How to Write Affirmations and Visualize for Success
By Shelley Holmes
Practicing affirmations daily has a compounding effect. Affirmations alone don’t guarantee success, you must take action.
There are 9 simple steps:
Affirmations are a useful tool to help change the beliefs, images and thought processes that you have within you that may be holding you back from achieving/changing/doing what it is you want with your life.
In fact, your self-talk is a an all-day-long affirmation. As we discovered earlier unless you are aware of and regulate your self-talk, what you may be affirming to yourself may not be the healthiest. For example, how often have you said to yourself “No, I’m no good at …?” “No, I could never do …”. These are both affirmations, but affirmations that stop Powerful Performance. You want to deliberately design and use affirmations that support you in your personal growth.
Use of positive affirmations and visualisation on a regular, conscious basis will support your success. Persistence achieves results much sooner than practicing periodically; practicing your affirmations daily has a compounding effect. Affirmations alone, however, do not guarantee success you also need to take action.
There are nine simple, yet important guidelines that are recommended when creating your affirmations.
1.Be Exceptionally Clear About the Real Issue2.Affirm in the Present Tense
3.It is All About You
4.Engage your Emotions
6.Be Short and Specific
9.Make Use of The Very Best Time of Day
1. Be Exceptionally Clear About the Real IssueMany times people develop affirmations around the symptom of their problem, rather than going to the root cause. If you affirm a symptom, rather than the root cause of your problem, you may well find that you achieve results in the short term, but long term the results are not sustainable. For example, say you decide you need a weight loss affirmation to affirm that you have lost 10 kg. Which may be true you may need to lose 10 kg.
But at a deeper level, the affirmation you may truly need is about having a healthy, positive body image. Whilst you may in fact be overweight, you may well suffer from a belief that you body is ugly, that you are ugly etc. So in fact you may well need two affirmations – one about the loss of weight and one about your belief about yourself.
If you only worked on the affirmation of being 10kg lighter, you will in all likelihood achieve that result – only to find some months later that all the weight is back on.
As you begin to write your affirmations, ask yourself, what is my real issue? This may require a great deal of reflection, insight and honesty
2. Affirm in the Present TenseAffirmations are more effective when stated in the present tense. For example; “I now have a wonderful job” is a present tense affirmation. “I am going to have a wonderful job” is affirming something in the future tense, and even though it is only a subtle shift in the phrasing of the words, your subconscious, like an ipod, only records what you put in there.
Therefore, by affirming “I am going to …” you may well find yourself waiting a very long time for the results to happen, because you are forever ‘going to’. Write it as if you have already achieved it.
This may seem a bit silly at first – as your reality is that you aren’t 10kg lighter. However, your subconscious is far stronger than your conscious mind and whatever your subconscious believes always becomes your reality. If ever you have found yourself saying “I don’t understand why I can never keep weight off” it may be that your sub-conscious has a far stronger picture of your being overweight than your conscious has of you being at a healthy weight. This technique talks directly to your subconscious.
3. It is All About YouYour affirmation needs to be about you. So it will always include either the word “I” or “me” in it. You cannot make affirmations for other people.
For example you could not affirm: “My team members are open and honest with each other” – this affirmation will never change their behaviour. However, if you were to say, “I am open and honest with my team members acting as a role model to my team”, then you may well find that your personal change will, strangely enough, have a positive impact on and may lead to changes in those around you.
Other people, reading your affirmations, may think they sound very self-centred and selfish. And that is exactly how they are meant to be – this is a self-improvement project .
You may do well not to share you affirmations with other people, particularly if they are likely to put down your efforts or make fun of you when you don’t get right what it is that you are affirming.
For example say you are affirming “I am calm and patient with the children when they are fighting”. Then the children are fighting and you find yourself shouting at them, your partner may well ridicule your attempts at shifting your behaviour – ‘geez that affirmation stuff doesn’t work too well’. Your partner may not understand that these changes do not happen over night. But with persistence and practice, change will occur – just as night follows day.
4. Engage Your EmotionsE-motion=Energy in motion. The emotion fuels the energy to create the result i.e. if it doesn’t get you excited; it is not a powerful affirmation. So, get involved; be passionate; use your emotions! Use phrases like: I am delighted, I am so excited, It is easy for me, etc. Bring your spirit and energy in to the affirmation – the stronger the feeling an affirmation conveys, the deeper the impression it makes on your mind and the sooner you experience positive results.
5. Be PositiveCreate affirmations in positive terms while avoiding negative statements. Affirm what you do want, rather than what you do not want. For example: “I am never sad or depressed.” What pictures does this negative statement immediately bring to your mind? Rather affirm, “I have a positive and optimistic outlook on life”. This statement is much more powerful as it is positive and reinforces your desired goal.
The words that you use trigger in your mind emotions and feelings – you want these to be positive and uplifting. The quickest and easiest way to ensure that you write your affirmation in the positive is to identify what it is you don’t want and then ask yourself the question: “What is it that I do want?” Write your affirmation from the answer you get to this question.
