Affirmations are a useful tool to help change your beliefs, images and thought processes that may be holding you back from achieving what you want with your life.
In fact, your self-talk is an all-day-long affirmation. As we discovered on the self-talk page unless you are aware of and regulate your self-talk, what you are affirming to yourself may not be the healthiest. For example, how often have you said to yourself "No, I'm no good at ...?" "No, I could never do ...". These are both affirmations, but affirmations that stop Powerful Performance. You want to deliberately design and use affirmations that support you in your personal growth.
Use of positive affirmations and visualization on a regular, conscious basis will support your success. Persistence achieves results much sooner than practicing periodically; practicing your affirmations daily has a compounding effect. Affirmations alone, however, do not guarantee success you also need to take action.
There are nine simple, yet important guidelines that are recommended when creating your affirmations.
- Be Exceptionally Clear About the Real Issue
- Affirm in the Present Tense
- It is All About You
- Engage your Emotions
- Be Positive
- Be Short and Specific
- Be Accurate
- Visualize Vividly
- Make Use of The Very Best Time of Day
1. Be Exceptionally Clear About the Real Issue
Often people develop affirmations around the symptom of their problem, rather than going to the root cause. If you affirm a symptom, rather than the root cause of your problem, you may well find that you achieve results in the short term, but long term the results aren't sustained. For example, say you decide you need a weight loss affirmation to affirm that you have lost 10 kg. Which may be true you may need to lose 10 kg.
But at a deeper level, the affirmation you may truly need is about having a healthy, positive body image. Whilst you may in fact be overweight, you may well suffer from a belief that your body is ugly, that you are ugly etc. So in fact you may well need two affirmations - one about the loss of weight and one about your belief about yourself.
As you begin to write your affirmations, ask yourself, 'what is my real issue?' This may require a great deal of reflection, insight and honesty
2. Affirm in the Present Tense
Affirmations are more effective when stated in the present tense. For example; "I now have a wonderful job" is a present tense affirmation. "I am going to have a wonderful job" is affirming something in the future tense, and even though it is only a subtle shift in the phrasing of the words, your subconscious, like an iPod, only plays what you actually put in there.
Therefore, by affirming "I am going to ..." you may well find yourself waiting a very long time for the results to happen, because you are forever 'going to'. Write it as if you have already achieved it.
This may seem a bit silly at first - as your reality is that you aren't 10kg lighter. However, your subconscious is far stronger than your conscious mind and whatever your subconscious believes always becomes your reality. If ever you have found yourself saying "I don't understand why I can never keep weight off" it may be that your sub-conscious has a far stronger picture of your being overweight than your conscious has of you being at a healthy weight. This technique talks directly to your subconscious.
3. It is All About You
Your affirmation needs to be about you. So it will always include either the word "I" or "me" in it. You cannot make affirmations for other people.
For example you could not affirm: "My team members are open and honest with each other" - this affirmation will never change their behavior. However, if you were to say, "I am open and honest with my team members acting as a powerful role model", then you may well find that your personal change will, strangely enough, have a positive impact on and may lead to changes in those around you.
Other people, reading your affirmations, may think they sound very self-centered and selfish. And that is exactly how they are meant to be - this is a self-improvement project. Not a 'be liked/get others approval' project.
In fact, you may do well not to share you affirmations with other people, particularly if they are likely to put down your efforts or make fun of you when you don't get right what it is that you are affirming.
For example, say you are affirming, "I am calm and patient with the children when they are fighting". Then the children are fighting and you find yourself shouting at them. Your partner may well ridicule your attempts at shifting your behavior - 'Geez, how's that affirmation stuff working out for you!'. Your partner may not understand that these changes do not happen over night. But with persistence and practice, change will occur - just as night follows day.
4. Engage Your Emotions
E-motion = Energy in motion. The emotion fuels the energy to create the result i.e. if it doesn't get you excited; it is not a powerful affirmation. So, get involved; be passionate; use your emotions! Use phrases like: I am delighted, I am so excited, It is easy for me, etc. Bring your spirit and energy in to the affirmation - the stronger the feeling an affirmation conveys, the deeper the impression it makes on your mind and the sooner you experience positive results.
5. Be Positive
Create affirmations in positive terms while avoiding negative statements. Affirm what you do want, rather than what you do not want. For example: "I am never sad or depressed." What pictures does this negative statement immediately bring to your mind? Rather affirm, "I have a positive and optimistic outlook on life". This statement is much more powerful as it is positive and reinforces your desired goal.
The words that you use trigger in your mind emotions and feelings - you want these to be positive and uplifting. The quickest and easiest way to ensure that you write your affirmation in the positive is to identify what it is you don't want and then ask yourself the question: "What is it that I do want?" Write your affirmation from the answer you get to this question.
6. Be Short & Specific
Short affirmations are easy to say, and have a far greater impact at a subconscious level than those that are long and wordy. Keeping them specific and to the point adds power as the idea is uncluttered by unnecessary elements. If need be, have two or three affirmations around the one topic.
7. Be Accurate
When it is appropriate you need to put in numbers e.g. exact weight you want to be, or the exact amount of money you are going to save. Or even the people that you see yourself being with e.g. "I am confident and self-assured whenever I am with Nancy".
8. Visualize Vividly
Now that you have written your affirmation, the next step, to manifesting what you want, is the process of vividly visualizing yourself -- as if you have attained your desired outcome. Because visualizing is so important I've dedicated an entire page to it - so slip on over there to read more about the power of visualization.
I keep my affirmations on small cards in a small flip photo album (along with my goals and pictures of things I want to be, do, have). This goes with me everywhere. So at any time of the day I can flick through it and make sure my thinking and actions are on course.
Affirmations do work, but they take time and belief in their power. If you are just repeating words then your subconscious will take a very long time to get the message. All the steps listed above are important, however using emotion and visualization are critical.
Best time for doing your Affirming & Visualizing
You can affirm and visualize any time of the day, but the very best two times are when you first wake up and when you are just falling asleep.
At these two times of the day your brain is moving in to the Alpha state of consciousness. The time your brain is actually at its most very creative and at its most receptive to suggestion.
In the morning when you awaken refreshed, your mind is more receptive to thought patterns and better able to concentrate and receive new stimuli. Think of your morning affirmations as a set-up for how you will be during the day ahead.
The major benefit of the evening session is that you will continue your affirmation during your sleeping state. This means that the thought process established during your session will continue to operate on a subconscious level during sleep.
They key is: HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOUR AFFIRMATIONS!
Best of luck and enjoy the process.