Affirmations: Super Woo or Super Powerful?

Black door with sign "Be Optimistic"
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You’ve probably heard that affirmations can help you be more motivated and successful in meeting your goals. But did you know that there are some ways you can supercharge your affirmations to make them even more powerful, even transformative?

Say you want to lose weight and get fit. If your affirmation is “I will lose weight and go to the gym every day,” how does that make you feel? There’s a heaviness in the energy of that statement that’s not very motivating. It focuses on the negative aspects of your goal (the need to lose weight and the obligation to go to the gym) and pushes the goal out into an indefinite future.

Then there’s how our brain works. When we are familiar and comfortable with an idea, we judge it as less risky.  We also believe ideas that are more popular and widespread in the masses. We’re more likely to believe statements that are easy to understand and process. If it’s tricky, we get lost. Recipes written in difficult to read fonts are perceived as more difficult. You can see how we filter information to preserve our energy.

An easy hack for becoming more familiar with an idea is to repeat it often. The more comfortable with an idea you are, the more solidified as a “fact” it becomes believable. (Side note: this is why advertising works so well. In randomized control trials, people were more likely to believe things that they’ve been exposed to repeatedly. I’m looking at you 24/7 news media.)

You can use these five steps to turn your affirmations around and make them high energy and motivating.

 

1. Make Your Affirmations Active and in the Present

Your affirmation should always be in the present tense as if they’re already happening. Make sure you use “I am” rather than “I will” statements. Using active verbs keeps the energy upbeat and your focus in the present moment. So, now your affirmation starts “I am [positive verb] …”  Is this a little awkward? At first. But then as you become more familiar, I promise it becomes commonplace.

 

2. Include Positive Emotions

Think of how you want to feel when you reach your goal. Are you happy? Proud of yourself? Relaxed? Grateful? Make sure your affirmation makes you feel good when you say it out loud.

 

3. Keep it Short

Make your affirmations brief and memorable. Concise, focused statements are easier to remember.

 

4. Keep it Positive

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Think of the positive result you want to achieve. When you say the negative “I want to stop working so much” “I want to lose fat” you are solidifying “working” and “fat” rather than what you actually want: health, feeling good, sexy.

 

5. Switch up Your Affirmations

Have a look at your current affirmations and see if they are working as well as they could be. In the example above, you could refurbish it into something genuinely motivational.

Instead of “I will lose weight and go to the gym every day,” let’s make it something that will make you feel good.

“I am enjoying getting slimmer and fitter every day.”

“I am feeling stronger and healthier by choosing a healthier lifestyle.”

“I am joyfully and easily helping my body to get stronger and slimmer every day.”

 

6. Write it, Daily

When we write we use two parts of our brain. We use the spatial part of our brain to write and the verbal part of our brain to compose meaningful words and phrases that make sense. Tying these two acts together strengthens how information is stored in our memory. But there’s something else going on, too. When we write something down, research suggests that as far as our brain is concerned, it’s as if we were doing that thing. Whoa.

 

Play around with the words until they feel right for you. Just keep your affirmation in the present, focused on what you want and what feels good.

Write and repeat your affirmations at least three times a day and look forward to manifesting the life you want.