This is the first step in our series on health and wealth.

It’s impossible to change your health or wealth without having a good enough reason

In our last post, we introduced you to the 7 steps to health and wealth.  For this series, we’re using the analogy of health which so many of us understand, to understand wealth.  And not only understand wealth, but also to know how to change our current state.

One of my favourite things to do is to watch a great series like Madam Secretary, with a yummy bowl of Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice-cream.  By myself.  I can flatten one of those little tubs NO PROBLEM.  And whilst I know that it’s not good for me, I could happily watch TV and eat ice-cream every night.  But, as a mumpreneur, time is my scarcest possession.  I want to be there for my children and build a business.  And sugar and wheat are my personal health killers.  So an evening of TV and ice-cream is not the best way for me to be healthy and thrive.

And let’s not go there about waking up early in the morning to gym.  My girls bought me pyjamas that say “I love my sleep”.  Less than 7 hours, and I’m as scratchy as they get.  So regularly getting up early to exercise with my own willpower is just never going to happen.

Do I resign myself that I’m never going to be healthy?  That all I’m ever going to be is fat, unfit, on the couch watching TV?  Somehow, that’s way too defeatist for me and a future me that I don’t want to become.  So I need another strategy.

The first step to health and wealth is creating a powerful vision of your future self

For the analytically inclined, that sounds like mumbo jumbo.  But I learnt about the power of affirmations from a man named Lou Tice on a workshop I did while in banking.  As a good skeptic, I needed the science and practical experiences to validate that visualisation truly worked.  And backup I got!  And since then, the proof hasn’t stopped rolling in on the neuroscience behind creating affirmations and their activation of the part of brain called the Reticular Activating System.  Yeah, Yeah… so what?

In short, affirmations encompass three dimensions:

(i) Words,

(2) Pictures and

(3) Emotions.

These are in fact the three dimensions of thinking and more specifically of Self Talk.  Your self talk accumulates to become your beliefs – which you believe whether it’s factually true or not.  For people with dysmorphia, they genuinely obsess that their bodies are large or small, whether or not they are.  Your beliefs become your reality in the formula:

Imagination x Vividness (repeated clear picture with emotion) = Reality.

The stronger, more detailed the picture in your mind is together with the more real the emotions are, the move vivid the affirmation will be.  And the more that affirmation is repeated, the more that becomes part of your reality.

I recently read that people with longer term views of their future have more retirement savings than those whose vision is only the next 1-3 years.  Why?  Because if you don’t have a vivid picture of it, doing what you need to do now to secure a future that you can’t even imagine doesn’t feel worth the discomfort.  Without the vivid picture and the emotions that go with it, you won’t turn the TV off and do the work you need to.  You will keep pressing snooze and never go for the early morning run.  And that one scoop of ice-cream may as well be the tub.

Why the picture of Demi Moore in GI Jane with this blog?  Because my health affirmation is:  “I love my strong, lean Demi Moore body that enables me to live my life with energy, health and passion.”  It’s present tense, as if I already have it.  It is emotive – love, passion.  The picture in my brain is this picture attached.  But it’s not her body I picture.  It’s mine.  Blonde hair and all!  And with that one picture, it embodies the health I strive for.

When I first made this affirmation my body was a wreck having gone through 3 years of fertility treatment.  I could barely do a ladies push up.  Whilst I still can’t yet do a one-armed one like this, I can do a set of men’s push ups, and I have 3 beautiful girls.  By no means is the affirmation the reason for that.  But if you say ‘health’, I have a very clear picture in my mind of the words that describe it, the emotions it illicits, and the picture that represents it.

When I say ‘Retirement’, what is that picture for you?  Can you see where you are, who’s with you, and what you’re feeling? Have you put that into words in the present tense?

Each of my clients get given a moleskin journal.  In it they answer 15 questions.  By the end of it, they have a clearer picture of what a year, a month, a week and a day in retirement looks like.  And I’m always delighted that no matter how resistant they were to the exercise, they always comment on the insights they learn about themselves and their vision through the process.  At every review I have a one pager that summarises their feedback and reminds them of why we’re looking for ways to invest more to ensure they live their best life possible.

So step one:

  1. Write down your visualisation of your retirement or your financial goal.
  2. Be as detailed and specific as you can be
  3. Use imagery – pictures or movies in your mind of what you’re seeing or doing and who is with you
  4. Describe the emotion – what is the mood, what do you feel, what are those around you feeling
  5. Ensure it’s in the present tense
  6. And then work to refine it over time to a sentence or two that vividly encapsulates the goal you have
  7. Repeat that affirmation every day.  Stick a picture of it on your mirror.


Click here the next article in this series on Daily Habits and Mindset