Hey there, and welcome to the episode. I’m so glad that you’ve joined me today. I’m going to talk about self-talk and how important it is to speak to and affirm yourself with positive words.  You know, this is one of those topics where I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you, because transparently this can be a bit of a struggle for me.

I’m also going to talk to you about how you can affirm your child in easy, natural ways. I’m going to cover why it matters, some science behind your self talk, and then how you can implement the practice into your daily life. And then we’ll turn towards your children and talk about some ways that you can use positive affirmations with them, wrapping up with a couple of really great ideas on things that you can do easily in your home.

A few weeks ago, I did an episode about goal setting, and we got some really great feedback on this one, especially about the seven steps of writing a goal for yourself. This was episode 96 on goal writing, so if you missed it, go back and listen to it, because it will really help with today’s episode.

Research tells us that of the people who are the most likely to set New Year’s resolutions, 52 percent are in the under 30 crowd,  and that’s followed by 44 percent of 30 to 40 year olds. So the people out there in the world making intentions about the upcoming year, statistically, are parents of young children.

The most common goals people set are to exercise, eat well, lose weight, and save money. That’s me for sure. Every year for years and years, I had the intention of losing my pregnancy weight as one of my intentions.  And guess what? Like me every year with that weight loss goal, 81 percent of those of us who set resolutions fail by February.

Why do you suppose that is? We all want to make the coming year better than the last, but often we fall short. One reason for this is we just don’t have the right mindset. We set ourselves up for failure by believing that we can’t do it. That rings true for me. I had that goal year after year. I tried and I failed because I really didn’t believe that I had the willpower to make it happen.

This is when self-talk comes in. The things that you repeat to yourself on a regular basis. That’s what I’m going to talk about in this episode. Positive affirmations. Because what you say to yourself can help to change your mindset and improve your self belief. And when you believe in yourself, you’re more likely to take action, which will lead you to successfully achieving those goals or intentions that you set for yourself.

Positive affirmations work by changing your thoughts and your beliefs.  When you repeat an affirmation to yourself, it starts to sink into your subconscious mind, which controls your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  And when you fill your subconscious mind with positive thoughts, it starts to change the way that you think and act.

Positive affirmations can help increase your self-confidence, boost your motivation, reduce your stress and anxiety, improve your focus and concentration. It helps you develop a positive attitude and achieve those goals that you set for yourself.  And exactly the opposite happens when you have negative self-talk.

It kills your motivations, it decreases your self-confidence, it increases stress and anxiety, and basically prevents you from doing the things you want to do because you have a sour attitude about yourself. You don’t believe that you can do it.  I’m guessing that some of you are like me, and you’re just more apt to believe something and maybe act on it if there’s some proof behind it.

So let’s talk about the science behind the behavior changes that come with the words that we say to ourselves.  First of all, there’s something called neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This principle suggests that our thoughts and experiences can literally change the structure and function of our brains.

So when we say or think positive affirmations, we strengthen the neural pathways that foster positive thinking.  By repeatedly affirming our goals and values like this, we can create a mental framework that really supports our ability to do the things that we set out to do.  Next is Cognitive Behavioral Theory, which suggests that our thoughts affect our feelings and behaviors.

Negative thought patterns can lead to negative emotions and self defeating behaviors, while positive thought patterns do the opposite. Positive affirmations are the tool for making this happen. It’s a key component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, we can really alter our emotional state and our behaviors will be more aligned with those things that we really want to do.

And lastly, science confirms the placebo effect which demonstrates how what we believe or expect can physically alter our body’s responses to treatments. I’m sure you guys have read some of the studies where, you know, people Have taken a placebo pill and people have taken a real pill and oftentimes the placebo people they have the same outcomes  And so positive affirmations leverage this principle by fostering this belief in your ability to do something and the outcomes that you’ll have if you actually do it.

So as you can see, there’s actually some science behind being intentional about the words that you say to yourself. There’s a reason that people do positive affirmations.  So let’s talk about how do you actually do it. You know, how do you encourage yourself and change your mindset? What do you do?  Well, first of all, you need to create affirmations that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and they need to have some sort of emotion and time as part of them.

Something that would describe how you would feel once you’ve achieved it. So, for example, I’ll share one of my goals with you.  I like to play piano, and I want to master this one piece. It’s one of Mozart’s Sonatas. I’ve been playing parts of it for a while, but when I have all of the music, I have a tendency to skip over the more complicated parts, and so this year I’ve challenged myself to be able to play the whole thing by the end of summer.

So I’ve created an affirmation around this goal, and my affirmation is this.  I am easily and proudly playing Mozart’s Sonata in C Major for two of my friends at our August monthly dinner gathering.  Notice that I didn’t say, I can play a Mozart piano sonata. Because that wouldn’t be specific enough, nor would it really capture the emotion that I plan to feel when I meet that deadline and I’m able to play that piece.

