Last Updated on October 2, 2020 by Kari
I think people hear about positive affirmations and associate them with self-help fluff, so they don’t even bother using them. But, what I’ve realized is that you are affirming negative and positive things to yourself every single day, and it’s impacting your life.
For instance, if you affirm to yourself that work sucks a bunch of times before you go into work, it’s probably going to suck. (I speak from experience here!) You may go in and try to make it awesome, but if your overriding affirmation is that work is a bunch of crap with a bunch of crappy people, then you are going to have a crappy day. Alternatively, if you affirm to yourself that work is a great place where you get to do great things (again this comes from experience) your whole attitude and experience with work can change.
If You Are Going To Affirm Stuff, Why Not Make It Positive?
Since you are affirming stuff to yourself anyway, why not make it positive? In my experience, when you affirm positive things, your mood becomes more positive, and eventually, your life starts to shift because your behaviors and mindset shifts.
Saying positive affirmations doesn’t mean that you need to tell yourself everything is great. If life doesn’t feel great, then a positive affirmation that is too positive will feel like a bunch of crap.
But, you can tell yourself better, more positive things, such as “I’m working on making my life great” or “I have so many choices that can help me live a happier life”.
Realistic positive affirmation can help you to realize that you are not stuck in life. There’s potential for something different or something more.
Positive Affirmations Shouldn’t Be Unrealistic
I tend to look at positive affirmation as stepping stones. They are not magical words that elevate you to a whole new level of experience. Instead, they offer a step that you can take to move towards a new place.
For instance, if you hate your job, then an affirmation that you are working at your dream job is unrealistic. It’s not going to magically get you a dream job and it’s likely going to piss you off as you say it because you know darn well you are not in your dream job.
But, an affirmation that you are actively looking for a new job is much more beneficial. It provides a step up from where you are now and helps you affirm to yourself that you are actively doing something to move up and away from a situation you don’t like.
You could also say:
- I’m working on finding a better job.
- Soon I will have a better job.
- A better job is out there waiting for me to find it.
- I appreciate having a job while I look for a better job.
You have to have some level of belief in the affirmation already, which is why those affirmations work. Everyone can actively look for a better job, so it’s in your power, which makes it believable.
When you find positive affirmations that move you up a step or two in your beliefs and actions, you will feel good when you say them. They will make you feel optimistic and on track and hopeful.
Note: Studies have found that sometimes positive affirmations can do more damage than good. One study done at the University of Waterloo found that when people said things that were drastically opposite of their beliefs, they felt worse. For example, when someone said, “I am loveable”, they felt worse about themself because that affirmation contradicted their self-perception. This is why it’s important to say affirmations that feel real and can move you up to the next step. You don’t need to completely change your beliefs right away. You can slightly change your beliefs and keep moving up the staircase to better and better affirmations.
When Should You Say Positive Affirmations?
I’ve found that saying positive affirmations as soon as you wake up is essential. How you talk to yourself in the morning can set up the day to be good or bad.
For instance, if you wake up and complain about the day ahead, your mind becomes focused on things you don’t like or want to happen, and that’s what you see. Everything that happens gives you something else to complain about because that’s the state of mind you are in. But when you wake up and affirm that it’s going to be a great day, you tend to look for the good things. Even if you spill your coffee all over the place, your mindset keeps you looking forward to the good things that are coming.
However, saying your positive affirmations all day is important. You want to drill your new, positive affirmations into your mind so that they become a part of who you are. You want to develop the mindset and beliefs around the positive affirmations, so the more you say them, the better.
For me, I always say them when I need to hear them the most. For instance, if I’m trying to affirm to myself that I enjoy a new habit, I say the positive affirmations I’ve created when I feel resistance towards that new habit.
How Quickly Will Positive Affirmations Work?
I have found that some positive affirmations work much quicker than others. Sometimes an affirmation can quickly be adopted into my mindset, while other times I need to say them much more in order to override a strong affirmation that I already have.
I think it depends on how strong your belief is when it comes to the affirmations you are trying to override.
For instance, when I quit smoking, I affirmed to myself that I enjoyed being a non-smoker. I did enjoy not being a slave to cigarettes, so it was a positive affirmation that I believed. However, I had spent years telling myself that I loved smoking, so I really needed to override that affirmation with my new one, and it took a lot of saying it to really believe it, even after I had quit smoking and knew I would never go back to it.
But, I’ve seen some people who adopt a new affirmation very quickly despite having an opposite belief for a long time. They desperately wanted to believe something new, and so it isn’t that hard for them to do that.
It also depends on what happens in your life. For instance, if you tell yourself that you deserve a raise, and then your boss suddenly talks about how great you are doing, then your positive affirmation is going to stick much faster than if your boss tells you that you are doing a lousy job.
Make Your Own Positive Affirmations
You can find a ton of affirmations online already made for you. This is one of the reasons I like Subliminal Guru so much. They already have all the positive affirmations you need into one session. And, with Subliminal 360, you can make your own positive affirmations.
But, it’s important to note that premade positive affirmations may not work for you. A positive affirmation that will work has to resonate with you, so sometimes the only positive affirmation that WILL work is one that you create.
Focus On Making Your Positive Affirmations In The Present Tense If You Can
Another important thing to remember about positive affirmations is that you need to focus on today when you word your affirmations. This means no affirmations that start with ‘I will’ or ‘I should’. They have to start with ‘I am’ or ‘I do’ to be in the present tense.
You want to focus on today, not someday. If you create positive affirmations that start with ‘I will’ then you will put off the behaviors, mindset, and action needed to make your positive affirmations come true.
For instance, ‘I will look for a new job’ and ‘I am looking for a new job’ have a very different feel. Saying ‘I will’ lets you off the hook for doing something at the moment and saying ‘I am’ puts some responsibility on you to take action.
How I Build New Habits With Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are essential for my habit formation.
First, I decide what habit I want to build and then I create positive affirmations around that habit.
For instance, during the romantic month of Lifebook membership, my husband and I wanted to incorporate date nights twice a week. We’ve tried making these stick before, but we tend to be pretty busy working and can easily skip date night when there’s too much work to be done. So this time I made a few positive affirmations that kept me motivated to engage in date night.
- I love spending time with my husband.
- The time I spend with my husband is more important than anything else.
- I am always ready to have a date night with my husband.
- Date night is a priority that can’t be broken.
Once I said these positive affirmations enough, they became a hardcore belief that I had. there’s nothing more important than date night with my husband. It helps center us, reconnect us, and keep us strong in our work and everywhere else. We never break our date nights because they are so important to us.
I Think Positive Affirmations Are A Powerful Tool
I’ve used them in my own life consistently to create new beliefs, mindsets, habits, and behaviors. They are the most powerful tool I know of to do these things.
I also think negative affirmations are a powerful tool. They can keep you stuck and create misery in your life because they influence your beliefs, mindsets, habits, and behaviors.
I prefer positive affirmations.