disappointment.” Tail enders aren’t always words. Sometimes they come up as feelings of tightness, nervousness, or other body sensations, or even as memories of past failures or disappointments.

There are several effective techniques for dealing with tail enders. The first is to realize that your affirmations must be believable——to you! It is fine if they are a stretch. Usually that is the whole point; you are trying to move another level higher. However, even if a high jump coach knows an athlete is capable of tremendous improvement, generally the bar is only moved up an inch or two at a time, allowing the individual to establish a comfort level and build confidence at each higher level. Inch by inch, life is a cinch.

One way to ease into an affirmation is to start by saying “I am open to the possibility of….” Another way is to imagine yourself as already having achieved your goal, at ease in your new position, confident in your new role and new skill. Remember, to behave differently, it helps to see yourself differently. A third way is to turn the affirmation around into a negative and ask yourself why you would choose to believe that negative thought, embrace that negative belief? Ask yourself “If there were an emotional reason for the affirmation not working, what would it be?” Often we achieve a certain comfort level with our limitations, a certain familiarity, and there can be reluctance to leave the old neighborhood, even for a brighter, better tomorrow.

Remember, affirmations can help bring out the best in you but they are not a magic wand. A million repetitions of “There are no weeds in my garden” will not miraculously remove the weeds. However, positive thoughts about enjoying gardening might help you find the energy to tend to your garden, affirmations about getting organized and focused might help you find the time, and work-related affirmations might allow you to create enough value in your life to easily afford a lawn service.

Closing quotes (lots):

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kinds of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” — Henry David Thoreau

“You become what you think about most of the time.” – Brian Tracy

“Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.” – James Allen

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

“When you miss a shot, never think of what you did wrong. Take the next shot thinking of what you must do right.” – Tony Alfonso

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

“Believing there is a solution paves the way to a solution.” – Dr. David Schwartz

“You’ve got to win in your mind before you win in your life.” – John Addison

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Claude M. Bristol