Affirmations Don’t Work Like You Think

I'll be honest, I use to think affirmations were a bunch of crap. I'd create these phrases and repeat them to myself a few times a day, however nothing in my world seemed to change.

Until it did.

But what changed wasn't the world, rather it was my understanding of the role affirmations played in my life.

I was reminded of the phrases I learned in AA:

"You can't get to where I am from where I've been."

"This too shall pass."

"It works if you work it."

All of these are affirmations which played a part in my recovery from alcoholism, along with the complete transformation of who I was and what I believed to be true.

The role of affirmations is this: they help to reinforce new beliefs you want to integrate into yourself.

The key word here is want.

If you're perfectly fine being who you are, you may not need them. If, on the other hand, you are unhappy with any part of your life, and have come to the conclusion that something must change, affirmations can help.

So how do you write them? There are many formats, however here's how I was taught by Jack Canfield:

  1. Start with the words I am.
  2. Use the present tense.
  3. State it in the positive. Affirm what you want, not what you don't want.
  4. Keep it brief.
  5. Make it specific.
  6. Include an action word ending with -ing.
  7. Include at least one dynamic emotion or feeling word.
  8. Make affirmations for yourself, not others.
  9. Add, or something better.

The key with affirmations is this: repetition. Let me repeat that - the key to affirmation is repetition. Why? Because to change your thoughts and beliefs requires repetition.

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Vladimir Lenin

To an extent this is true; if you tell yourself something enough, you'll believe it. After all, what are beliefs? Merely thoughts we have told ourselves over and over again until we no longer question them.

When I ran an online marketing firm, I learned you need to show people an advertisement at least seven times for it to fully register with them.

Repetition.

Repetition.

"Natural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest" - Malcolm Gladwell

Repetition.

So write down your affirmations. Put them in Evernote; write them on a notecard you keep in your purse or wallet; or my favorite, print them out and take a picture with your phone and make them the wallpaper for your lock screen so you see them every time you pick up your phone. Then, throughout the day, read them over and over again. Keep hammering them into your head until you can truly believe they are your reality because then, they will be.

Updated on