How To Create Affirmations – Develop Beliefs For Success

Affirmations, when used consistently, can start to override some of the negative beliefs generated from life experiences and stored in our subconscious mind. Affirmative positive statements can have a positive emotional charge and can create a visual and mental picture may help our brain create new beliefs.

Holding onto negative beliefs about yourself, others, or how the world works is like trying to carry water in a bucket with holes in it, and then being frustrated that the water is draining out. You may be able to get some of the water to the destination, but it is ineffective and will cause you to work harder than you need to. You could try to patch the holes, but wouldn’t it be easier to just get a new bucket without holes?

Often we don’t question our beliefs about the world or our self, we don’t stop to check in and connect the dots that the reason we self sabotage is because of beliefs we may have developed as a child. If you often heard enough “You’ll never amount to anything”, there may be a part of you that is still holding onto that.

Letting go of limiting beliefs and replacing them with positive statements helps in changing your self-image and is simply easier than trying to continue to carry around a bucket with holes in it and trying to make it work.

What Exactly Is an Affirmation

An affirmation is a positive statement written as if the desired goal or outcome is already achieved. Writing the statement as if it has already been achieved creates an internal dissonance that can foster the motivation to achieve the goal.

Our beliefs and current thought patterns and expectations determine our self perception and belief in our ability to succeed.

Affirmations combined with a visual image or representation of the desired outcome, along with the ability to get in touch with the feeling associated with accomplishing the change, can become a powerful part of changing beliefs about our self.

For instance if you don’t think you’re at all athletic, you may not even try out for the softball team, or if a friend wants you to join the kickball team you might feel too self-conscious to say yes even if you want to join. The negative thoughts and beliefs are running the show and keeping you from living your life fully. That is why affirmations can be so helpful in starting to change how you view yourself and your ability.

The key is consistency along with feeling the change emotionally and seeing the desired outcome,

Thought is the process of creating images and forms on the mental plane; these forms (which may be concepts, pictures, words) can then be used to concentrate and direct energy and to liberate the power of will.
David Spanglet, The Laws of Manifestation

Creating Affirmations

Following are the steps to creating effective affirmations.

1. Make it personal. Start with the words “I am……

2. Keep them short, so you could say them without having to read them.

3. Write it in the present tense, describe it as if the outcome has already happened.

Example: I will fit back into my size 10 jeans

I am enjoying feeling comfortable in my size 10 jeans again

4. Describe it in the positive

Example : I will not relapse

I am happy to be enjoying life clean and sober.

5. Include an action word ending in ….ing.

6. Be specific. Remember we want to be able to create a vision or image, vague statements create vague results.

Example: I am happy to be living clean and sober might be specific enough but you can go a step farther I am happy to be celebrating 5 years of abstinence.

7. Include at least 1 dynamic feeling word.such as thrilled, excited, enjoying, exhilarated, peacefully, etc..

Example: I am expressing my true feelings

I am enjoying expressing my true feelings with comfort and ease

8. Affirmations are about changing you and your beliefs, not other people or their thoughts and behaviors.

Example – Johnny is keeping his room clean.

I am calmly and effectively communicating with Johnny about keeping his room clean.

Once you have the wording of the affirmation, think about what it will feel like if this were true in your life right now. How does it feel once you have achieved this.

Do you have sense of accomplishment, are you feeling joyful, peaceful, delighted, confident? Identify the feelings, then think about how your life will be different. What are you doing differently, being more assertive, eating healthier? What kinds of things are you saying to yourself, what are others saying to you?

It might be helpful to write some of it out so it is easier to get into the place of feeling and seeing it in your mind when you say your affirmations. Creating the image and getting into the place of feeling what it will be like is an essential part of making affirmations be effective.

Do Affirmations Really Work

So this might feel like fantasy or imagination, and to some degree it is. The truth though is that the brain will seek the path to whatever you give it. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are a loser, you will focus on the things that keep that belief alive and well. Every time you do something that you perceive as stupid or wrong you will say. “See I knew I was a loser.”

If you can visualize and feel what you want with enough clarity and feeling, the brain will believe it is real.

With affirmations, you will be focusing on thoughts of you as a successful person and the brain will do the same thing. It will start to seek out the evidence to support that you are a winner. You are successful, “see I knew I could do it.”

Although it isn’t a part of the affirmation process you might want to keep a daily success journal, look for the things that are starting to fall in line with this new vision of yourself. Affirmations simply support the fact that everything we create manifests first in our mind before it becomes a reality in our life.

Keeping the affirmations positive is crucial, negative statements will evoke negative images. For instance if you tell someone doesn’t slip or fall, the image in your mind and theirs is likely of someone slipping and falling, the brain doesn’t know how to interpret doesn’t slip or fall into the positive image of being safe.

For example: I no longer eat unhealthy foods (conjures up the image of eating something you would have eaten that was unhealthy)

A better statement could be – I am now enjoying eating healthy fruits and greens, feeling satisfied and nourished.

