Traditional Affirmations Don’t Work – Do This Instead

Personal BrandingSkill DevelopmentWorkplace Success

Congatulate Self photo from ShutterstockBefore Minnesota Senator Al Franken stepped into politics he was a comedian and regular on Saturday Night Live back in the 80s.

Franken had a  character named, “Stuart Smalley,” who hosted a regular segment called, “Daily Affirmations.”

Smalley’s foundational affirmation for himself was, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me!”

It obviously was a spoof on the value of affirmations.

In my own quest for personal improvement I’ve recited ad nauseam my own share of affirmations. They never seemed to do anything for me other than very short-term jolts of motivation, at best.

My own experience with traditional affirmations is that most are hard to believe statements about our own capabilities and habits.

Although Stuart Smalley’s affirmation is a spoof, it’s not far off how traditional affirmations are framed, such as,

  • “I Am a Magnet for Success & Good Fortune,” or
  • “I Am In Charge of My Emotions, Desires & Abilities. I Focus Only On Success,” or
  • “I Am Happy & Healthy.”

What I’ve learned during my own journey down the affirmation super highway is that if we recite statements like these, and we have no direct references for  them to be true, it is my experience and belief that our conscious and sub-conscious mind will reject them.

In order for us to truly believe a statement like those there must be some evidence for it being true.

About five years ago I set out to develop affirmations we can believe in no matter what our life experiences are so that we can focus on creating behavioral habits that will allow us to create the life experiences and results we desire.

I call them “Active Affirmations.”

“Active Affirmations” are statements that  speak honestly to where you are presently at and the specific actions you will take in the moment to begin moving towards your desired outcomes.

Let’s take the three traditional affirmations above and create “Active Affirmations” from them:

  • “I Am Becoming a Magnet for Success & Good Fortune Because Every Day I Will Look For and Do One Thing Different & Better Than the Day Before!”
  • “I Am Taking Charge of My Emotions, Desires & Abilities As I Become a Master Reframer of All Negative Situations and Will Practice Reframing Every Day to Create the Mindset for Success I Need!”
  • “I Am Becoming More Happy & Healthy Every Day As I Focus on All Things I’m Grateful For & I Begin Eating More Healthily Each and Every Day”

These “Active Affirmation” statements are a little more wordy than traditional affirmations but are easily remembered when recited regularly and memorized.

“Active Affirmations” are a great way to begin building new beliefs about what you are and what you can be.

Identify the results you want to create in your life, and the habits and actions you need to take to get there then create the statements using forward focused words such as, “becoming, doing, begin or beginning, taking action,” etc. These are words that tell yourself you are moving in the direction of what you want to become and the specific type of actions you will take.

By reciting on those type of statements it will remind you what you need to be doing that day to fulfill the statement and make it true.

I recommend using them in two ways.

  • Recite them verbally each day, with emotion and focus for about 5 minutes in the morning, mid-day and before bedtime, and
  • Review them in your mind in quiet meditation for 15-minutes each day.

Give it a try and let me know if you need help creating your “Active Affirmations.” Feel free to email me with questions.