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As a psychologist in Los Angeles for over 20 years, working with clients on a variety of issues, I have repeatedly found that affirmations typically DON’T work alone by themselves.
It is true that affirmations may sound inspiring and confidence-boosting in the moment when you are saying them to yourself. However, the staying power of these uplifting words unfortunately, doesn’t last long most of the time.
As a result, a person often has to go back to the drawing board and say the same – or additional affirmations – to oneself again, just to remember and be re-inspired by the messages and feelings associated with them.
As you can see, affirmations alone can become a vicious cycle of:
- first saying the affirmations to yourself,
- feeling good about the words for a while,
- then feeling less motivated and positive,
- after which you begin to feel discouraged and negative,
- then you try to feel better again by saying the same or additional affirmations to yourself.
Is there a way on how to use affirmations more effectively?
Affirmations Can Be More Effective When Coupled With Other Actions
Affirmations may not be enough on their own, and can end up being quite superficial and unsustainable at times. That is, unless they are being done in conjunction with actions to support and actualize them. There is definitely some truth in the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”
How To Use Affirmations: 6 Action Steps To Increase Their Effectiveness
The best way on how to use affirmations and make them work for you is to incorporate some action steps that are helpful towards achieving better results. Here are six tips to help make your affirmations more of a reality:
1) Limit your affirmations to NO MORE than three at a time.
Identify just ONE TO THREE affirmations that you want to come true in your life. Don’t focus on more than three of these or you are likely to dilute your focus, efforts, and results.
2) Say your affirmations at the start of each day to remain aware of them and to promote better follow-through.
Say your affirmations to yourself at the start of each day. Be conscious of what your affirmations are. By doing this daily on a consistent basis (especially in the morning), you are framing your day with positivity.
This should give you a better likelihood of following through each day on the other action steps as noted below.
3) Concretize your affirmations to increase your commitment and follow-through with them.
Having tangible reminders of your affirmations can help strengthen your commitment and follow-through with them.
In general, thoughts tend to be better remembered and internalized when you write them down. So after you say your affirmations, put them on paper AND read them aloud to yourself. This is so they will be more deeply absorbed both consciously and subconsciously.
Also, making a vision board that reflects what your affirmations are with pictures, slogans, and inspiring quotations can be a solid reminder of what you are aspiring to be. This is a concrete way on how to use affirmations more effectively.
You can create a vision board for each affirmation, OR make one that incorporates your current affirmations together. Either way is acceptable as long as it provides you with the intended effect of being positive, motivating, and self-reinforcing.
Give yourself about a week to complete each vision board. Then make sure to look at them after you’ve said and written down your affirmation/s at the start of your day.
4) Make a realistic, positive, written plan for additional actions you will take.
Design an overall written plan that specifically outlines additional actions you will take to help your aspirations be realized. Make sure to record these actions into your schedule on a weekly basis to keep yourself committed and accountable to doing them.
Note that it’s important that your plan is broken down into very doable actions, which are practically fool-proof to accomplish. They should be realistically based on the amount of time, effort, and other resources you have to put towards each of these actions per week.
By purposely creating a plan in which each action can be successfully accomplished, you are frequently getting positive reinforcement. This in turn, can help you stick to your plan and stay motivated.
5) Enlist the help of your support system when you need it.
Looking for more ways on how to use affirmations effectively? Tell the people in your life about how you are going to make your affirmations come true.
Let them know how they can help you stay on track with your plan. Reach out to your loved ones as a source of emotional support and strength when you feel less motivated, committed, or patient with the process.
Letting others know when you need them is a healthy behavior, NOT a sign of weakness. Just be sure to ask for assistance from loved ones you know are dependable and will be there for you during these challenging times.
6) Check-in with yourself at the end of the day with compassion and NO judgement.
At the end of the day, check-in with yourself to track how you are doing. Tweak and modify any of your actions that weren’t realistic or possible to do into more manageable pieces. Celebrate the completion of your actions by crossing them off your calendar and feeling proud of your efforts.
Please realize that NO ONE is perfect. It is essential to be as compassionate and non-judgmental of yourself as possible when learning how to use affirmations effectively. By being emotionally supportive of yourself throughout this process, you have a much better chance of sticking with your plan – AND getting the results you have diligently worked for.