How to Create an Affirmation (that’s Proven to Work)
Understand What Affirmations Are and Establish Your Own
The idea of re-establishing optimism and hope on a daily basis is nothing new – think of morning prayers or meditation, “You’ve Got This!” refrigerator magnets, and vision boards. Affirmations, or sentences created to stimulate subconscious and conscious action toward a goal, are simply additional tools for self-empowerment.
Most people establish affirmations to encourage mindfulness and action, while working toward a growth-oriented goal, often involving deep personal change. But do they work?
Actually – yes! A recent study found that people:
- displayed a change in sedentary behavior, after incorporating an affirmation. In other words, once an affirmation was introduced, there was measured behavioral change, suggesting that affirmations aren’t just limited to positive thinking.
- are likely have greater success when focusing on a future-oriented affirmation (versus something in the past). By linking a positive affirmation with a future outcome, subjects also experienced a bolstered sense of self, before facing a challenge.
If you’ve been looking for a way to actually see change in your life, starting with a simple affirmation may be a huge help in getting the ball rolling, by rewiring your brain for success through action.
How to Create an Affirmation (and Successfully Implement It):
Scrutinize What You Want
Restructuring your subconscious mind sounds a bit intimidating, but it’s actually pretty powerful to realize that, by being specific, you can do just that. Really sit down and think about what you want to feel, perhaps by first acknowledging feelings of lack – how might they be solved? Your specifics may also be focused on growth in a particular area, like finances, health, or success.
For example, if you’re feeling stressed about not having a job, you may desire to find employment, to help you pay the bills and to enhance feeling fulfilled by having a daily purpose and team. Next, it’s time to craft your written statement, using those specifics.
Write It Out
Using our job-seeking example, it’s now time to write out the affirmation as though it is already an integral part of your life. To do this, write in the present tense, rather than simply creating a wish for an undefined date in the future.
Start with the phrase “I am,” and then add on what you desire to be, which might be “deserving my dream job,” (rather than scared that you aren’t good enough). Then, you can add what action is occurring – either internally or out in the world – to make that desire happen.
For example, an affirmation in this case might go something along the lines of:
I am deserving of my dream job. Right now, my dream job is searching for me!
If you have something even more specific in mind – say, for instance, the exact company and position you want – you can make those a part of the statement as well. Some other examples you may use as powerful starting places include:
- I am healthy and vibrant.
- I am living and celebrating in the present moment.
- I am happy for others’ victories.
- I am deserving of love and abundance.
- I am worthy of achieving success.
..and so on, and so forth. Your affirmation may be one sentence, or a paragraph – the sky’s the limit (as long as it’s specific)!
Your affirmation may also be used to describe overcoming an area that is holding you back. Take negativity, for example. If you’ve been feeling like a Debbie Downer lately, maybe your affirmation includes something to the effect of “I am more than feelings of doubt or uncertainty.”
When crafting your affirmation, make it courageous, definitive, and actionable. Establish your affirmation as though it is true today, and your brain will get to work on making that your reality.
Set aside time every day to focus on your affirmation and to say it out loud, for at least five minutes at a time. When we say things out loud, we bravely proclaim to the universe that we believe in our message enough to give voice to it. Even better – repeat your affirmation throughout the day, like when you roll out of bed, or before a big meeting or intimidating event. If you say something long enough – and loud enough – your life starts to shift toward that end.
You can also try writing your affirmation out, during your five minutes, or playing a recording (hello, commuters) and speaking along with your words – lots of powerful options here, so find the ones that you can stick to.
Do Something About It
Weirdly enough, once you start regularly verbalizing your affirmation, your actions naturally evolve to make that idea a reality. As you go through your day, when decisions or simple routine tasks present themselves, and you hear your affirmation echoing in your mind, start to apply the ideals behind your affirmation to life.
If your affirmation is “I am capable of forgiveness,” for instance, honor your ability to forgive those around you and yourself, for example. It may start out as simply as excusing the barista who forgot to make your iced coffee with soy milk instead of regular, but it’s a start with huge ripple effects. The barista has a better day because you were forgiving, and you have a better day because you’re learning about compassion.
When you affirm something, either in words or simply in thoughts, you reinforce the validity of an idea. So, depending on what you say to others and what you say in your own head, you can make a conscious choice to reaffirm positivity (or negativity). Take a few minutes today to really focus on what you’d like to achieve in the future, and craft an affirmation, to ensure you stay focused and optimistic, while changing your own habits and patterns.
Once you’ve created your affirmation(s), stick with them until you start to see the changes you’ve been seeking in your life. Just like healthy eating and exercise, you have to be consistent, to see results. The timetable will look different per person and per goal, but be patient! And when your affirmation has become a tangible part of your reality, you can move on to a new one, or simply add another to your daily affirmations list, if it’s more value-centric than event-based. Here’s to evolving!