As the month of August winds down, and with it comes the end of the 100 Mile Walking Challenge, it is time to step up to a new challenge. This post will tell you about the exciting, new challenge I have for all of you for the month of September.
Those of us who have been on our personal journeys to better health for a while know that becoming more healthy isn’t just about pounds and inches. Those tangible measures are important, but they really only tell part of the full story. To be truly healthy, we have to make sure that our mind and spirit are healthy as well as our body. We have to have it all in balance, as I wrote about in my other blog, in order to have success. The September challenge will work on the other side of the scale, on our mental and spiritual health
Introducing the 30 day affirmation challenge!
For the entire 30 days of September, I am challenging all of you to write down one, heartfelt, genuine, meaningful self-affirmation. Each one must be distinct from the ones before it.
One of the things I see people who are struggling to lose weight have difficulty with is negative self-talk. When things aren’t going our way on the scale, with the tape measure, or in the gym, we tend to get down on ourselves. That tendency starts a vicious cycle where we can sometimes spiral out of control. What starts as a minor pot hole in the road can turn into a chasm-like sink hole that swallows up all of our previous good work. This challenge is designed to help break that cycle, and to arm us with a set of affirmations that we can call upon in the future when times are tough.
Here is how to do it.
When I used to teach the Dale Carnegie class, we had a whole session dedicated to teaching people how to give compliments to others. We told our class members that to give dynamite compliments, we just needed to remember the word TAPE. That word would tell us what the 3 kinds of compliments are, and how do deliver them with pizazz.
T – Things. The easiest, and most commonly given compliments are those about a person’s things, or possessions. We often will tell our friends that they have a lovely home, a great car, or a nice TV. At this level we also might compliment a person’s outfit, or even their appearance. The truth is that I don’t need to know much about you to compliment your things, I just have to be observant. When these compliments are given with sincerity, they are well received. We all like being complimented on our things. But, there can be more!
A – Achievements. A coworker really brings home a difficult task or project, and receives some recognition for it. We will want to congratulate them, and compliment the hard work that went into that achievement. Perhaps they finished a degree, or attained a certification. Maybe they reached their weight loss goal, or finished a walking challenge. Whatever the case, people really appreciate when their achievements are noticed. To give an achievement based compliment I do have to know a bit more about you than would be visible as you walk in the door. I have to know what you’ve been working on, and why it is important to you. All of us will swell a bit with pride when someone compliments us on our achievements. But, there can be more!
P- Personal Traits or Characteristics. These compliments are the gems. To compliment a persons personal traits, I need to know them in more than a passing way. I have to know how they act, what their character is like. When we receive a compliment that praises our dedication to family, our work ethic, our charitable nature, and so on, we really feel appreciated. These are the best, and deepest kinds of compliments to receive. And there is just one more thing you need to know and that is…
E – Evidence. If you want your compliment to really be touching, whether it is any of the types above, you will want to back it up with some evidence. Telling a person that they have a great work ethic is nice. Citing specific examples where they went the extra mile makes it truly a diamond.
That’s it. That is how to give compliments. Now, the challenge is to turn this complimenting power inward. For the month of September, I challenge all of you to write a heartfelt affirmation, or compliment to yourself. I really want you to write it down somewhere. If you are like me, you have a stack of 3”X5” cards on your desk, or a Post-It pad. These are perfect for writing out your affirmation. Or maybe you have an app on your phone that you can use to capture it. The important thing is to write them and keep them somewhere handy so you can see the sum total of the affirmations for the month. You don’t have to tell anyone what the affirmation is, you can keep it totally to yourself. I do plan to publish at least some of mine, but that is my choice, you may choose differently.
If you find yourself stuck on a day, then I want you to reach out to a friend or family member and ask them to help you out. Tell them what you’re doing and why you want them to give you a heartfelt compliment. Make sure you give them the option to think for a bit, but then sit back and be prepared to be amazed.
One final word on compliments. There is only one way in all the world to receive a compliment, and that is to say “Thank You.” You may be tempted to deflect the compliment, or to minimize it. DON’T. A compliment is a gift. When someone takes the time to give you one, it is just like if they went to the store and bought you something for your birthday. If they did that, and put a bow on it, and you minimized it, they’d feel badly, and would be less likely to give you a gift next time. The same is true with compliments. When we deflect or minimize, we are actually insulting the person giving the compliment. None of us want to insult anyone, so when someone compliments you, just say “Thank You.”
Who is up for this challenge? If you take on this challenge, and you complete it, you will end the month of September with 30 great affirmations about yourself. Trust me when I tell you, it’s going to feel great. Are you in?