by Che Garman
There are nine rules that should be followed when writing affirmations. I have worded them so they all begin with the letter P, which will hopefully make them easier to remember. Some of these rules are fairly well known, although I have added new information that will make your affirmations work even better. Some rules may be new to you, but they are definitely worth using.
Take the time to learn each rule, and you will have the key to writing affirmations that can't fail!
1 - Affirm in the PRESENT
Keeping your affirmations in the present tense ensures that your subconscious mind goes to work on them right away. Though few would even consider writing a positive self-talk statement in the past tense, many make the mistake of projecting what they want into the future.
Saying “I will …” or “I am going to …” is placing your desire somewhere out there, just beyond reach. Remember, the future doesn’t exist. Change only happens in the present.
By affirming in the present tense it is also easier for you to generate the necessary emotions and visualizations that support your affirmations. There is a great difference between saying “I will be so happy when …” and saying “I am so happy now that …”.
2 - Keep them POSITIVE
Avoid all negative words
Keep words like ‘no’, ‘not’, ‘never’, ‘don’t’, ‘won’t’, and ‘can’t’ out of your affirmations. You need to direct your self-talk toward what you want, not away from what you don’t want. The reason for this is that our words create the mental images that make up the language of our subconscious minds. When we speak of what we don’t want, this is the image that is created, and this negative image is what the subconscious mind works on. By focusing our words on what we do want, we direct the subconscious mind to work on the positive results we desire.
Avoid words that imply the negative
Stay away from words that imply loss, such as ‘get rid of’, ‘give up’, ‘lose’, ‘quit’, ‘stop’, ‘refrain’, ‘avoid’, etc. Do not affirm what you are trying to get rid of, or get away from. Affirm the gain you hope to attain. You want to affirm your ideal weight … not how many pounds you want to lose!
Avoid verbs that imply being without
The words “I want …” imply lack. When you want something, the tendency is to focus on its absence. If you affirm ‘wanting’ something it is possible that being in a state of ‘wanting’, or lack, is exactly where you will stay. Keep away from words like ‘I want’, ‘I wish’, and ‘I would like’. Affirm the positive states of being, doing, or having instead.
Avoid mentioning the problem you wish to change
Words which bring to mind the negative issue you are trying to change should not be used in affirmations. Sometimes this is difficult. It is hard to write smoke-free affirmations without mentioning smoking, but it can be done.
If you are skilled at visualizing, you can try using these ‘problem’ words occasionally. They can be effective in helping you create a vivid image of your problem being destroyed. An example of this would be:
All excess fat is melting away from my body.If you can visualize the above examples with perfect clarity and belief, then it would be acceptable to use them occasionally.
All viruses I encounter are instantly nullified by my amazing immune system.
I am totally impervious to the negative attitudes of others.
3 - Keep them PERSONAL
Affirmations must be for you, not for others
Affirming what others will be, do, or have is a waste of time, because you can only change yourself. Even with the best of intentions, your idea of what is good for another person may not be what they want or need. Confine your positive self-talk to yourself. The only beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that you can change are your own.
Use only those affirmations that feel right to you
Affirmations written by others (such as the affirmations provided on this website) are a good starting point. But always change any words or phrases which you feel uncomfortable with. Ensure that you are affirming at the right level for the changes you are working on. (See The 10 Levels of Affirming.) Create an affirmation that feels right to you.
4 - Be PRECISE
Describe your desires in detail
For affirmations of achievement or manifestation, the more accurately you can describe your desire, the better. Envision the best possible outcome. Describe it in as much detail as possible. Describe all the benefits that attaining your goal would bring. Your subconscious mind needs a clear picture to work on. Vague affirmations will only produce vague results, if they produce any at all.
Comparative words such as ‘more’, ‘greater’, ‘better’, or ‘best’ should only be used if they precede more detail. Using comparative words forces the subconscious mind to compare what you want with what you don’t want, and thus you end up putting as much energy behind the negative as the positive.
Avoid ambiguous words
If your intention statement is ambiguous, it will create ambiguous results. If you are affirming for a larger salary, would you be happy with an increase of 1%? If you are affirming to lose weight, would you be happy if you lost 1 pound? Be precise. Affirm for the best outcome that you feel comfortable with.
Define concepts in your own words
There are many words we use in affirmations that are acceptable, but that should be clarified in our statements. Words like ‘happiness’, ‘health’, ‘wealth’, ‘prosperity’, and ‘success’ are all good words to use. But always go a bit further. Define these words in your own terms. Make your affirmation statements paint a complete picture. The more defined your desires are, the more effective your affirmations will be.
5 - Make them POWERFUL
Use emotive words
The subconscious mind works on those thoughts to which we apply the most emotion or feeling. The more energy and passion you put into your affirmations, the more effective they will be. Use words that inspire and empower you. Use your favorite adjectives to give your words more power. Use words like ‘exuberant’, ‘incredible’, ‘outstanding’, ‘brilliant’, and ‘fantastic’. Use adverbs like ‘lovingly’, ‘passionately’, ‘consistently’, ‘calmly, and ‘joyfully. The more emotion you give your affirmations, the faster they will work.
