The right phrases, when repeated consistently to yourself, can make a huge difference in your thoughts ... which in turn makes a significant difference in your actions. Learning how to write your own affirmations that mean something to you will help you harness the potential of this powerful practice.
If you were a fan of Saturday Night Live in the 1990s, you’ll remember Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations. If you aren’t familiar, the bit featured comedian Al Franken talking to himself in a mirror, saying things like, “I’m an attractive person. I refuse to beat myself up,” and most famously, “Doggone it, people like me.” It became a fan favorite, and Franken (aka Smalley) published a book based on those daily affirmations.
Keeping a sense of humor is an essential part of living a healthy life. Creating affirmations that are deeply personal can help to guide you in the direction you want to go. If you’ve ever gotten stuck in the trap of repeating affirmations that make you feel like a fraud, then you might wonder how to write affirmations that feel true.
Louise Hay became well-known a decade before Stuart Smalley for her books Heal Your Body and You Can Heal Your Life, which explored how positive thought patterns affect systems in the body based on her own personal experience and her work with others in her ministry. Although she passed away in 2017 at the age of 90, her work lives on through Hay House, the publishing company she founded in 1984, and through her foundation. People still turn to her affirmations as a source of inspiration.
Many people spend a good deal of time beating themselves up for things they didn’t do or things they did that they wish they hadn’t. Often this inner voice is operating on an unconscious level, so it’s important to “turn up the volume” so you can know what it is you are saying to yourself throughout the days and nights. After you begin to hear yourself, you can begin to make some choices about whether the message you are telling yourself is helpful or not.
If you wouldn’t say to your best friend or someone you care about the things that you say to yourself, it might be time to rewrite the self-talk script. That's where affirmations come in.
How to Write Affirmations That Work
- Get settled in a quiet space, where you have time to reflect. Be sure to have a journal and pen or pencil easily accessible.
- Consider how you want to feel. This could have to do with your health, your relationships, or your work.
- Take some time to imagine on many levels how you want to feel, with both your physical state and your state of mind.
- As you fully inhabit that version of you, imagining that version is your present reality, pose the question: “What am I saying to myself?”
- Write down as many phrases as you can capture. Some may begin with “I am …” (think along the lines of “I am open to feeling love in my life”) and some might include “The universe is …” (such as, “The universe is looking for ways to help me achieve my dreams.”)
- Read through your list and choose three or four phrases to test.
- Try the phrases on for size. Repeat them out loud or silently to yourself and notice how your body responds. If you cringe, you know you’ve gone too far and you need to try some different phrases. If you feel yourself relax or get inspired, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
- Choose a handful of affirmations that you will bring into your life on a daily or weekly basis that will help you become more of the person you want to be.
Support yourself with positive affirmations that feel in alignment with both who you are and who you want to be. Knowing how to write affirmations can be an important step in creating a life that you love, and one that loves you back.
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