As I get older, I seem to need more days where I can feel like I’ve actually made a difference in the world rather than just meet my quota of dogs groomed. It might be that as I get older, I really enjoy having a sense of accomplishment and I like to feel that my efforts have actually mattered. Maybe because as I stare down at the Big (Gulp!) 5–0 next year, I want to be sure that I leave a substantial mark on this planet that we call home. This is why I now start all my days, “Declaring!”

Let me explain. I have always been fascinated by watching people. No matter where I am, I enjoy watching people interact with one another and love to hear what they’re talking about. It’s just what I do when I’m out in public. It’s fun to see the dynamics of other married couples and friends. This got me interested in discovering how the human brain works. Did you know that the most influential voice that you will ever hear is your very own? It’s true. The words that come out of your own mouth about yourself will always have the most influence over what you do.

According to scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI), our brains use a filter called “Efficient Selection.” This mechanism routes important sensory information to higher–order perceptual areas of the brain while suppressing disruptions from irrelevant information. In other words, whatever your main focus is, your brain will start to sort out all other things to prove that belief as true.

Things like, “I’m so fat, I’m so broke, I don’t want to go to work” are things we tend to say without thinking. But, once you get the hang of declaring, and train your mind, things seem to fall into place a little better and you may notice your day going a little smoother. It gets easier the more you become consciously aware of what comes out of your mouth. Remember when you uttered the words, “I’m a ‘PROFESSIONAL’ ” for the first time?

So, where does a person start speaking positive things about themselves where another person wouldn’t think they were stark raving crazy? I have found the very best place to speak my declarations is in the car when I’m alone (not counting the Standard Poodles in the back seat!)

When I decided to experiment, what were some things I could say? “SERENITY NOW!?” Like George Constaza’s father from an episode of Seinfeld? Or, like Bugs Bunny when he decided to impersonate Elmer Fudd? “I’m Elmer J. Fudd. Millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht.” Just starting out with simple phrases like, “This will be a good day. I am capable of being positive today” is good enough.

It feels funny at first, but once you get the hang of saying good things about yourself, you can go with, “I am amazing. I am healthy. I am strong. I am happy. I make a good living.” The key is to speak in the now. Your brain won’t know the difference because eventually, it will start to look for ways to prove the things you say are true.

Since I’ve started declaring, I have been more energized, and the burnout I had been experiencing has subsided. I run my business with a new outlook. I don’t think that’s an accident. And, I’m not even perfect at it yet. I do admit, there are just some days that can get me unglued. This is when practice is key. Once our minds start focusing on the negative, it’s an easy downhill ride from there. It’s even harder if you have allowed yourself a pity party. We all have. The beauty of declaring is that you’ll always end up with a new day. And that’s a good thing!

So, do me a favor. Tomorrow morning, while you’re in the shower, HV–ing a dog, driving to work, or working alone, try it. It’s not rocket science. We groomers are an amazing breed of people who make a living at creatively twisting our bodies underneath dogs all day. You have nothing to lose, except maybe some negativity in your life. ✂