Over time I’ve come to appreciate the power of affirmations. I like them best when they speak straight to my soul. Here I’ve shared my steps to writing my own personal affirmations.
I used to be one of those people who scoffed at affirmations. What is just repeating something really going to do to help my life?
But more and more people pointed out to me how often my negative thoughts get repeated.
The inner critic when I’m writing.
The mean girl every time I look in the mirror.
The teacher’s voice when I make a mistake or think I’m not living up to my full potential.
I’m a big believer in positive reinforcement, but you wouldn’t know it if you could listen to my internal monologue.
So I’ve started bringing affirmations into my life to drown out all that negative self-talk – or counteract it at least.
But how do you know which affirmation to repeat? You can google affirmations and get more page hits than you could ever look at. You can narrow it down to ‘writing affirmations’, ‘spiritual affirmations’, ‘health affirmations’ and I’m sure you’ll find something you’d love to work with.I think that personal affirmations are the best, though.
If you can design an affirmation based on your negative self-talk, then it’s combating something very specific.
So, how do you do it? This is my step-by-step method, gleaned from various self-help books, business classes and a huge helping of self-experimentation, to writing your own personal affirmations.
1. Write down your negative self-talk
Think about the things that you say to yourself and write it down. Look at the different areas in your life where you’re having issues. Some areas might be:
- creativityThis self-talk often comes in similar forms. Things like, ‘no one will ever…’ or ‘I’m not good enough to…’. They may be more specific as well, like, ‘I never finish what I start’ or ‘I’m too lazy to…’.The self-talk may come in the voice of a parent or sibling, a teacher or partner. You may even recognise that exact same quote as something someone once said to you.
Doesn’t matter what it is, or where it comes from. Get it all out, because you can’t combat it if you’re not aware of it.
2. Let it sit for a few days
That’s right. Spend two or three days letting this sit.
Having written all of this down will make you more aware of when the self-talk is coming out, so these two days are less about leaving it alone and more about making sure you’ve got it all.
In those two days write down anything else the voice says that you’d forgotten.
The goal is to get a comprehensive list.
3. Look at that phrase and reverse it
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Look at this negative phrase that you keep saying to yourself, and reverse the meaning.
Here are some examples:
- “I never finish what I start” ⇒ “I always finish what I start”
- “No one will ever love me” ⇒ “Everyone loves me”
- “My body is ugly” ⇒ “My body is beautiful”
- “I’ll never be fit” ⇒ “I am fit”
- “I’m going to die alone and broke and my twenty cats will eat my body for sustenance” ⇒ “I’m going to live forever, be filthy rich and my cats would never feast on my body because they worship me”Don’t worry about accuracy. You’re not going to live forever, and Gaia knows I don’t always finish what I start. At this moment the point is only to reverse.
4. Tweak your personal affirmations for accuracy
Now that you have your personal affirmations, it’s time to give them a bit of a tweak.
For some affirmations, a simple reversal of negative self-talk will work. “My body is beautiful” is something we should all be telling ourselves every time we look in the mirror.
But some affirmations need a little tweaking to be perfect for us. Tweak 1 is the tweak for accuracy.
I can’t say, “I always finish what I start” with a straight face because it’s just not true. So I say “I always finish what’s important to me”, which is more accurate and reminds me that I can reach my goals.
It still has to be positive, but you can tweak to make things fit you more accurately.
5. Tweak your personal affirmations for potential
Sometimes it’s hard to say, “I have an amazing career” when you’re working 9-5 in a job you hate.
It’s easier to say, “I am building an amazing career” or “I’m taking steps to build my dream career”. It’s all about potential.
In the same vein, “I am spiritually awakened” can be hard when you’re just starting out, but “I’m awakening to my spiritual path” works with your potential, and can remind you to take those steps.
6. Tweak your personal affirmations for poetry
Affirmations are more fun to say when they’re beautiful.
“I eat healthy foods” is a good affirmation, but “I make choices that nourish my body and soul” is better.
“I’m working to build a business” is both functional and accurate. “I’m building a soulful, successful business” is a bit more specific and nicer to say.
You may think that you’re not good at poetry or making words sounds beautiful, but play around and see what you come up with. Remember, no one else ever needs to see these affirmations; they’re for your eyes only.
Make it something that you would be happy thinking or saying every day.
7. Pick the ones you need
It’s better to work with a few personal affirmations at a time. Four or five, maybe.
This means you need to pick the ones that you need.
This can be the hard bit. “My body is beautiful” is important for all of us, but I know it’s one I shy away from because I don’t believe it and it makes me uncomfortable. But sometimes the most discomfiting affirmations are the ones we most need.
Other than that bit of advice, think about the area of your life you most want to improve and select affirmations that work with that area. Or think about which negative phrases hurt the most and choose the affirmations that reversed them.
Once you have a list of four or five, move on to the final step.
8. Use them!
Congratulations, you have a selection of personal affirmations that you created just for you.
Now it’s time to use them.
There are plenty of ways to introduce affirmations into your life.
Mobile phone: set an alarm on your phone and in the label section type in your affirmation. This way you get a reminder every day of that affirmation. I learnt this one from Jessica Rodriguez at Daydream Achiever and now have five different affirmations hitting me during the day.
Mirror: Write the affirmation on a post-it note and stick it on your mirror. Every time you look in the mirror, say it out loud.
Trigger: A personal trainer once told me to do 5 kegels every time I saw a red dot. Walking through Target was torture. But it’s a good idea to put a trigger to your affirmations. Say that every time you take a drink you’ll repeat an affirmation. Tie the affirmation to sitting at your desk, turning on your computer, driving (repeat it while sitting at red lights).
Meditation: I love affirmation meditations. Choose a five- to ten-minute song, or set an alarm for five or ten minutes. Then just concentrate on breathing and repeating a selected affirmation. Repeat it either in your head or out loud, it works either way. If your thoughts drift, bring them back to the affirmation.
Negative self-talk: This is a MUST. Every time you catch your inner critic trying to horn in on your head space, stop. Tell it to shut up. Repeat your affirmation – five times, just to be sure!
So, go forth and crate your own beautiful affirmations, and if you want to, come back and share. I’d love to hear them!
What’s your favourite affirmation? And your favourite way to use them? Share in the comments!