If you’ve ever wondered how to make affirmations work (or work faster) or how to make affirmations more powerful and more effective, this is the perfect blog for you.
To understand what affirmations are and how you can use them to build self-worth, rid yourself of limiting beliefs and reprogram your mind for success and confidence, I encourage you to read my recent blog The Power of “I Am.” It also includes several great examples of affirmations.
Here, I’m going to give you four simple yet essential keys to actually use affirmations effectively.
Why Use Affirmations?
But first, why might you use affirmations? What can affirmations do?
Okay, I’m going to date myself a bit here, but if you grew up watching SNL like I did, you might remember a sketched called “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.”
Al Franken played an unlicensed therapist named Stuart Smalley who would have celebrity guests like Michael Jordan on his show, and have them talk to themselves in the mirror, saying things like, “I am good at putting the ball into the basket.”
It’s hilarious, and worth a watch online.
And of course, it parodied the stereotype of affirmations as something cheesy and hokey.
But truthfully, real affirmations, when used correctly, can be one of the most powerful tools you will ever use for self-transformation and achievement.
When used effectively, affirmations can help you:
- Build confidence
- Overcome stress and anxiety
- Empower yourself to take action
- Shift your mood from “meh” to “awesome”
- Improve your perspective
- Manifest goals for health, wealth, love and happiness
…and much more.
But there are useful ways to practice affirmations, and ways that are ineffective and can actually block you from experiencing benefits.
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when practicing affirmations:
- Getting too focused on the words and not the feelings: the words are just pointers toward the feeling and feeling the affirmation is the most important part. If you get too hung up on the words, or if you’re saying the words without any feeling, you’re missing the point and it won’t work.
- Putting it in the future: when you state your affirmation in the future such as “When I…” you make it a maybe, a hypothetical, a wish, and the goal of affirmations is to make it your reality NOW.
- Using uncertain words: When you vague words like “if” “hope” “wish” “would” “want” etc. you’re really affirming that you don’t fully believe what you’re saying. This can actually undermine your confidence. Wayne Dyer said “you don’t get what you want, you get what you ARE.” Therefore you must become (i.e. feel) like you already are what you’re looking to be and you will become it and attract more of it.
- Framed in the negative (i.e. the absence of something): Statements such as “I am no longer ___” are ineffective because your mind actually focuses on whatever it is you are trying to eliminate.
- Something that doesn’t make you feel good, that you don’t care about, or doesn’t resonate with you: If you’re not invested in your affirmation emotionally and just going the through the motions (or worse yet, affirming something that you have internal resistance to), it is an empty exercise and will not work. Feeling is the language of the subconscious mind and what helps to truly install a belief, so you have to genuinely feel it.
4 Essential Keys to Using Affirmations Effectively
Now, here are the most important keys to remember:
- Keep it simple – Overly wordy affirmations might just confuse you, so choose an affirmation you can memorize and state easily.
- Keep it present tense – Your affirmation should always be stated in the NOW (i.e. “I AM…”) When you proclaim it and feel it as if it already is your reality now, it makes a much stronger impression on your mind and beliefs and will accelerate your positive changes and progress. (See point #2 above)
- Keep it Positive – the presence of something, not the absence. In other words, “I am healthy and energized” is a much more powerful and effective affirmation than “I am no longer suffering and in pain.” (See point #4 above)
- Feel the emotion – words alone, void of emotion, have very little power. Neville Goddard taught that to change your reality and realize a wish, you must “assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.” Realize how it would feel if your affirmation were true right now, and then feel that emotion within you! (See point #5 above)
Finally, here are extra tips for fine-tuning your affirmations to be even more powerful and effective for you:
- Repetition, repetition, repetition –Say and feel your affirmations over and over, every morning, every night, while you’re driving or doing other mundane tasks, and whenever you happen to think of it. It’s a good idea to speak them out loud if you can, but if not, repeating silently to yourself is fine too. The more you practice, the better you’ll get and the quicker it will become your reality.
- Make it easy on yourself – put reminders of your affirmation where you will easily see it, such as a nightstand, on your fridge, in the car, desk, etc. This will cue you to practice it throughout your day.
- Make a habit of it – the more consistently you practice your affirmations, the easier it is to stick with it, and the better results you’ll get. It’s helpful to practice your affirmations first thing in the morning, and before falling asleep at night, as these are times when your mind is most open to suggestion. But it’s good to practice your affirmations throughout the day too. Either way, get into the habit of using your affirmations every day.
For several examples of effective affirmations, check out my previous blog, The Power of “I Am.
What’s your affirmation(s)? Share in the comments!
Be well – Tad