Tips on Using Affirmations

1. Repeat your affirmations multiple times a day. First time in the morning and again at right before bedtime, and then pick a time or two during the middle of the day. More is better.

2. It is better to keep the number of affirmations down to a few that you use consistently rather than doing a lot of them and then feeling overwhelmed. I would start with no more than 3. If that feels really comfortable you can add one or two.

3. If it is possible say your affirmations out loud, if not repeating them silently to yourself is okay.

4. Close your eyes and visualize yourself living the affirmation as if it were happening around you now.

5. Hear the sounds you might hear, this includes things you might be saying or things other people are saying to you, possibly encouragement or words of congratulations.

6. Feel the feelings you would be feeling when you achieve the goal, the stronger you can feel the feelings the more effective the affirmation will be.

7. Say the affirmation again, and then repeat this process with each affirmation.

Don’t get discouraged if you think you can’t visualize or get a strong enough feeling. Like any new skill this takes practice and you will get better at it with time. If you have been actively in your addiction, you may have learned to shut your emotions down, but trust me they are still there. Just allow yourself to do the process the best you can and see the changes that will come about with time.

Helpful Hints

It might be helpful to write out your affirmations on post it notes or on 3 X 5 cards and place them in spots around the house so you will see them throughout the day. It can be helpful to have the reminder to say them until it becomes a habit.

Each time you say them remember to visualize the outcome and feel the emotions as if it is happening now.

Place pictures of things around the house that help you imagine the desired outcome. You can make a vision board, or even a vision journal that includes pictures that symbolize the desired outcome and include pictures of yourself where possible. If the goal is to become healthy by exercising more, you can have a picture of a 10K race coming up or that is happening with a pair of running shoes, and a trophy for example.

Repeat the affirmations during down time or time when you can multitask easily, like standing in line or while you are exercising or driving.

Make an audio recording of you stating your affirmations and listen to them when driving, when you are falling asleep, or throughout the day when possible.

Examples of Affirmations and Positive Words

I am happily loving myself just as I am

I am calmly trusting myself to be successful with this change

I am joyfully trusting myself to make good decisions

I am easily carrying out all of my responsibilities

I am enjoying loving myself more and having more love to give to others

I am finding all the strength and energy to do whatever I want

I am proudly accepting my 1 year chip for abstinence

I am joyfully looking at my 130 pound body in the mirror

Following is a list of some possible positive words to help you get started with creating your affirmations:

Adoring, beautiful, blissful, calm, celebrating, centered, cheerful, confident, delighted, easily, ecstatic, enjoying, enthusiastic, excellent, excited, exhilarated, feeling, fulfilled, gentle, glad, gorgeous, graceful, happy, hilarious, joyful, juicy, lively, loving, outrageously, overjoyed, peaceful, pleasant, leased, quiet, ravishing, relaxed, serene, soaring, sweetly, stunning, tender, thrilled, tranquil, triumphant, wonderful.

Some Final Thoughts

Affirmations are not new, they have been a tool for change for decades if not longer. Some people seem to have great success with them while others say they are a waste of time.

My perspective is that at the very least they are a way to start being aware of how you talk to yourself, that they will allow you to start to shift towards healthier and more empowering self talk. I also feel like they provide encouragement and belief in goals that you have set for yourself.

I look at it from a Cognitive Therapy lens. The words we use and the way we talk to our self have a huge impact on the choices we make. If you are consistently telling yourself I easily say “No” to my friends when they offer me pot, and it is what you truly want for yourself, that thought will come to mind when you are put in that situation. With that thought in your awareness you can make a decision that fits with the desired outcome.

The problem with not being aware of and identifying beliefs and thoughts is that when you set goals for yourself and start to achieve them that little voice comes in and says, who do you think you are? or Yo know you are not good enough to accomplish that?

If any of this sounds familiar, affirmations are a way of starting to correct some of those false beliefs that are keeping you self sabotaging.

Using the feelings and images of the goal or outcome allows the brain to seek out solutions. If you are stressed and worried about something, you will continue to see the problem and feel stuck. If you look at a goal with the end result in mind, your brain will help you start to generate ideas on how to move in the direction of the change you want.

Finally, a lot of teachers of affirmations suggest that you shoot for the moon and stars. I believe it is easier for the brain to get on board if at least a part of you thinks the outcome will actually happen.

If you are currently making $12 an hour and your affirmation is “I am easily earning $12,000 a month doing work that I love”, you will likely get some resistance. If you believe you can do it, go for it. If on the other hand you laugh at yourself for saying something so outrageous you might want to lower the goal for now, and as you have success with affirmations increase the level of your desire. You may want to start with, “I am easily and joyfully earning an income of $75,000 or more a year, doing work that I love.

Get creative and have fun with the process and let me know your successes.


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