How to Write Affirmations That Actually Work (+ a Free Workbook!)

Affirmations get a bad rep. They’re dismissed as woo woo garbage that encourages us to say positive things to ourselves without doing anything to create the changes they want.

That’s because most people are using them wrong. But I'm going to show you a better way, and I've even created a free mini workbook to make the whole thing super duper easy (you can download it at the end of this post).

When most people are introduced to affirmations they’re encouraged to say something like “I’m wildly abundant and money flows to me easily” or “I love and accept myself unconditionally.”

But if you’re flat broke with no prospects in sight or have deep-seeded self-esteem issues, your ego is going to call “Bullshit!” You’re actually lying to yourself and that can make you feel worse, especially when the new reality you’re trying to manifest doesn’t appear right away and you just feel stuck.

That doesn’t mean affirmations can’t be powerful tools for creating personal change. You just have to know the best way to word them and when to apply them.

I’m going to walk you through the kinds of changes affirmations are super effective at creating, formulas for writing your own so that they actually help you create the changes you want, tips for using affirmations everyday, and I’ll share the affirmations that I’m using right now.

Get the Free Tip Sheet & Worksheets

I've made this process super duper easy with all of my top affirmation writing tips + a couple of handy dandy worksheets. Click below to download these goodies.

First, let’s go back to basics for a second.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is a short, snappy statement that does just what it says: it affirms something. That could be a belief about yourself, the world, other people, or anything else really.

The reason that affirmations can work is because our thoughts become things. They shape our reality and dictate how we view ourselves and the world around us. The more we think a particular thought, the more we believe it and the more deeply it becomes engrained in our psyche.

Most of us have a feedback loop of thoughts that have been circling around in our heads for, well, basically ever. For lots of us, these thoughts sound like, "I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. People don't really like me. I never have enough money. My dreams are out of reach. etc. etc." We've been thinking the same fearful thoughts for so long that we’re unconscious of even thinking of them. They’ve become so engrained in our minds that we just accept them as facts.

Even when we begin to look at the world in a new way and decide to make a change, these thoughts are still operating below the service and butting in when all we want is for them to shut up. An affirmation is the antidote because it disrupts this cycle by offering an alternative belief to your old, fearful one. When you find yourself getting bogged down in these old thoughts, you've got a shiny new alternative to whip out.

The problem with traditional affirmations is that you're affirming something that just isn't true. Your inner critic is quick to call "bullshit!" You don't believe what you're saying so your tired, old, fearful beliefs can easily slip back in.

Another problem about typical affirmations is that we get the same satisfaction from talking about achieving something as we do from actually doing it. So if we’re constantly walking around telling ourselves “I lost 50 pounds with ease," we won't feel motivated to take the long-term steps that will help us lose that weight.

That’s why we need to write statements that affirm our commitment to changing, rather than pretending we already have.

What are affirmations helpful for?

Transforming a fear or belief that you want to let go of. We can use affirmations to disrupt our thought patterns. Rather than getting dragged into the same old cycle of fear, loathing, and negativity, we enact our ability to choose a different thought. I find this very effective for letting go of judgmental thoughts, talking back to my inner critic, and replacing beliefs that no longer serve me but that my mind keeps defaulting back to. An affirmation gives me a new thought to default to, which helps me spin my mind in a more positive direction. This brings a sense of intentionality to my thinking. I'm purposefully guiding my thoughts to where I want them to be, rather than getting trapped in the same old patterns.

Motivating yourself to take action on your goals. Rather than focusing on an outcome as if you've already achieved it, a powerful affirmation reminds you of what you want, why you want it, and what you have to do to get it within a specific timeframe. Everyday you'll use your affirmation to recommit to the daily action you're going to take to help you achieve your dream.

How can you write an affirmation that actually help you?

We're still going to write our affirmations in the present tense but rather than phrasing them as if the thing we want has already happened, we're going to affirm our choice or commitment to make this change. They're affirmations with a twist or goal statements, if you will. They're a way of reaffirming your commitment to your dreams or to changing a limiting belief each and every day.

To work on transforming a fear or belief that you want to let go of, you first need to pinpoint the fear or belief you want to transform and the kind of situations that tend to bring it up for you. Decide what you want to focus on thinking or believing instead but rather than just repeating that new belief to yourself, use progressive language. Preface the new belief with "I am committed" or "I can choose to."

For example, when I feel judgmental thoughts arising in my mind, I like to use an affirmation from A Course in Miracles. I remind myself, I can choose to see love instead of this.

When I start engaging in negative self-talk I remind myself: I am committed to believing that I am enough just as I am.

If I find myself spiraling into fears around money, I can switch over to thinking: I choose to acknowledge that I have enough money for everything I need and that there are always opportunities to make more money.

To write an affirmation that motivates you to take action on your goals, here's a simple formula to fill in: I am committed to [ACTION] [FREQUENCY] in order to [OUTCOME] by [TARGET DATE] because [YOUR BIG WHY].

You're essentially creating goal statements with a twist. Using these types of affirmations frames your dreams into SMART goals. It also empowers you by providing clear daily actions you can take to achieve them. Here are a few of mine:

I am committed to running for 30 minutes three times a week in order to complete the couch to 5k runner program by 7 September 2015 so that I can improve my fitness levels because I want to feel vibrant, healthy, and full of energy.

I am committed to working on my business for two hours everyday in order to create a full-time income so that I can quit my job by 1 March 2016 because I crave freedom over my time and I want to do work that I find fulfilling by helping other people.

With a few minor tweaks, this even works with less easily measurable goals, like tackling a limiting belief. In this instance, you're committing to do tangible work to release this belief, rather than just disrupting a negative thought pattern. Here's another example:

I am committed to releasing my limiting beliefs about money by reframing fear-based thoughts when they arise and remembering that I have enough money for everything I need and that I have an endless capacity to make more money. I will stay committed to releasing my fears about money by checking in with myself every night for the next 30 nights, writing down any money-related fears that arose throughout the day, and reframing them into new, abundance-based beliefs.

What should you do with your affirmations once you’ve written them?

Read your goal-oriented affirmations aloud to yourself every morning and every evening. Allow yourself to visualize yourself doing the actions you need to take today to achieve these dreams. And sit for a moment with the feelings you'll experience when you do.

Keep them pinned up beside your workspace, or set them as your desktop background so that you're reading them regularly throughout the day. Keeping your dreams in front of you and recommitting to them everyday is a powerful way to keep yourself motivated.

Set reminders in your phone that tell you to repeat your belief-based affirmations. Write them on scraps of paper or in notes in your phone. Wear a particular piece of jewellery or write a mark on your hand that reminds you to use them when your negative thought patterns emerge.

Revisit your affirmations regularly (at least monthly) to see whether they need tweaking, to note any progress they've helped you achieve, and to create new ones that align with your current goals and mindsets.

Rather than wishy washy statements that don't really mean anything, these powerful affirmations will help you take charge of your life like the badass you are!

Alright, over to you: I'd love to hear what affirmations you love using and if you need any help writing yours, just leave a note in the comments.

Get the Free Tip Sheet & Worksheets

I've made this process super duper easy with all of my top affirmation writing tips + a couple of handy dandy worksheets. Click below to download these goodies.