Using positive affirmations is an effective way to train your mind for success and achieve more of your goals, but you must follow certain rules in order to experience the true benefits of this form of positive thinking. Many golfers have read about affirmations and tried to use them before, but my experience has shown that the majority break one or more of these key rules which is why they didn’t notice much improvement. This article provides the 5 most important rules to follow to get maximum benefits from using affirmations.

Let’s start with a quick review. Affirmations are specific positive suggestions you say to yourself that are intended to direct you towards your goals, build your self-confidence, and keep your motivated to reach your dreams.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Every time I step foot on the golf course I am more confident and relaxed.”
  • “I am in control of my thoughts, emotions, and behavior on the golf course.”
  • “I swing with smooth, effortless power.”

Rule 1 Affirmations Must Be Positive: The first rule for successfully using affirmations is they must be positive and refrain from using negative programming words. This may seem simple yet it is the rule the is broken the most by people. Everyday I witness golfers mentally sabotage their game by using negative programming words such as don’t, hope, try, if, should, need to, and so on. It is easy to overlook the language we use, but when it comes to using affirmation it is important to keep it positive. Use words like know, when, I can, do, and others that will create positive pictures of success in your mind. It isn’t the words that have power, it is the pictures created in the mind by the words that influence our lives.

Rule 2 Affirmations Must be Stated in the Present Tense: The second rule is affirmations must be stated in a present tense. Instead of saying that “I will be confident”, a more powerful way of declaring the affirmation is stating, “I am confident.” By stating the affirmation in the present tense it sends direct messages to the subconscious mind to be that now. Otherwise, what occurs when using a future tense is the mind asks the question, “When will this happen?”

It is important that when you do affirmations to keep them in present tense and maintain an assumptive attitude that it will be this way. You may not experience the affirmation happening in the moment, but over time this shift will occur and you will begin to experience the impact of the affirmation. However, you can’t program the mind with this tool using future oriented thinking. It’s all about “now” to the mind.

Rule 3 Declare Affirmations Out Loud and With Conviction: Affirmations are most effective when they are said out loud and when you invoke your will power. That means putting energy, belief, and passion behind your words even if what you are saying in the moment isn’t true yet. When saying your affirmations follow these simple steps to get the most benefit.

  1. Stand in front of the mirror and look yourself directly in the eyes.
  2. Project supreme confidence with your body language. So stand tall, shoulders back, and maintain a self-assured look in your eyes.
  3. Say your affirmations in a confident, strong tone of voice, even if you don’t feel it right away. Follow the timeless advice, “fake it till you make it.”

Rule 4 Consistency Counts: The more you repeat the same affirmations, the greater the impact it has on your subconscious mind. Since you are using your conscious mind and activating your will power when using affirmations, it is important to know that it can take a period of 21-30 days of consistent programming for it to bypass the critical factor of the mind and register in the subconscious mind as a new mental program.

In addition, consistency of affirmations activates the law of compounding which simply states that the more the idea is presented to the mind the greater the impact due to reinforcement. What is great about the law of compounding is each time the same suggestion is repeated, it reinforces and strengthens all the other affirmations previously presented to the mind. In just a short period of time, the power of the affirmation grows considerably with each repetition. Remember, for the mind to know a clear direction to move toward, it must be told consistently, until it gets ingrained and naturally moves towards it with little thought or effort.

Rule 5 Time of the Day Matters: Perhaps the most important thing to know about using affirmations to maximize their impact on your mind is knowing the critical times of day to do deliberate mental programming. While it is true that many golfers have heard about affirmations, the point most commonly left out of explanations is the time frame your mind is most receptive to this type of communication and new information. These times of the day are the first 20 minutes after waking up and the last 20 minutes before going to bed.

During these two periods of time, the mind is in a natural hypnotic state and highly receptive to new information due to the natural changes that occur in your brainwaves. Alpha and theta brainwaves are the ones that are most conducive to learning and every morning and night your mind naturally cycles through these brainwaves.

Here is the cycle of your brainwaves go through when you are waking up in the morning. At first you are in delta brainwaves while you are deep asleep and as the brain begins to speed up the activity you eventually transition into theta brainwaves. As you become more aware of your surroundings and prepare to open your eyes, your mind transitions into alpha brainwaves. When your eyes open up, you remain in alpha brainwaves for 20 minutes before your brainwaves go into beta or full alertness. At night the same cycle occurs but in the reverse way.

You can make use of these two naturally occurring self-hypnosis states each day to program your mind for greater success on the golf course using affirmations. Make a 30 day commitment to doing 5 minutes of am and pm mental programming. Trust me your golf game will thank you.

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