Affirmations always seemed like woo-woo nonsense to me. Just repeat a phrase ten times per day and achieve whatever it is you desire. Even looking for a picture for this article made me cringe looking at all the generic, motivations crap out there.
It wasn’t untill I read about Scott Adams’ experience with affirmations in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (Review | Amazon) that I gave them a second thought. Scott’s a bright and successful guy. If he recommends using affirmations there is definitely something to it.
In fact, it was his personal experience that really hit home with me. He began using affirmations on his GMAT exam. He repeated to himself over and over he’d get a specific score. Well, believe it or not he got the exact score he said he would get.
Coincidence? Could be, but it was definitely worth a try. So I used them myself. Here are my thoughts on how to use affirmations and my personal experience:
Affirmations to Break Through Barriers
I had a test that was eating away at my soul. I’d failed it 3 times already. I needed to pass the test in order to officially receive my Master’s degree, even though I’d for all intents and purposes finished grad school and been working full time. It was something I no longer wanted to have on my shoulders, so I simply had to buckle down and study.
Of course, the studying was the main catalyst to me passing. But I’ll be damned if those affirmations didn’t help.
Using the Wunderlist app (Read: How to Change Your Life with Wunderlist), I had a daily reminder with the saying “I will pass my [XYZ] test.”
At first, saying it felt stupid and incongruent. Again, back to the woo-woo nonsense. But over time I felt more comfortable saying it. I’d even smile with glee knowing I’d pass the test.
As I was taking the exam recently, I repeated those affirmations both before and during the test. I repeated these affirmations before the test to help get me in the right state of mind. As for during the test, I repeated the affirmations because in previous tests mental fatigue had set in. But instead of letting the exhaustion get me down, I repeated the affirmation. It really helped carry me over the finish line and push forward when I was getting exhausted and frustrated.
And guess what?
I passed! After getting beat down on previous attempts I finally passed.
How to Use Affirmations
In order for an affirmation to be successful, it should be detailed and specific.
“I will lose weight” is not a good affirmation because it is so ambiguous.
A better affirmation is “I will weigh 175 pounds by June 1st.”
It’s just like setting a goal. You’re mentally preparing your body for what needs to be accomplished and when.
When You Should (And Should NOT) Use Affirmations
Currently, I don’t use any affirmations. I don’t have any specific goal racking my brains that stands heads and shoulders above the rest. Therefore, I feel no need to repeat an affirmation(s) daily.
Sure, I want to be wealthy and successful in the not-too-distant future, but how wealthy and how successful I don’t know. Therefore, using affirmations is not particularly important for me right now.
Taking a test would be a good opportunity to use affirmations.
Getting a job would be too. If you’re unemployed right now, or going to graduate college soon with no job lined up, then using an affirmation will help.
An affirmation like “I will have a great job by [XYZ Date]”. This affirmation will have several beneficial effects. For one, you will be more inclined to search for jobs as the affirmation is repeated daily. You’ll feel guilty if you don’t. Also, when you go into job interviews you will be confident knowing that the job is surely going to be yours.
Creating and Implementing Affirmations
Are you starting to see how this works?
Now, think to yourself if there is something pressing in your life you want to accomplish. If so, use what I’ve laid out above to create an affirmation.
Create your affirmation and type it into the Wunderlist app. Have it repeat ‘Daily’ so you have to check the box every single day.
State this affirmation 10 times daily with confidence. Don’t balk at it–accept that it is your fate!
If you do that, I can guarantee you will accomplish whatever your put your mind to.
P.S. If you liked this article you will love the book How to Get Organized by Will Freemen. Check out my review here.