How to Write an Effective Affirmation

Four Parts:Starting Out from Self JudgmentsWriting Basic AffirmationsWriting Situational AffirmationsPracticing and Using Affirmations Wisely

Using effective affirmations is a powerful tool for communicating with yourself in a very deep way. Long utilized as a means of self-care and harnessing one's own potential, affirmations can help you to harmonize your actions with your goals. The beauty of using affirmations to move yourself is that they often give you a better sense of what you want, and the wisdom to accept that the route there often involves unexpected turns! They can always be revised to fit changing needs, as they fuel the accomplishment of goals, but are not contracts for what those goals are or should be.

Part 1
Starting Out from Self Judgments

  1. Image titled Write an Effective Affirmation Step 1
    Find a quiet setting where you can be alone or get comfortable tuning into yourself. When creating your affirmation, it is important empty your mind and focus only on facets of your life where you want to make a change. Take time to feel in your body the deep connection that you have to your intention to change.
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    Make a list of what you've always thought of as your negative qualities. Include in your list any criticisms others have made of you that seem to stick to in your mind.[1]
    • Look for the main message that you are receiving when you focus on these negative qualities and critiques. It may be something very broad, for example, "I am unworthy." or "I am not capable." These are the irrational leaps that our emotional selves are prone to make when we disappoint ourselves or others.
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    Pay attention to what your body is telling you about this recurring belief. Where do you notice sensations in your body as you engage this belief? For example, do you feel tightness or dread in your heart or stomach?
    • Awareness of these sensations are helpful for when it comes time to use your affirmation. You can focus on the part of your body that holds this negative belief most strongly, in order to release it. Remember: we have as many neurons in our gut as we do in our brain![2]
    • If you do not feel any sensations in your body as you consider this negative judgment, you may want to keep searching for judgments that have greater impact on you. Your sensations can serve as a guide for knowing what's important to you deep down, including what inhibits you.
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    Ask yourself if this underlying belief about yourself is helpful in your life. If not, what would be an empowering replacement? Now that you understand what you are learning to believe about yourself in the face of your flaws, you can summon the strength to form new beliefs about your potential.[3]

Part 2
Writing Basic Affirmations

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    Write out an affirmation that offers you the positive flip-side of your negative beliefs about yourself. The vocabulary you use is extremely important. It should be emotionally evocative in ways that resonate with you personally.[4]
    • You may want to use a thesaurus to find words that move you more powerfully. For example instead of replacing "I'm not worthy" with "I'm worthy," you could choose "I'm remarkable and cherished" instead.
    • It can also be helpful to imagine the positive aspects of yourself that you wish you could use to counter negative beliefs. If someone finds you lazy, making you think that you are not worthy, you might want to show the world that you are sensitive and discerning about your actions. Instead of "I'm worthy" you might say "I'm sensitive, discerning, and remarkable."
    • If you are easily moved by music, you might consider adding a simple rhythmic or tonal element to jump-start your emotional attunement to the affirmation.
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    Write in the present tense. You should be writing as though you are experiencing yourself differently right now. This will help you know what an inner experience of what you want to believe feels like, so you are more motivated to adopt it fully.
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    Reflect deep kindness to yourself. Avoid terms that imply (and so, expect) perfection, such as "never' and "always." These harsh phrasings will remind you rather than relieve you of the judgments that you are trying to transform. [5]
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    Make it personal. Use the pronouns “I”, “My” or state “your name” in your affirmation. This raises the commitment and belief level.
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    Go easy on the amount of affirmations you write. Aiming for better quality affirmations that have a profound impact on you is more valuable than writing many different affirmations that correspond to every goal you may have. This will cause you to better focus on changing a few core beliefs that have effects on all of your specific concerns.[6]

Part 3
Writing Situational Affirmations

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    Think about what you want for yourself-- the situations, habits, and characteristics you'd like to change. Now you can imagine what it would look like for your goals in these areas to be accomplished. Write these goals down as affirmations, knowing that you can tweak them so that they keep generating the most positivity and emotional valence for you.
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    Use vivid detail. Similar to using vocabulary that moves you emotionally, vivid detail will also help you personalize your affirmation. As humans we connect more intimately with concrete situations. Avoid abstract language as much as possible, as it will be harder to feel, in the present, what it would be like for your affirmation to work.
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    Try positive action language. Focus on what you do want rather than what you want to change. Proactive phrasing (i.e. "I am", "I will", "I can", "I choose") will help you feel closer to your goals.[7]
    • For example, instead of writing “I am not suffering from insomnia”, a better choice may be, “I am completely free from insomnia”. In the second example, we don't see "suffering" but instead "completely free". The same message comes across, but with more positivity.
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    Foster an attitude of possibility rather than difficulty. The use of reactive phrases will subtly suggest that the world is working against you. These are phrases like "I hope", "I will try", and "I should".
    • Affirmations that take into account all of the above will look like these:
      • “I (personal) show (present tense) that I am 100% alive (positive) by thinking, speaking and acting with great enthusiasm (emotional)”
      • “I (personal) am currently (present) enjoying (emotional) my light and agile (positive) weight at 178lb!”
      • “It is deeply satisfying (emotional) that I (personal) respond (present tense) with wisdom, love, firmness, and self control (positive) when children misbehave.”

Part 4
Practicing and Using Affirmations Wisely

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    Speak your affirmation out loud to yourself at least twice a day. Make a habit of reciting it once in the morning after you wake up, and once at night before you go to bed. This way you will start your day off with a clear vision of your goals, and at night you can meditate on them, too.
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    Speak the affirmation out loud for about five minutes three times a day-- morning, mid day and evening. An ideal time to do this is when you're putting your make up or shaving so that you can look at yourself in the mirror as you repeat the positive statement. Another option that helps you reinforce the new belief is to write out the affirmation several times in a notebook.
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    Tune into your body as you are repeating your affirmation. You will want to place your hand on the area of your body that responds to your affirmation most strongly. This response will come in the form of a sensation, either of tingling or discomfort.
    • Breathing deeply as you are saying or writing your affirmation will help you to tune into your body, in turn causing you to internalize its message more deeply.
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    Visualize your goal. When repeating your affirmation out loud, visualize accomplishing the clear, vivid goals you are aiming toward. It may help to close your eyes and focus on how it feels to be on top of your game, be it emotionally or professionally.[8]


  • Affirmations are powerful tools for programming the mind. Be aware that changing your standards for yourself too drastically can result in self-neglect, self-shaming, and dissatisfaction.

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