So you can do this. You can look at your goals, and you can just write some affirmations that include those characteristics. You can write them down, and then once you do, there’s lots of things you can do with it. One is you can repeat them to yourself. As you look in the mirror. You know, talk to yourself in that way.

Another thing is to just write them down in a journal and read it. A lot of people I know will write their affirmations on note cards, and that’s what I do. I have mine listed, one affirmation on a post it, not a post it note, but like a note card. I keep them in my planner and I’ll get them out every morning and read through them out loud to remind myself of what my goals are and affirm myself that I’m able to do those.

It’s suggested that you find something that works for you, that feels right, that you’ll stick to, and that you repeat your affirmations at least once a day, and if you can, multiple times a day. Because the more you say it to yourself, the more your subconscious mind will get to work working on those things and get them done for you.

But most importantly, you have to believe in your affirmations. If you don’t believe them, then they’re not going to work. I’ve actually had some written down that I really didn’t ever believe it and I’ve just decided to throw those away.  Then of course, the last thing that you have to do is you have to take actions.

It doesn’t do a hill of beans good to just say things. Positive affirmations are not a magic wand. You still have to take action to achieve your goals.  So, let’s turn towards your children. You know, it’s really good to use positive affirmations with them, too. When they’re younger, like your kids probably are, simply saying positive things to them about themselves is the best start.

So, if you’ve got babies and toddlers, you can just say good things about them. You can point out what they’re doing. You might say, you are so strong. Look at you pulling up on the table like that.  You figured it out all by yourself. You put the round block in the hole.  You know how to get my attention.

You’re very smart. You are learning to use your voice to communicate. And if you notice, I’m being pretty specific with those comments. And so you want to tell your children what they are doing and explain why you, you know, what’s positive about those things. When your toddler becomes a talker, then you can encourage them to say true things about themselves, to affirm themselves.

“I am strong.” “I am kind.” “I am smart.” “I am a good friend.”  You could even incorporate some of these affirmations into their daily routines, like maybe during bath time you might talk about these affirmations, or in the car, on the way to child care in the mornings, maybe you could go through these and just start their day off with some really positive thoughts about themselves.

My husband used to do something similar when our kids were little, and I picked up on his practice when I heard him do it, because it was just so sweet. But when he was putting one of the kids to bed,  of course we had our whole routine, just like you do every night, and one thing that we did that the kids loved was they loved to have their back tickled.

And so when tickling their back, he would say positive things to them about themselves.  He was using positive affirmations, even though he didn’t have the terminology for it back then. But he was doing this in a very planned kind of way. He would just name what he saw in that kid that day. So he would say things like, you are generous.

You are so willing to give money to your friends who need it. You are smart. You made a 98 on your spelling test today. You are a fast runner. You worked so hard at practice today. And then he would end it with an I love you and a kiss. And even if they weren’t ready to sleep and sat up and started playing when he walked out of the room, they were totally captured in that moment. 

They would lay there and enjoy that back tickle and really take in those loving, positive affirmations.  So, I encourage you to do this too. You’re already putting your kid to bed every night. Just add some kind, positive words of affirmation to what you’re already doing.  Another idea I wanted to share with you is from some friends who have four children and their kids are preschoolers through elder elementary.

They do something that they call Kid of the Week. And one night each week, one of their kids gets the choice of picking what they eat for dinner. And then each person in the family shares something that they love about that one kid. While they eat their dinner and then the kid also gets to choose a game that they play together as a family And then they could choose one show that everybody watches together So as you can imagine their kids love picking what’s for dinner and the fun things of playing a game And choosing which show that everybody will watch But I think that they’re really important part of their kid of the week is the affirmations.

Not only does the kid of the week get to hear what their parents and brothers and sisters say what they love about them, it also teaches Everyone to think about and verbalize what they love about somebody else. And so, this is a really important skill for young children to develop. To kind of look at another person and see the good in them.

To see things from that other, another person’s perspective.  So if that idea resonates with you, I would encourage you to do kid of the week at your house, , whatever that would look like for your particular family and the age kids that you have and how your evenings work and stuff. It might be, uh, something that you do at lunch or at breakfast or some other time.

But I think focusing in on one kid and having one day that is your day, is a really neat idea.  Teaching children to use positive affirmations will boost their self-esteem and their resilience and their outlook on life. It will really combat their negative self-talk that will come in kind of naturally as they get older and closer to adolescence.

And so it builds a strong foundation for their mental well-being the younger you start, which I know is what you want for your children.  So that’s all for today. I hope that you will take some time to thoughtfully write a few positive affirmations for yourself about the things that you have set as intentions or goals for this year.

I hope you’ll read them every day, even say them out loud so your subconscious mind will get to work making them happen.  And I hope you’ll tuck that little or even bigger baby to bed tonight with words of affirmation that will work their way into that sweet little heart as they sleep.  So that is it for today.

Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time.