I write about the power of affirmations quite a lot, and in many of my metaphysical columns, you’ll find I recommend affirmations right alongside other forms of energy work to help people create positive change in their lives. That’s because affirmations are powerful statements to the universe about the things you’d like to have become realities in your physical existence. While there’s no “magic” to affirmations, they do help you set intention and communicate clearly to the universe the life you’d like to live.
So, if you want your affirmations to work, you need to speak, write, or think them once a day, right? Actually, there’s a bit more to it than that. Let’s take a look at some of the things that may serve as roadblocks to affirmations.
1. Continuing to think negatively.
You’ve probably heard the old axe, “Thoughts become things.” This is true whether you are consciously making positive statements and affirmations, or if you continuously have negative words flit through your mind without giving them much of a thought at all. Whether you know it or not, you’re constantly sending affirmations out into the universe, even when you’re not making a conscious effort to do so. For example, every time you say, “I’m so broke,” or, “I can never catch a break,” you’re sending a specific request into the universe, which has no choice but to respond. These subconscious or barely conscious thoughts and statements are just as powerful as consciously spoken, written, or thought affirmations. In some cases, they may be even more powerful because they become the running dialogue you have with yourself without even thinking about it.
So what’s the solution? It’s important to monitor your thoughts and catch yourself thinking negative things when they arise. Every time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, stop immediately and say in your head or aloud, “Cancel that….I am…..” and make a positive statement instead. For example if you catch yourself thinking, “I am always broke,” immediately think or say, “Cancel that. I have all the money I need to live the life I desire.”
2. Doing your affirmations only once a day.
Affirmations are an active process, and they require concentrated effort to overcome the volume of negative thoughts you are thinking. I believe in active affirmation, or using affirmations not only as a meditative ritual once or twice a day, but also using them throughout the day as negative thoughts arise.
Let’s look at an example. Say you want to lose weight, but every time you put on clothing, catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, or eat something you know isn’t conducive to weight loss, you think something like, “I’m so fat,” “I’m never going to lose weight,” or, “even if I do lose weight, I’m just going to gain it back.” Even if once a day, you’re closing your eyes and uttering with conviction, “I am losing weight,” or “I am thin and healthy,” the sheer volume of your negative thoughts about being overweight will outweigh the once per day you think or speak your affirmation.
The solution here is the same as the previous one. Monitor your thoughts, catch negativity, and immediately cancel it out with a positive statement. You can also take a few moments several times a day to re-set your affirmations in your mind. For example, you can carry them in a document on your smartphone and read them whenever you have a break.
3. Making statements of want or need.
The combination of the word “I” plus whatever statement you make about it afterward, such as “I want,” “I am,” or “I need,” is a very powerful combination, and the universe responds in kind. So, if you say to yourself, “I want more money,” the universe will very literally give you what you just said – the experience of wanting more money. Likewise, if your affirmation is, “I need to find a significant other,” the universe will give you the experience of needing a significant other.
What should you do instead? Remember the combination of I plus the second word is powerfully creative. Instead of saying, “I want,” or “I need,” make a statement as if you already have that which you desire. Let’s look at the significant other affirmation as an example. Instead of saying, “I need to find a significant other,” use the affirmation, “I am in a loving and joyful relationship with my significant other.” While this may not be true at the moment, know that the universe has already set the wheels in motion.
4. Failing to express gratitude.
I make gratitude part of my affirmations, because it strengthens them and is an important component of what I like to call, “acting as if.” When you act as if you already have that which you desire, including thanking the universe for something, it strengthens the power of the affirmation. Therefore, all of my affirmations either start or end with gratitude. For example, you might want to say, “I am grateful I am in vibrant health,” if your affirmation is about your health and well-being.
5. Not visualizing.
Visualization is another tool that combines powerfully with affirmation. Visualization helps you see and experience yourself after you’ve achieved what it is you desire. I recommend closing your eyes for a five-minute visualization session as part of your meditation after you’ve done your affirmations. When visualizing, try to picture yourself already having achieved that which you seek, and allow yourself to bask in the emotions of how it would feel to be, do, or have those things.
There is no magic to affirmations. It’s abut setting intention and maintaining focus on that which you choose while expressing gratitude to the universe for providing it. Thoughts are creative, and focusing them more carefully can help shorten the time before you put something out in the universe and when you receive it.