They can be positive statements that can condition the subconscious mind so that you can develop a more positive perception of yourself. They are known to help anyone who uses them to change harmful behaviours or accomplish goals, and can also help undo the damage caused by negative statements. Statements which we repeatedly tell ourselves (or which others repeatedly tell us) that contribute to a negative self-perception.
For affirmations to work, you need to dedicate time during the day to focus and read them.
Here’s some pointers to help you get the most out of these powerful tools.
1. Think about your positive attributes. Take stock of yourself by making an inventory of your best qualities, abilities, or other attributes. Are you gorgeous? Are you a hard worker? Write it down. Write each quality down in a short sentence, starting with “I” and using the present tense: “I am beautiful,” for example, or “I am generous”. These statements are affirmations of who you are. We rarely focus on those things that we truly like about ourselves. Instead we choose to dwell on things we’d like to change. Using these affirmations will help you to appreciate who you are and will give you the confidence you need to accept your affirmations of who you want to become.
2. Think about what negative statements you want to counteract or what positive goals you want to accomplish. Affirmations can be extremely powerful to counteract negative perceptions you have developed about your appearance, your abilities, or your potential. They can also help you achieve specific goals, such as losing weight or to quit smoking. Make a list of your goals or the harmful self-perceptions you want to change.
3. Prioritize your list of things to work on. You may find that you have a lot of goals or that you need many affirmations. Concentrate on just a few affirmations at a time. Choose those that are most important or most urgent and work with those first. Once you see improvement in those areas or accomplish those goals you can develop new affirmations for other items on your list.
4. Write your affirmations. In step 1, you got plenty of practice writing affirmations based on your positive qualities in the present. You can use these alone as counter-statements, or you can add other affirmations to influence your behaviour in the future. The affirmations you will use to influence future changes should follow the same basic form as those from step 1. They should start with “I,” be short, clear, and positive. There are two kinds of future-oriented affirmations you can use to work toward goals.
- “I can” statements: Write a statement affirming the fact that you can achieve your goal(s). For example, if you want to quit smoking, a statement such as “I can quit smoking,” is a good start.
- “I will” statements: Write a statement affirming that today you will actually use your ability to achieve your goal. So, following the above example, you could say, “I will be smoke-free today,” or “I will smoke fewer cigarettes today than yesterday.” Again, the affirmation should use positive language and should simply express what you will do today to achieve the longer-term goal.
5. Match up some of your positive attributes with your goals. Which of the positive qualities that you affirmed in step 1 will help you achieve the goals you have set? If you’re quitting smoking, for example, you may need willpower or courage, or you may need to reflect on the fact that you are beautiful or that you care about your family. Select two or three of these affirmations to support your goal-oriented affirmations.
6. Make your affirmations visible so you can use them. Repetition is the key to making affirmations effective. You want to think about your affirmations several times a day, every day. There are several ways to do this.
- Make a point of writing your affirmations in a journal or diary each morning when you wake up and each night before you go to sleep. Repeat the affirmations to yourself at these times, as well. Ideally your affirmations should be the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last before you go to sleep.
- Meditate on your affirmations. Close your eyes, shut out the rest of the world, and think about your affirmations. Say and repeat the words, but think about what the words mean to you; think about the future and try to feel the emotions that the affirmations evoke.
- Leave reminder notes in various places. Use sticky notes to write your affirmations (one per note). Make several notes for each affirmation, and then leave these notes where you will see them: place one where you sit at the kitchen table, tape one to your car’s dashboard, slip one inside your desk drawer, or stick one to your computer monitor, etc. Each time you see the note, read it and think about what it means.
- Carry your affirmations with you. Make a list of your affirmations and put it in your wallet/purse. If you need a pick-me-up, or if you find yourself about to waver from your goals, get out your affirmations and read them.
7. Continue using your affirmations. The more you affirm something, the more firmly your mind will accept it. If you are trying to accomplish a short-term goal, use your affirmations until you have accomplished it.
Have fun with this…