Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Affirm Your Life: Your Affirmations Journal for Purpose and Personal Effectiveness - Becca Anderson

Well, it's 2021.  I know we had all hoped that a certain pandemic would be in our rearview mirror by now, but unfortunately it's still front and center in many parts of the world. Sometimes it can be hard to find and/or maintain motivation in the middle of such turmoil.  I thought this book might be a nice way to jump start the year, and perhaps throw a little hope and purpose your way, if you are struggling.

Summary:  IGNITE YOUR PURPOSE.  Do you feel detached from your greater purpose in life?  When times get hectic, it's normal to start feeling unmotivated and to forget to prioritize what's important to you.  Take a breath.  It's time to realign yourself with what truly matters.

Affirm Your Life is filled with confidence-boosting affirmations, thought-provoking writing prompts, and inspirational quotes that will assist you on your journey to peace and purpose. With the help of this guided journal, you will be reminded of the things that bring you inspiration and fulfillment. Dig deep and find the answers -- and corresponding actions -- you are searching for.  

This empowering journal includes:

  • Lessons inspired by one of Becca's favorite books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Prompts for rediscovering your "why" and nurturing your dreams
  • Exercises on thinking abundantly and living in gratitude
  • Activities to identify your strengths and use them for self-betterment
(Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com - Book given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review:  Affirm Your Life by Becca Anderson encourages readers to embrace positive affirmation and self-reflection by responding to specific journaling prompts.  Anderson has been profoundly influenced by the work and wisdom of Stephen R. Covey.  Each chapter of this book is rooted in one of Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, however it's important to note that the author is not trying to duplicate the 7 Habits, but rather uses them as a springboard for deeper introspection.  Bear with me, while I give you a chapter-by-chapter breakdown:

  1.  Choose Your Power: You are a being of infinite protentional. Do what you can.
  2.  Create Your Future: You get out what you put in.  Aim for where you want to end up.
  3.  Make "It" Happen: Put first things first.  Stay focused and keep going
  4.  Think: Abundance:  There is enough to go around.  Avoid comparison thinking.
  5.  Learn Soul Language: Listen deeply and seek to understand.
  6.  No Root Grows Alone: Embrace unity and cooperation. 
  7.  Make Renewal a Habit: Make time to take care of yourself. 

Each section distills a different 'habit' into a few short paragraphs, complete with a personal story to help bring it all home. It also includes a list of relevant, uplifting affirmations, empowering quotes and thoughtful journaling prompts that invite the reader to explore their goals, relationships, emotions, doubts, fears, etc.  

From a structural standpoint, Affirm Your Life is well-organized, aesthetically pleasing, and small enough to fit in your purse or bag. The journaling portion has a design around the edges, with slightly irregular lines for writing that serve as a subtle visual reminder that responses don't have to be perfect. I also appreciated the wonderful collection of quotes designed to help the reader "sow" wisdom in their own life.  Anderson pulled from people like Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Toni Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Thatcher, Anais Nin, Nelson Mandela, Isabelle Allende, Amelia Earhart, Jane Goodall, Willa Cather, Malcolm X, and others.  That many fabulous minds crammed into one book and it's bound to be impressive.

Affirmations are kind of a new thing for me.  Positive ones, anyway.  I have about two decades worth of experience with the negative ones.   I know how devastating negative thoughts can be to my emotional well-being, so it stands to reason that positive ones would work inversely.  As such, one of my favorite parts of this entire book is the affirmation lists, which come with the directions to read them aloud and select one to keep in your mind the whole day.  Taken altogether, the book offers roughly 70 inspiring affirmations to choose from. I had to work very hard to narrow it down, but here are my top 10 favorites:

  • Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.
  • I live a principle-centered life and things and opinions cannot deter me.
  • I am not a victim of the past.
  • I am mindful of where I spend my time. 
  • Boundaries are healthy -- I respect my boundaries and make them clear to others.
  • As I lift others up, I rise with them. We all rise together.
  • I learn so much when I listen without interrupting, and ask questions instead of offering advice.
  • Asking for help is a rally cry for growth.
  • My body is an incredible machine and I treat it with respect.
  • I am worthy of love and joy.

Additionally, one of the exercises at the end of the book is the charge to write your own affirmations.  Many of my responses are too personal to share here, but I will share two of my own:

  • I am enough.  
  • I will engage fully in my own life.

Journaling is something I sort of suck at, but I am trying to be better at doing it, and I feel like the journaling prompts in this book can be approached one of two ways -- as homework to steamroll through or as a form of mental and emotional self-care to be experienced at your own pace -- and how you approach them will determine your experience.  Some of the prompts are serious, others a little off beat, but are enough of them that you can choose the ones that appeal.  It was interesting, if a little discomfiting, to take that deep dive into my life, relationship, and feelings, but ultimately, it was one I enjoyed.  Overall, I think that Affirm Your Life offers an invaluable opportunity to those who are willing to put in the work. 

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader: All clear.

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