Create positive statements that excite you
Your new thoughts need to offer a sense of hope and excitement for the future. They need to inspire you to action. They need to keep you motivated. Use your conscious mind to create the perfect affirmations. But ensure that the words you use appeal to your imagination and your heart.
Keep the whole process of affirming as light as possible. Any words that will generate a smile are worth including in your affirmations. Feel-good neurotransmitters are released within seconds of smiling. Even if you don’t really feel particularly happy at the time, the feel-good chemicals will still be released. These same chemicals are responsible for our feelings of well-being, alertness, motivation, and energy. They improve our memory and our mood. So try to include some positive statements that make you smile, or even make you laugh. These will help to create the perfect environment for lasting change.
6 - Make them PITHY
Use short, concise statements
The subconscious mind loves brevity. It doesn’t think in words like the conscious mind does. It thinks in pictures. And it needs time to create these pictures. Short, precise statements make it much easier for your subconscious mind to create the mental images it needs to instill change.
Create an affirmation script
Although you want to affirm your desires in as much detail as possible, it is also important to keep each positive statement as short and succinct as possible. You want to avoid lengthy sentences that will only end up complicating the process. To solve the problem of describing in detail but keeping things short, create an affirmations script. Make each detail a separate thought. For example:
I have a beautiful new home.Pithy also means punchy
My new home is very spacious and open, with many windows and skylights.
My kitchen has the most modern appliances, including an indoor barbeque.
We have six bedrooms – lots of room for family and friends!
I have a large back garden, full of beautiful trees and flowering plants.
I love eating breakfast out on the deck.
I love star-gazing from the relaxing warmth of our new hot-tub.
And so on …
Make your affirmations short, direct, and memorable. Advertisers have known this for a long time. Many successful slogans have been based on this simple fact. Whole advertising campaigns are often built around two or three words. Nike’s “Just do it!”, Apple Computer’s “Think Different”, and Avis’s “We Try Harder” are all examples. In the world of affirmations, we call these short and memorable statements power phrases. Create your own personal slogans. They can be used on their own to trigger immediate changes in your thinking.
Add some rhythm and rhyme
The subconscious mind likes rhymes. Rhymes reinforce our memory and make recall easier. Rhyming gives our mental pictures an auditory and kinesthetic quality. It gives our thoughts sound and movement. Don’t just be thankful. Have an “Attitude of Gratitude”!
Repeating words give rhythm to your affirmations. Émile Coué’s famous affirmation, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better” is an example of using repetition to create rhythm. The more lyrical you make your affirmation statements, the easier they will be to remember.
You can even put them to music. Take a tune from your childhood and change the words. Have fun with it, and don’t worry about what others will think. The ditties or jingles you create are for your benefit alone. No one else need ever know.
7 - Keep them PLAUSIBLE
Keep your affirmations within the realms of possibility
Possible simply means that there is at least some slim chance that you could achieve your goal. If you are 30 years old and 5’2”, no amount of affirming is going to make you 6’ tall.
Know which level you’re starting from and work from there
There are 10 Levels of Affirming. Each level represents where our mind is in relation to the change we are trying to create in our lives. Some of these levels are negative, and although we obviously want to move beyond these as quickly as possible, it is important to realize that these levels are often our starting point.
Begin by accepting that your negative self-talk must be eliminated. We need to let go of the old ways, and welcome the new. Once this has been accomplished, we can move on to more powerful affirmations. We can progress from deprogramming the old to reprogramming the new.
To determine where to begin, look at The 10 Levels of Affirming and find the starting point for each belief you want to work on.
8 - Keep them PRIVATE
Only share your goals with those people you know will be 100% supportive. And, if possible, keep your actual affirmations to yourself.
Be aware that most people don’t like change. As you become a more positive, empowered person, the people in your life may start to feel uncomfortable. You are becoming someone they no longer feel they know.
Sometimes it is just the change that frightens them. But often it is the realization that you now have what they lack. They may try to change you back to the way you were before. This is often the case when quitting smoking or losing weight. Your success makes them feel worse. Don’t be tempted to go back to past habits just to make someone else feel more at ease.
9 - Be PERSISTENT
Chances are you have a lot of ‘undoing’ to do. You have to create new thought patterns, new memories, new attitudes, and new expectations. And the surest and fastest way to do this is through constant repetition. Positive thoughts create positive actions, and positive actions create positive new habits. But this process takes time. And it takes all the focused determination you can muster.
You need to affirm your desires as often as possible. You can’t reprogram a lifetime’s worth of negative self-talk by saying affirmations twice a day. You need to bombard your subconscious mind with a constant stream of positive thoughts, words, pictures, sounds, and emotions. Your goal has to be in front of you at all times.
If you seriously want to change things, you must be prepared to flood your subconscious mind with all the direction and passion you possibly can. Repeat your affirmations every chance you can, until you reach your goal. Persist until you succeed.