Everyone has different goals to master in order to achieve our personalized vision of success. We may want to increase our self-confidence, motivation, commitment, passion, and drive or we may want to increase our ability to perform specific skills such as: public speaking, networking, writing, time management, decision making, or the mastery of other skills directly linked to our individual goals. In order to perform at our peak, we must understand two primary truths about our ability to achieve success.

Fate does not determine our future: our thoughts do!

In order to be motivated to reach our goals, we need to know that the things we do impact our world. It is a fundamental human truth that life does not just happen to us, we actually control the events in our lives. It is the power of our thoughts, our decisions, and our behaviors that direct the course of our lives. We are ultimately responsible for the situations that we find ourselves in, be they good or bad. This understanding increases our personal power exponentially. Knowing that our actions will be productive gives us the motivation to make the effort to alter the circumstances in our lives.

We can develop those skills we need to succeed!

In order to be motivated, also we need to believe that we can perform in a manner that allows us to reach our personal goals. Not only can we create our circumstances but we can learn to become more effective in the process. To do this, we must get into a positive frame of mind about our abilities. This is best accomplished by focusing more on our talent than our perceived deficits. We need to understand that failures are simply learning opportunities that give us the chance to shine brighter next time. Failure does not reflect on a person: Failure only provides teaching moments and opportunities to reflect on how to better succeed next time. Setbacks are only challenges to overcome.

Success is a cycle.

The more we try at something, the more apt we are to experience success. Success is self-propelling: The more successes that we experience performing a certain task, the higher our belief in our ability to succeed and the more motivated we become to set new challenging learning opportunities. This creates a cycle of success.
In order to perform at our peak level, we must believe that we have both the ability to influence our environment and the capability to perform the behaviors necessary to achieve our goals.
People who do not belief that they can create change in their environment become helpless, unmotivated and stuck in a cycle of negativity. This negativity causes them to think more about their failures, which causes them to doubt themselves, which causes them to be less committed to their goals. This lack of commitment, in turn, increases their odds of failure which compounds the cycle of negativity.

Self-belief is the foundation of success because it fosters positive thinking.

By believing in our ability to create change within our lives and our ability to learn the skills necessary to facilitate such change, we develop the courage to hold high aspirations for ourselves and become committed to our personal goals. Self-belief allows us to see failures as learning opportunities that help us do better in the future. A high level of self-belief creates a positive attitude which enhances our motivation to overcome possible obstacles and achieve success. Self-belief increases our motivation towards goal accomplishment.

We can learn to believe in ourselves through practice or visualization.

There are two primary means to improve our self-belief: through personal experience or vicarious experience. Since success is a cycle, we can improve our sense of self-belief by remembering or imagining ourselves engaging in successful experiences. The more success we encounter with an activity, the more apt we are to belief that we can succeed in that realm. Similarly, the more other people model successful behaviors for us, the more likely we are to believe that we can succeed. The secret to success see ourselves in a positive light. Once we combine our positive sense of self with aspiring goals and the ability to learn from failures, we can become an unstoppable force propelling ourselves forward.
One way to strengthen self-belief is to remember an experience in which we felt confident about an accomplishment and attach those feelings to our current situation. To be sure, the most powerful affirmations come from affirming our own past successes.
Unfortunately, the reverse process often occurs. Rather than use the power of visualization to increase our opportunities for success, we often use the power of mental imagery to inadvertently create self-limiting beliefs which, in turn, limit our options and lower self-belief. In this way, we can easily hypnotize themselves through our own negative self-talk to diminish our perceptions of our ability and capability to reach our goals. For some of us, negative self-talk manifests itself most during times of stress.
Other people find it to be a form of continuous and automatic inner commentary. Negative thoughts, unfortunately, often moves people towards negative results.

Self-Talk Matters!

We can identify our own fears and those of others through negative self-talk. While many people fear failure, many others fear success. The fear of success is, ironically, one of the most common fears that people face. Success creates the possibility of change and the movement away from the familiar. Although people desire to be a success, they realize that by achieving one’s goals, one enters the unknown and is bound to experience transitory change. One of the ways that we can help ourselves and others build their sense of self-efficacy and gain confidence about their ability to handle new situations is through positive thinking and auto-suggestion. Just as negative thinking often moves people towards negative results, positive thinking tends to move people towards positive results.
Every thought and every image that grabs our attention creates a mental imprint on our mind. As we live our daily lives, our subconscious mind records our individual experiences and create beliefs based on these experiences. These beliefs, in turn, influence our behavior. In this way, our brains are similar to a computer in that the subconscious mind functions strictly from the information programmed into it.

Our thoughts impact our overall mindset.

Our conscious mind determines what information is programmed into the subconscious. Most of the information we take in from our environment filters through the evaluative processes of the conscious mind before reaching the subconscious. That information can be influenced by our perception of events. In order to cope with large amounts of incoming information gathered by our eyes, our ears and other senses, our mind deletes, distorts, and generalizes information based upon our internal filters. These filters are further influenced by our personal values, belief systems, attitudes, past experiences, emotions, moods, and attitudes. Just as the conscious mind colors facts based upon our perceptions, it can also distort facts based upon invented or imaginary information. Without a doubt, information derived through the imagination is much more powerful than information realized through facts or data. Our conscious mind is secondary to our subconscious mind. This is why willpower often fails; the will of the conscious mind will often conflict with the vision of the subconscious imagination. Whenever there is a conflict between the will and imagination, the subconscious imagination takes precedence.

Because our conscious mind filters information before it reaches the subconscious mind, it is important to suspend the critical factor of the conscious mind in order to allow affirmations to be accepted easily into the subconscious mind. All human behavior is adaptive. People do certain things because their conscious mind believes that their behavior is helpful to their state of being. Everything we do is due to our mind’s interpretation and perception of our life experiences. In order to change our conscious behavior, we must change our subconscious thoughts.
The human mind cannot accept conflicting ideas. It is impossible for our mind to accept two opposing ideas. Therefore a new thought, once accepted into the subconscious mind, will replace a previously held one. Since the subconscious mind directs the behavior of the conscious mind, altering subconscious beliefs will ultimately alter conscious behavior. If a person repeatedly thinks a specific thought, this thought will eventually break through to the subconscious mind. That is how affirmations can work to change conscious habits.

Affirmations are verbal, mental, or written statements which are repetitive in nature. They are created for the purpose of producing a desired outcome, often with the intention of changing current beliefs, adding new beliefs, or altering the importance of existing beliefs. Our view of ourselves will ultimately change our actions and our behaviors. Subsequently, the primary goal of using an affirmation is to implant a new idea, contained within the affirmation, into the subconscious mind so it can replace an undesirable thought. The thoughts that fill our mind influence our attitudes and our behaviors. For this reason, what we think about tends to come to fruition. The more we think about a specific thought, the more likely it is to become embedded into our subconscious mind. The goal is to allow the new belief to become etched in our inner mind, to permit it to become an automatic process that is so well rehearsed that it begins to operate on its own, without our conscious attention, without effort, and to ultimately become an intrinsic part of our being. Affirmations allow people to alter those modes of thinking that no longer work for them and serve to empower us to take the actions necessary to move beyond the fear that holds us back and step into the future with confidence.