You must have a mantra, which is a self-affirmation that causes transformation. Hey! That rhymes. Anyway, I have used many of them through the years. I came up with some examples and why you need them to reach your goals
I stole one from my college friend, Dean, who was dared to ride his bike down a steep hill, onto a pier, up a make-shift ramp and into Lake Mendota. He turned to me before launching himself and said, “I am so massive,” and then flexed his spindly arms for effect.
I think he had used this mantra so many times he convinced himself his massive body could take it. I don’t believe he felt very massive when he hit the top tube on his bike while plunging into the water. OUCH! I used this mantra for years realizing the irony of having an equally wimpy body as I moved boxes and furniture in and out of friend’s apartments.
While attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I lived with three girls in a flat. On the weekends, we would hit those parties that made the school famous or infamous… The next morning (or early afternoon), I would wake up, look in the mirror and say, “You are soooo ugly!” Then I would laugh knowing that the puffy-eyed sleeping on my face-look would dissipate later that day and I would once again resemble my twenty-year-old self. I think I stopped using that mantra in my thirties when the sarcasm began to wear thin.
When my husband, Danny, and I went on our first ski trip together, I was aware that he lived in Colorado to ski black diamonds on the weekends. I didn’t want to sit in the lodge warming my toes for the rest of our marriage so I came up with a new mantra. I said, “I can do this,” while learning how to navigate moguls as big as Volkswagens. After that weekend of face plants, I gazed at my chapped chin and neck in the mirror knowing “I could do this.” After almost 25 years of trying to keep up while skiing off ridiculous cliffs, through glades, and headwalls, I still use it to help gather my courage.
Last year, I toured apartments with my daughter and came upon a self-affirmation that would have been more positive for me when I was in college. As we walked out of a messy bedroom I noticed the mirror hanging on the back of the door. Drawn in red lipstick was, “Damn you’s a sexy bitch.” That would have been so much better than “I am so ugly!”
As I have grown older, my mantras have become more serious. I can no longer tease myself about looking like Hell in the mornings since sometimes I have done nothing more than watch The Bachelor while drinking green tea the night before. That’s when I decided to pull out the big guns. Sometime during the last year I started saying, “I am SO good at what I do.” It just popped into my head one day after baking dozens of croissants without burning them or maybe it was after I planted every last one of the 650,000 annuals I bought. It might have been after I washed my mud-caked car or when I finished setting up my blog on WordPress. I am sure it was something amazing. Anyway, now I use it all the time because I AM so good at what I do.
We beat ourselves up when we make a mistake. “I am so stupid!” Do we give positive affirmations when we accomplish something? Mantras are important. Next time you win a small victory, pat yourself on the back and use a catch-phrase: “I knew I could do this.” Or, “I am BADASS.” Whatever you choose, make sure to say it out loud, even if you’re alone. You need to hear positive reinforcement, even if it’s from yourself.
What’s your mantra?
If you don’t have one, make one up! I dare yah.
Photos by Susie Lindau