Do affirmations really work?


This week, we're talking about affirmations. Whether you've seen them on instagram, or have read about them in self-help books, they're pretty popular right now.

What is an affirmation? A positive statement, that when visually/verbally repeated, with focus and intention, can drive small to extremely large change in your life. The theory (backed in scientific research) says that our thoughts determine our actions, and actions drive our reality. So if you're thinking positive thoughts about yourself and aligning them with your goals (whether the goal is wealth, a promotion, peace of mind, or anything else) you will accomplish the goal over time. 

I know, it may sound too good to be true, but when done right, I truly believe anything can happen. So I invite you to read on, learn the guidelines/rules around creating affirmations and check out some examples from my own life too. Then, you can decide for yourself:). 

First, the rules:

  1. Make sure your affirmation only contains positive words. If your affirmation contains “don’t,” “can’t” or “won’t,” reframe the affirmation to affirm what you’re trying to achieve.
  2. Make sure your affirmation is in the present tense, even if it is untrue. The discomfort you feel will motivate you to change. Even if you’re not rich, repeating “I’m wealthy. I have plenty of money.” is a great affirmation to propel you toward financial success.
  3. Be relevant. If you’re creating an affirmation for a specific situation, think about the things you want to achieve. If you want to give a great job interview, think about what that entails. Don’t say “I will give a great interview,” say, “I am confident, experienced, likable and successful. Everyone notices these qualities.”
  4. Repeat your affirmation. There’s no formula for how often or how many times you should repeat a positive affirmation. As long as you are focused when you repeat it, and you repeat it frequently, it will be successful. Try for at least 5 minutes, 3 times each day.
  5. Empower your affirmation with physical touch. You can supercharge your affirmations by tapping on the back of your hand or gently caressing where you feel negative emotion. 

Check out full rule details here: Mindvalley 

Now I'll illustrate an example from my business.

I set the goal of having a full client roster by May 1 of this year. I wanted more clients, more coaching experience, and (honestly needed) more income. It was time to take it to the next level. It felt like an uncomfortable goal, but it was now or never!

So I set the intention/affirmation, and I added it to the top of my daily to-do list (where I'd see it multiple times daily) and highlighted it in yellow. My intention was: "My enthusiasm for my work brings me a full roster of clients." Woot!

Now, I had to do it! I had to take action of being in the mindset of a coach with a full client roster. So what did I do, other than recite this affirmation?

  • I felt like I needed to get my finances in order, so I met with a financial advisor to discuss my plans. This gave me some certainty and peace of mind I needed to let go of.
  • I invested in marketing for my business, which scared the hell out of me, from both a trust/delegating and financial standpoint, but it needed to happen if I wanted to build the business, my way. #growingpains
  • I focused on consistent blogs and social media posts
  • I focused on driving value for the stellar clients I currently had
  • I had to ensure my mindset stayed what I call, "abundant," as much as possible. (i.e. Saying things to myself like, "my new clients are out there, they're coming, I'm doing everything I can" vs. "There are so many other coaches out there, how will people even find me? And why would people hire me? Why am I different. Bueller???" Easier said than done, but practice/focus makes it happen.

And the results: FULL ROSTER! BOOM!

It didn't happen by May 1, but it did by June 30th. Why? I let life get in the way. Priorities shifted. I had a bunch going on and my focus was not pristine. But hey, that's ok, because each day, I made progress and I eventually reached my goal!

Another example, that many can relate to is around weight loss. I'd tell myself for a good few days, "you're going to eat healthy, you're going to exercise, etc..." And then I'd lose some weight, but gain it back again. Many many times over, for years. 

The weight never loss never sustained itself because 1) I was chasing a future goal (not being the person, at the weight I wanted to be in the present moment). And 2) I needed an overhaul on my mindset and lifestyle in order to make the change sustainable, which takes time and FOCUS. I lacked the focus needed to lose the weight I felt I needed to lose at the time. I felt like a failure as a result. Again and again. Thankfully, I learned in my 30s, how my weight correlated with my stress levels and happiness and I took the time to rebuild my lifestyle from the inside out. 

This past "weight" example is when setting affirmations can be detrimental to your self-esteem. I started from a place of feeling crappy, added another "failure" to the list, and further compounded the negative thought patterns I already had about myself and my ability to lose weight So please be careful, even when following the rules, affirmations are not always the right answer for the change you want to make. You may need professional help/a therapist/outside expert to assist! I sure did at that point in my life!

Bottom line, affirmations are not as simple and woo woo as they sound. When you seek to understand them, you realize that they are designed to keep you laser FOCUSED. Creating the right dialog/context around your goal, and then fully connecting with and committing to the change are keys for success. 

Want support making your goals/affirmations a reality, or have questions? Please reach out!

Liz TrainesComment