- Write your affirmations down
The first step to using affirmations effectively is to write them down. If you don’t write them, it just becomes another thing that you will forget to do and your days are already full of things that we all sometimes forget to do (like flossing). It’s important to write them down because the act of writing helps commit the affirmation to memory. The more time between hearing an affirmation and actually taking action on it, the less effective it becomes.
- Make sure they are specific
Affirmations should be written in a way that allows you to take action immediately, such as “I am so good at public speaking” instead of “Public speaking comes easy for me.” The key is finding ways to make affirmations specific enough so that you can start seeing positive changes right away while still being broad enough for the affirmation to not only apply as needed, but also remain relevant over a long period of time.
- Make sure your intentions are true
When writing an affirmation, there should be no reason why something couldn’t happen. An example: “I will win every speech tournament I ever enter.” A problem with this type of affirmation is that it sets up expectations before anything has even happened yet. You might have a great tournament or two but eventually lose and then feel like a failure (and reinforcing negative self-talk) even if you did really well overall. Instead, try writing affirmations like “I will compete in lots of local tournaments and continue getting better each time”, which gives room for improvement without setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself.
- Don’t use negative affirming words
While we want our affirmations to feel positive, we should avoid using words like never or always when possible because they can set up false assumptions about what is possible instead of being realistic about where we are currently at in life. For example: “I will never make a mistake again” implies that mistakes aren’t possible which isn’t an accurate statement given how much humans actually mess up from time-to-time (if not daily). Instead try phrasing it like: “I will correct my mistakes as soon as I realize I’ve made one.” This is a much more realistic approach towards dealing with mistakes and nobody will expect perfection from themselves or others 100% of the time anyway (that would be unrealistic).
- Be Positive About Yourself
When using affirmations use positive language rather than negative statements about yourself (even when talking about past failures). While acknowledging previous failures certainly helps remind us that they happened so they don’t repeat themselves, putting too much emphasis on those failures creates negative self-talk cycles which can become discouraging and even lead other people around us into thinking negatively about ourselves which only leads those individuals into making their own poor decisions as well.