Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances - to choose one's own way.
- Victor Frankl

As you read this on the screen of a computer, compare the way the computer utilises information to the way the mind utilises information and you are on track to understanding the importance of affirmations.

The information that is keyed into a computer determines how it will generate information. Hit the wrong key, programme the wrong formula, and the computer will respond accordingly. Faulty data in - faulty data out.

The mind - an internal personal computer?
It is believed that 98%+ of human behaviour is based on habit. By putting data into the mind through the use of affirmations habits can be changed.

Programming the mind is not new
This is not a new concept. It has been around since the days of Aristotle who stated "We are what we repeatedly do".

Of note is Emile Cou? a French pharmacist, who became fascinated by the power of the mind in the 1870's and opened a free clinic where he practiced his 'mind conditioning therapy'. . Over the past hundred and twenty years the philosophy has not changed, only the way it is expressed. Emile Cou?stated-

"We possess within us a force of incalculable power, which, when we handle it unconsciously is often prejudicial to us. If on the contrary we direct it in a conscious and wise manner, it gives us the mastery of ourselves and allows us not only to escape and to aid others to escape, from physical and mental ills, but also to live in relative happiness, whatever the conditions in which we may find ourselves."
Emile Cou?br>
Cou? therapy of 'mind conditioning' became renowned for miraculous cures of the body and the mind. He believed, that what was programmed in the mind, determined behaviour and by overwriting negative information (habits) in a direct and conscious manner (affirmations) behaviour could be successfully changed. The well known affirmation 'every day in evey way I'm getting better and better' is one that Cou?used to boost the self confidence of his patients. The use of 'mind conditioning' as a successful therapy to change behaviour has been confirmed consistently by renowned psychologists, motivational authorities and personal development authors of note.

The mind does not recognise the difference between reality and imagination
One of the most effective techniques in which to overwrite the information in the mind is by use of spoken affirmations particularly while visualising the action. The mind does not differentiate between imagination and reality and therefore what is spoken aloud and visualised as action, the mind accepts as reality.

Words are not just words - they are important
When verbalising affirmations words used determine an action. By giving the mind a directive it will respond accordingly. The 'no,no' words are 'try',' I'd like',' I can'. For example if an affirmation began with 'I'd like to change the way I eat' - the mind would respond to the word 'like' and file it under a 'wish list' where it would have no impact on reprogramming. The same applies to stating 'I can'. The mind agrees - yes you can - but what is the next instruction? When are you going to do it?
The directives 'I will' and 'I am' are recognised by the mind as positive action; an instruction to perform.

A common example of negative input:
Quite often a media advertisement will exhort -
'Don't forget to book your tickets to.......'.
In this circumstance the word 'forget' is a good example of a negative directive. The mind fastens onto the directive 'forget' - and obliges immediately.
The substitution of 'remember' would give positive results.

Words reinforce habits in the mind, which determine behaviour and many fine books have been written on this subject, ie: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. Therefore a careful choice of words when speaking or writing is essential to prevent reinforcement of negative behaviour.

Talking to yourself is OK!
"I feel so silly talking to myself when I say affirmations!"
This statement is one of the main objections people have to using affirmations. Because the mind is constantly registering information; sorting, defining, storing, recognising, like a busy computer, proponents of habit reprogramming agree that this mind activity must be controlled in order to access the 'habit center'. To control mind activity, receptors such as eyes, voice and conscious mind are involved with a dedicated task in an environment that has minimal distraction. While hypnotherapy is a similar habit reprogramming tool the advantage of affirmations is that they is are easy to slot into a timetable, cost nothing and do get results.

Once is not enough
It takes two months of effort to noticeably begin to change a habit, and daily repetition of affirmations for this period is a minimum requirement. For lasting results affirmations need to be given even longer to avoid old habits taking precedence again. Old habits are stronger, more set in the mind and can surface to overwrite new habits but the good news is that should a new habit 'fall by the wayside' it is easier to pick it up again, continue strengthening it and bring it to the forefront, as it already has its own slot in the mind.

The imagination - a partner of affirmations
Recent research involving top athletes in the United States confirms the value of imagination (visualisation) to improve performance. This is not a new concept and many successful athletes utilise mind programming to achieve results but the project was set up to confirm the value of what was already acknowledged.

The athletes were divided into three groups. Group 1 continued their usual training programme. Group 2 continued normal training plus visualisation. Group 3 used only affirmations and visualisation. The results were astounding. Group 1 (usual training programme) maintained their level of performance. Group 2 (normal training programme plus visualisation) improved their performance significantly and Group 3 (affirmations and visualisation only) improved their performance to the same level as Group 2 - without physical training. Group three imagined themselves training, competing and winning.

To use the imagination - to see, taste, feel, be there - to step by step visualise the actions - gives strength to affirmations. An exercise used frequently to demonstrate the power of imagination is to place a plank on the ground. A person is requested to walk along it. No problem!The person can easily walk along the plank. Next, the plank is place several feet off the ground and the person is asked to walk along it again. Their imagination begins to take control. They become hesitant and wobble a little- their mind is registering the distance from the ground and imagining what will happen if they fall. If the same plank was placed 30 feet in the air between two buildings, the person would not be able to walk across it unless they were able to control their imagination. Without this control their imagination would create a picture of falling to become a blob on the ground! Remember - this is the same plank that they easily walked across at ground level. Nothing has changed except the minds perception. The imagination is a powerful tool and what is imagined the mind accepts as reality. Verbalising affirmations while visualising actions in detail is a powerful combination.

Affirmations are important
Habits determine the way life is approached . Confidence, energy, discipline, enthusiasm, creativity, punctuality are a few if the habits that can be empowered. For example,habitual procrastination can be altered to effective decision making and action. Giving attention to new habits with affirmations combined with visualisation and action until they become strong and securely programmed is a proven and successful method to get results.

Author's Bio: 

IDynamics Online