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How to Write Effective Affirmations
by Sally Hill, Ph.D.


Affirmations are most effective when they are:

  • authentic
  • focused on the present
  • written as a positive statement
  • short and simple
  • realistic
  • focused on the "I"

Each of these points is discussed below.

Be sure your affirmation is authentic

Your affirmations will be most effective if they are authentic—that is if they reflect your preferences, intention, purpose, and higher self. Affirmations are about you and what you want. They are not about what you want for others or what others want for you.

After you write an affirmation, you should ask yourself: "Is this really what I want?" Sometimes it helps to ask "Why do I want this?" If the answer is "to please someone else," the affirmation probably isn't right for you.

Focus on the present

Remember than an affirmation is a statement of intention. It's about something you want to happen that hasn't happened yet. If it had already happened, you wouldn't need the affirmation. However, in order to communicate effectively with your unconscious, you should write your affirmation as if it were already true. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of I want a better job, write I seek and find a better job.
  • Instead of I need to relax, write I find ways to relax.
  • Instead of I will be strong, write I am growing stronger.

Write a positive statement

The unconscious does not recognize negatives. When you say, "I'm not sick," the unconscious ignores the "not" and hears "I am sick." Be careful not to include negatives in your affirmations. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of I'm not sick, write I am well.
  • Instead of I refuse to be unhappy, write I find happiness.
  • Instead of I won't hold onto my pain, write I find ways to release my pain.

Keep it simple

Affirmations work best when they are short and simple. You are working to reprogram your thinking and build your motivation. Try to keep your affirmations short enough to be said with one breath. If your affirmation is too long, break it into two affirmations and work with each one separately.

Be realistic—but don't sell yourself short!

When you work with affirmations you believe you can accomplish, you encounter less resistance from that part of yourself that tries to tell you it can't be done. (For more about resistance, click here). Sometimes this strategy backfires. If you suffer from low self-esteem, you may not have a true picture of what you can achieve. You can easily end up selling yourself short and aiming to be less than you can be. If you think this might be true for you, try writing affirmations that are open-ended instead of specific.

Here are some examples:

  • Instead of I am a billionaire, write I have all the money I need.
  • Instead of I am a perfect parent, write I am the best parent I can be.
  • Instead of I have the perfect house, write I find a better place to live.

Pay attention to the "I"

Affirmations are about you and what you want. They are not about what others want for you. If your parents want you to be a doctor and you want to be a dancer, repeating "I am a doctor" over and over is not likely to serve your higher purpose or get you what you really want.

Affirmations are not about what you want others to do. If your child is acting out, it will do little good to repeat "My child is well-behaved" over and over. It would be more profitable to repeat "I find ways of helping my child improve his behavior." One of life's hardest lessons is learning that we cannot control others. We can only change ourselves.

This doesn't mean that all affirmations must begin with the word "I". Some people prefer to substitute another word or phrase like "My Higher Self". Others write affirmations in the form of prayers. Here are some examples:

Instead of I am successful, write My higher Self leads me to success,  or With God's help, I am successful.


Click here to continue and learn how use affirmations effectively.


Article copyright 2003 by Sally Hill, Ph.D. Dr. Hill conducts seminars and workshops on dreams, affirmations, creativity, and Tarot. For further information, you may call her at 972-979-9404, email her at DrSallyHill@TarotAffirmations.com, or visit her web site at http://www.TarotAffirmations.com.

    Website contents © 2003 TarotAffirmations.com/Sally Hill, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

    Tarot Affirmations is reproduced by permission of
    US Games Systems Inc. © 2001 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.