Every morning, I write out three affirmations.
Three statements about what I am trying to become and who I want to be. They are the exact same every morning and I try to make it one of the first things I do for the day. I would say, this is probably the most important practice I build into my rhythm.
Well, because of an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed:
You don’t get in shape accidentally.
Or we could say - you don’t become overweight on purpose.
You might get lucky and experience change through an epiphany, some strike of wonder that pulls the rug out and forces you to see the world differently…though you will still have to lean into that wonder intentionally, over time.
Or you might suffer and, in your complete desperation, have no other option but to change…though you will still have to lean into that intentionally, over time, in order to sustain it.
Because if you want to change and are not intentional you will drift.
And you will always drift away from health and goodness and flourishing. Cars don’t drift along the best route…they crash.
Or as an ancient philosopher named Epictetus says:
“If you doze but a little, all that you have amassed up until now leaves you. Keep awake then and watch your life.”
You are going to move towards something. You are going to change in one direction or another.
The good, beautiful, flourishing direction will only come if you move towards it…otherwise, you will drift.
Every morning, then, I’m giving myself the lens or the filter that forces me to move intentionally to what I see as good and beautiful and true. I start the gift of every day by trying to focus on were I want to steer my existence; of what intentional direction I hope to travel on. All of this begins, of course, with knowing and determining where I want to go - you have to own the vision and purpose of your life. You have to name the mythology of the story you are telling.
But then I need to remind myself of that every single day. Because what you put your attention on will grow. And if you don’t put it on the story you are telling, you will naturally tell another one…an unhealthy, "car-crash of a story" one.
That's why I begin my day with affirmations - so that whatever I do is then guided by where I’m trying to go. It will take years and possibly more than a lifetime to get there, but it keeps me from drifting.
So what are you going to move towards and how are you going to be intentional about getting there?
It might be affirmations, but it might be something else entirely. It might triggers that you set up to keep you on the right track. It might be rewards or accountability or measurable action steps to maintain a focus towards your goal. Whatever it is, simply by developing an awareness that frames your trajectory, your intentionality will keep you following the road.
Today, name what you can do to make sure you stay on that road every single day.