Rethinking Goals to Increase Productivity, Part II: Affirmations

The Power of Positive Thinking Must Affirm Credible Goals.

Successful people set goals, and part of goal setting might be affirmations. The idea is that by affirming something in the present tense—as though it were already happening—one conditions the mind for achieving success. For we folk in the real estate investment game, an affirmation can be used to support financial goals. This is part two of a two-part set of blog posts on goal setting for the New Year (click here for Part I).

If we are affirming goals like, “I am buying 1,000 properties this year,” or “I am improving cash flow by $1,000 per month on each of my properties,” are these helpful things to be affirming? Probably not. They just aren’t realistic goals for most people.

Buying a ton of properties or significantly increasing cash flow are major projects; just affirming them won’t help because they aren’t (yet) true or real. Instead, more credible affirmations might be, “I am making new contacts with potential joint venture partners to help me buy more real estate,” or “I am auditing expenses and monitoring comparable rent for my properties to find opportunities for increased cash flow.”

As with the previous post in this mini-series on goal setting techniques, I’m inspired by David Ward. He’s a lawyer and success coach, and I love his one-page blog posts.

Below, I’m sharing David’s post about productive affirmations to support projects and goal setting. However, here’s the nugget:

“Imagine and affirm something
that is either true or believable
and consistent with achieving the goal.”

Why You Didn’t Win $1.6 Billion in the Lottery

You have a goal. You want to earn $100,000 per month. You phrase the goal in the present tense, as though it has already occurred. “I’m earning a net income of $100,000 per month from my law practice.”

You state your goal as an affirmation. You repeat it often, with feeling, and imagine yourself earning that income.

Since “your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined,” it will help you achieve your goal, right?

Not so fast.

It’s true that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between real and imagined thoughts. It is like a child; it accepts whatever it is told and acts on it, without question.

Many experiments have proven this.

In one experiment, a high school basketball team was asked to shoot free throws and their results were recorded. The team was then divided into two groups. One group practiced shooting free throws; the other group didn’t practice but spent the time imagining themselves shooting (and making) free throws.

After a few weeks, the two groups were tested again. The group that practiced improved their free throw percentages by 28%. The second group, the one that didn’t actually practice, improved their free throw percentage by 25%.

So, why can’t you achieve your earning goal by imagining it?

Because you know it’s not true.

And every time you imagine it or state it as an affirmation, you’re affirming that it isn’t true. You keep reminding your inner child that you’re not earning $100,000 per month, ensuring that you continue to not earn $100,000 per month.

When you focus on what you don’t have, you get more of “not having” it.

The answer is to imagine and affirm something that is either true or believable and consistent with achieving the goal.

Instead of affirming that you’re earning $100k per month, for example, affirm that you are “investing 15 minutes a day to learn how to get better at marketing”.

If that’s true, your subconscious mind will help you get better at marketing. Later, you can choose another affirmation that will help you take things to the next level.

On the other hand, someone just won $1.6 billion and probably didn’t believe it was possible. So what the hell do I know?

Text by David M. Ward, used with permission.

Target Goal Success Dart-board” image by TeroVesalainen used under CC0 Public Domain Dedication.