Do affirmations work?

One habit that I have followed religiously since I read Scott Adams book  “How to fail at almost everything and still win big” to encourage me to think positively and focus on what I want is affirmations.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is basically something that you say to yourself in order to help encourage a positive outcome.  So for example in Scott Adams book he would say to himself

“I Scott Adams will one day I will be a successful cartoonist”.

Alternatively a sports person may run an affirmation in their head to visualise themselves scoring a free kick or winning a race.  This rehearsal in their head is in order to reinforce a positive mental attitude in your head.

Therefore by using this method you can use it to support yourself in achieving your intended goal.

So how do I do it?

A simple way is to just take a minute or two out of your day, preferably by closing your eyes and recite something that you want to achieve in your head.

For example I say:

“I James Lane will one day be a Project Manager”

You can say something slightly different, I also like to say things I have already achieved to give my confidence that I have the confidence and capability to do my role:

“I am a good parent”

“I am a loving father/mother and husband/wife”

“I am a good manager”

When to do it

I prefer to do this in the morning when I am on my way to work.  It is a good way of reminding yourself of your purpose and why you get up every morning.

I also particularly remind myself of it during hardship which if you have set yourself challenging goals you will experience.  It’s a good way of reminding yourself that you will achieve what you intended to set out, rather than getting plagued with negative thoughts.

In order to emphasis my affirmation I will imagine saying it louder, emphasising particular parts and adding positive words that show that I will be competent in my goal.  For example:

“I James Lane WILL be a good Project Manager”

The downside

Obviously saying what you want over and over in your head does not make what you want come true.  You have to ensure that you undertake good action planning ensuring that you use SMART goals in order to ensure you are focused on how you will achieve your affirmation.

If it was as easy as saying something over and over in your head then most of us at some point would have had relations with our favourite movie star!

So it’s not a vague, childish statement of what you want – it’s backed up in realism.

Does it actually make a difference?

In conclusion I would say that it does if your goal is grounded in reality.

It helps keep you keep focused on what you want to achieve in life, reminds of the need to keep working towards your goal and reinforces the positive thinking of what your final outcome is during periods of struggle.

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5 thoughts on “Do affirmations work?

    1. Yes – great level of psychology. I also use the same method when lifting weights – I always imagine me lifting double what I am lifting – although I have zero intention of actually doing that it does get rid of all the negative thoughts where I think I am going to struggle or worse drop the weight on me.

      And yes – Scott Adams is a great author and cartoonist – I remember the days when I was young and my dad had his earlier books – I just didn’t get it and then I entered the corporate world and I grew to appreciate it

  1. I love affirmations and repeating like lines is really powerful. I prefer to say I am great, I can do this, i am a brillant project manager and i am taking steps to be greater. I read somewhere that ‘will’ is in the future and it is better to say i am.. even if it is a future dream. Then it manifest . I am is more powerful statement then i will..

    I hope that makes sense.

    1. It does – I suppose it’s about changing words so that they are more assertive rather than passive. I suppose it is also making me say that ‘I am’ rather than ‘I will’ – a major difference, which I will start incorporating thanks!

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