Affirmations are a great way to focus your resources (time, energy, money) to achieve goals and/or modify behaviors. To be effective an affirmation needs to be concise, to the point, and easy to remember. To get the results you desire, it needs to be well thought out, as the psyche (and apparently the whole universe) takes words quite literally.
In addition, an affirmation should be in the present tense (I.e., I am, not I will be). In other words it needs to be written and spoken as if it is already happening. Present tense verbs say, “I believe this is true without a doubt”—and belief is a very powerful tool. Present tense verbs indicate your commitment and intention. They invoke positive, supportive energy and help the powers that be get aligned behind what you intend. [By the way, this rule about verb tense is also true for prayer. If you pray that you want something, then you’re likely to get literally what you asked for: to continue to want it.]
Once you’ve settled on what you want your affirmation to address, write it down and refine it until it meets all of the criteria discussed above: concise, written in the present tense, easy to remember, and can be taken literally but still will give you the desired result.
Steps to creating a good affirmation:
Establish the desired result of your affirmation
Write it down using present tense verbs
Refine the affirmation until it is concise, memorable, and its literal interpretation still results in what you desire
Wholeheartedly believe in your affirmation. Memorize it, hang it where you can see it, repeat it to yourself regularly, review it daily, or do whatever it takes for you to wholeheartedly believe in your affirmation.
Here’s an example of how an affirmation is developed:
Establish the desired result:
Pay off my credit cards, car loan, and school loan
Write it down:
I am paying off my credit cards, car loan, and school loan.
- Is the verb present tense? Although “I am paying” is present tense, it is more concise and direct to say, “I pay”
I pay off my credit cards, car loan, and school loan.
- Is it concise? Credit cards, a car loan, and a school loan are all debts—and although you may have other debts, it doesn’t hurt to include them in the affirmation (unless you don’t want to pay them off).
I pay off debts.
- Does it give the same result if taken literally? The affirmation as it is currently written does not prevent the accumulation of more debt. In other words, just because you pay off debts doesn’t mean you don’t take on more debt. Changing the wording just a little bit gives us a very powerful affirmation:
I am debt free.
Wholeheartedly believe in your affirmation:
I am debt free was my first affirmation several years ago. I used it as a tool to monitor my behavior around money. It helped me to make decisions about what I really needed and could afford and what I could do without. Whenever I had any extra money, this affirmation helped me to consider how to best use it, which was usually to apply it to lowering my overall debt. That’s not to say I never treated myself—that would be a bad plan that can easily lead to binging—but because I believed in my affirmation, it caused me to make very conscious decisions about how I used money.