Just as you acknowledge your big successes, you need to acknowledge your small successes, too. The Mirror Exercise is based on the principle that we all need acknowledgment, but the most important acknowledgment is the acknowledgment we give ourselves.
The Mirror Exercise gives your subconscious mind the positive strokes it needs to pursue further achievements and it helps change any negative beliefs you have toward praise and accomplishment, which puts you in an achieving frame of mind.
Just before going to bed, stand in front of the mirror and appreciate yourself for all that you have accomplished during the day. Start with a few seconds of looking directly into the eyes of the person in the mirror—your mirror image looking back at you. Then address yourself by name and begin appreciating yourself out loud for the following things:
- Any achievements—business, financial, educational, personal, physical, spiritual, or emotional
- Any personal disciplines you kept—dietary, exercise, reading, meditation, prayer
- Any temptations that you did not give in to—eating dessert, lying, watching too much TV, staying up too late, drinking too much
Maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the exercise. When you’re finished appreciating yourself, complete the exercise by continuing to look deep into your own eyes and saying, “I love you.” Then stand there for another few seconds to really feel the impact of the experience—as if you were the one in the mirror who had just listened to all of this appreciation. The trick during this last part is to not just turn away from the mirror feeling embarrassed or thinking of yourself or the exercise as stupid or silly. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to let your family members know that you are doing this so you can be completely alone and uninterrupted during this process.
Here is an example of what your exercise might sound like:
Jack, I want to appreciate you for the following things today: First I want to appreciate you for going to bed on time last night without staying up too late watching TV so that you got up bright and early this morning and you had a really good conversation with Inga. And then you meditated for twenty minutes before you took a shower. You helped your office staff get clear on some of the blocks that were holding them back. You ate a really healthy lunch of soup and salad and you decided to pass on dessert! You drank 10 glasses of water. And then…let’s see…you finished editing the new additions to the 2011 Train the Trainer Program, and you continued planning for the upcoming workshop in Maui to be held mid-month. And now you are going to bed at a good time again and not staying up all night surfing the Internet. You were great today.
And one more thing, Jack—I love you!
It’s not unusual to feel silly, embarrassed, like crying, or just generally uncomfortable. Hang in there. It gets more fun the more often you do it—and you deserve it!
I also challenge you to appreciate 3 people a day for the next 30 days and notice what the produces internally and externally in your life. Verbally or in writing, share with 3 people a day how they’ve made a positive impact on your day. You’ll be amazed by the results. Have a great month!