6. Be Short & SpecificShort affirmations are easy to say, and have a far greater impact at a subconscious level than those that are long and wordy. Keeping them specific and to the point adds power as the idea is uncluttered by extraneous elements. If need be, have two or three affirmations around the one topic.
7. Be AccurateWhen it is appropriate you need to put in numbers e.g. exact weight you want to be, or the exact amount of money you are going to save. Or even the people that you see yourself being with e.g. “I am confident and self-assured whenever I am with Nancy”.
8. Visualize VividlyNow that you have written your affirmation the key to manifesting what it is you want, is the process of vividly visualizing yourself as if you have already having obtained your desired outcome.
Through Visualizing you are able to change your Self-Image. You become so comfortable in it that you begin to act like it. Your brain does not differentiate between vividly imagined events and real events. Visualize often enough and with plenty of emotion attached and your brain thinks that this is real. Which is great when we are plugging positive stuff into ourselves. Not so terrific when we are plugging negative stuff!
Vizualisation is constantly used by elite athletesFor the century prior to Australia wining the Americas Cup (in sailing) in 1983 there was a belief that the Americans couldn’t be beaten. The Coach of the Australian Team did something very interesting.
He got a tape of the Masted Sailing Ship which is just like one of those relaxation tapes with the noise of a sailing ship on it, gliding across the water. Then over the top of that he recorded a narration of the team winning the Cup.
The tape went for about 12 minutes. He got the team together twice a day for five years to listen to that tape (using the mastermind group theory of setting up support and accountability) so that by the time they finally raced the American’s “Liberty” team they actually had beaten them thousands of times before – if only in their minds. They couldn’t imagine not winning. That is the kind of discipline that you need.
The more vivid you make it in bright, living, moving, color the better. For optimum results, use all five senses to work for you in reaching your desired goals. By combining the elements of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch to visualize your desired end-result, it becomes more real to your imagination and, as a result, becomes deeply embedded in your subconscious which, as discussed above, becomes your reality.
We can all visualize, it just takes practice. Sometimes until you get good at it, it may only be words or feelings that come to you. That’s okay but the more you practice the easier it will become. Let me show you how well you can already visualize. If you are peanut or milk intolerant maybe you could use different ingredients – just in case
A Visualization ExerciseClose your Eyes. Imagine walking in your front door, slipping off your shoes and walking through to your kitchen.
As you go into the kitchen you can smell something, quite strong, it could be the smell of garlic or some other herb that you’ve used in your cooking recently. The smell reminds you that you are hungry, so you decide to make yourself a peanut butter sandwich.
Walk over to the where you keep the peanut butter and notice the colour of the cupboard door. Grab the peanut butter and notice the label on the jar. Now walk over to where you keep your knives, open the drawer and pull out a knife. Open the cupboard where you keep your plates, pull one out looking at the colour and pattern of it now, grab the bread and start spreading the peanut butter on the bread.
You also decide to grab a glass of milk, so open the fridge and pull out the milk and get a glass from the cupboard. Pour in the milk.
As well, you decide to put on your favourite cd to listen to whilst you eat your sandwich. So wander over to where you keep your cds and player grab it out and put it on. Turn it up loud, then go and sit in your favourite spot in the house. Now take a bite of your sandwich, how does it taste?
You possibly felt that you tasted, smelt, felt, saw and heard in that small visualization.
Visualize the result of what you want. Say for an example you want to remain calm and supportive of your child when they are messing up. Then in your mind you need to visualize your child throwing a wobbly and you being calm and supportive.
9. Make Use of the Very Best Time of DayWhilst you can (and in fact do) affirm and visualize any time of the day, the very best two times are when you first awaken and when you are just falling asleep. At these two times of the day your brain is moving through the Alpha state, which is where your brain is actually at its most creative and most receptive to suggestion.
In the morning when you awaken refreshed, your mind is more receptive to thought patterns and better able to concentrate and receive new stimuli. Affirming is a terrific set-up for how you will be during the day ahead.
The major benefit of the evening session is that you will continue your visualization during your sleeping state. This means that the thought process established by doing your affirming and visualizing will continue to operate on a subconscious level during sleep.
The last half hour before you go to bed is critical. You are more receptive to messages than at any other time during the day. Science tells us that when we go to sleep our conscious mind clicks off and our subconscious mind clicks on and begins to entertain itself for the rest of the evening. Studies have also shown us that we go over what we recorded during the day 3-5 times during our sleep that night. But this is the really exciting part – what we did in our last 30 minutes we replay 15-17 times during the night.
The third time that is very effective is at lunch-time which is kind of like your mid-course correction.
Success TipsI keep my affirmations on small cards in a small flip photo album (along with my goals and pictures of things I want to be, do, have). This goes with me everywhere. So at any time of the day I can flick through it and make sure my thinking and actions are on course.
Affirmations do work, but they take time and belief in their power. If you are just repeating words then your subconscious will take a very long time to get the message. All steps listed above are important, however using emotion and visualisation are critical.
Best of luck and enjoy the process.