You may have heard about affirmations and maybe you doubt they can work for you. You may even be like me tried them a time or two without results. If this has been your experience too: you’re right not all affirmations work. If you’re like me, you probably have tried to used cookie cutter affirmations – ones someone else created. In order for them to be effective, it is important to make the affirmation your own. How do they work? Affirmations feed your subconscious mind about who you are – your identity.
I like to think of the subconscious mind to be similar to the hard drive on the computer and affirmations to be the save button. The subconscious mind accepts messages as literal, only knows the present moment, does not understand what isn’t there, and does not understand vague or abstract concepts. In other words, there is no editing process within the domain of the subconscious mind. Therefore when we craft our affirmations we need to ensure they are concise, present tense, positive, personal and corrective.
To be concise when drafting your affirmations means to exclude obscure words like better. For instance, “I am a better time manager” is obscure. What is better constitutes better? How will the subconscious mind know what that mean? It’s like telling a two year old I need you to do better with picking up your toys. A two year old would have no idea/concept of what better means. Therefore an affirmation like “I am action person, I do first things first and one thing at a time.” would be more concise.
To use present tense means to avoid phrases like “I want to be….”, “I will be……”, “I’m going to…..”, “I want to be……..”, “I am getting……” Other non-present phrases to avoid are “I will……” or “I should….”. Words like can and could or would are to be avoided too. The idea is to train the subconscious mind to think of you in terms of of what you are, right here right now, not what you can be. An example of present tense would be “I am secure and happy in all of my relationships.” or “I am focused an productive and I take positive action every day in my ideal career.”
Be positive because the subconscious mind does not recognize words like not or contractions such as don’t, won’t, can’t, etc. Omit using these words in your affirmations. An example would be something like “I treat myself with care and respect.” or “I write in my journal, take my vitamins, and say my affirmations daily as part of my self-care.”
To be personal and corrective means your affirmations should move you overall toward something better, something you want, or something you want to be. Affirmations are a very powerful tool to help you make the improvements you believe are best for you to make. For instance, let’s say you struggle with exercise and/or weight loss, then the following examples would be personal and corrective: “I think and eat like a healthy and happy 135lb woman.” or “I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes each day to keep myself fit, healthy, and attractive.”
The important fuel needed for affirmations to work is repetition. It takes about thirty days for a new affirmation to imprint on your subconscious mind. I recommend starting with 5-10 affirmations and using them for a minimum of thirty days. I also recommend saying them aloud first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. After 30 days revisit them, you may want to revise some of them, swap some out, or add more. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And, the main thing is to practice, practice, practice saying your affirmations aloud.
Incorporate them into your self talk and be your own biggest fan! Choose to use affirmations to design who you are!