Like many things we don’t fully understand, it would be easy to dismiss the power of affirmations, but enough respected and highly successful people use them that, they deserve investigation.

Regrettably, many of us grow up with a set of beliefs about ourselves that are less than empowering. As we grow up we begin to put ourselves down for any slight failure, whether real or imagined. Our parents, teachers and other influential adults can inadvertently create a diminished self image and install a number of limiting beliefs. This is compounded by the numbers of times we think or talk to ourselves everyday in negative terms. The use of positive affirmations is a powerful technique to change that negative self-talk into something more positive.

Leading thinkers and researchers on the use of affirmations include Jack Canfield and John Assaraf. Research on the effectiveness of positive affirmations as a life enhancing tool has led to the formation of the following eight step system for setting positive affirmations.

1. Affirmations should start with the words I AM. These are two of the most powerful words in the English language as they send a command to the subconscious part of our minds.

2. Positive – our minds like to work in pictures, therefore we cannot not think about something. So trying not to think of a pink elephant will undoubtedly bring up an image of a pink elephant. An affirmation such as I am enjoying breathing clean air will be more effective than I am no longer a smoker.

3. State in the present tense. This sets up an imbalance in the subconscious which it will then seek to correct. For example if you want to gain a particular position at work, state I am the regional sales manager, rather than I want to be or I will be.

4. Specific – Our subconscious minds require clear specific instructions which allow them to accurately pursue what we have programmed in the form of positive affirmations. So “I am rich” is not specific enough, better to say “I am earning $100,000 per year”. You may also like to add the phrase this or something better, because if you are too limiting in your desires, such as “I want to marry Susan”, she might not be interested, available or the best match for you.

5. Contain an active verb – without getting into high school grammar mode, an active verb is a do-ing word such as living, having, achieving, earning and so on.

6. Contain a feeling – this magnifies the power of your affirmations by adding the fuel of emotion. Consider including feelings such as joyful, excited, thankful or freedom.

7. Keep it brief- to be most effective, your affirmation should be easily remembered and repeated often. By keeping it brief you are far more likely to remember it. As a fun exercise you could consider trying to make it rhyme. In this way, similar to advertising jingles, your affirmation will stick in your head.

8. Make it personal – your affirmations should be about you. You will not be successful in trying to change another person, neither are you likely to be fully engaged with words that someone else has suggested for you.

A suggested format might look something like this:
“I am so thankful for the freedom that being a millionaire brings me” or “I am so proud to be accepting my diploma in front of my family and friends”

The final thing to remember about positive affirmations is that they must be repeated frequently to reprogram your subconscious into accepting they are true. Some teachers suggest 100 times a day, others recommend putting your affirmations on your bedside table and reciting first thing in the morning and last things at night.

Author's Bio: 

To learn more about the power of positive affirmations there is a free video mini semiar that is well worth a look at

Daniel Britton is an author, inspirational speaker and publisher of the popular personal development ezine A Design for Life