The Definitive Guide to Creating and Practicing Affirmations

The image captures the idea of actively working on personal growth through the practice of affirmations, and the importance of choosing affirmations that align with one's own beliefs and values.

You’ve probably heard about affirmations plenty of times, but how much do you really know about them? There’s more to using affirmations than just reading through a neat little list of phrases. By learning more about affirmations, you can make the most of this practice.

Affirmations are statements that help you create the reality you want to experience. You focus on the things you want to see in the world and train your mind to notice opportunities. To do this effectively, you’ll want to choose useful affirmations and engage in visualization with each repetition.

Why Practice Affirmations?

With affirmations, we are focusing our minds. We are practicing our thinking. We choose to think about the world in a certain way so that we notice more of the world in that way.

We want to craft affirmations with positive connotations. The goal is for our affirmations to be about things that exist in the world, not things that don’t exist in the world.

When you practice affirmations, you’ll want to focus your mind on things you do want to see in the world.

We can’t find evidence of a “not” in the world. We can’t see proof of an absence of things. But you can see proof positive of a thing that exists in the world.

So let’s train our minds to focus on those positive things! That’s what you’re doing when you practice affirmations.

Affirmations are a way to tap into an alternate dimension. In that dimension, you are already showing up and being and doing in ways that match the reality you want to have. There, you’re creating everything that you’ve ever wanted.

Believing in the Power of Affirmations

“But wait a minute,” you may say. Perhaps you’re wondering whether you can really believe in affirmations. Do they really work?

Yes. Let’s talk about why.

When you’re saying an affirmation, you’re not negating anything in your life. You’re not trying to remove something or resist something.

Rather, you’re drilling a thought. You repeat it enough times that it becomes your default way of thinking.

You’ll notice that you’ve done this when you’re sitting in traffic, and, suddenly, your affirmations start running in the background of your mind. You’re just going about your day, and then you notice yourself saying your affirmation without conscious thought. When that happens, you’ll have arrived.

At that time, you can look around and notice what’s changed in your world. By priming yourself to look for evidence out in the world, you will then be able to find that evidence.

With affirmations, you are imagining a world in which things look a certain way. You’re affirming those things to yourself. And then, when you go out into the real world and things start to look that way, you will notice!

You will be aware of it. You will pat yourself on the back and keep moving in that direction. And you will say yes to the opportunities that go along with the reality that you want to experience.

There are an infinite number of opportunities around you all the time. There are whole stories inside people. There are countless opportunities all around you — in every house, in every store. You just don’t notice them because you’re busy thinking and doing other things.

With affirmation practices, you are priming yourself to notice those opportunities. Then, you will be more likely to take advantage of them.

How to Choose Your Affirmations: 5 Tips

The first step to getting started with affirmations is learning how to select affirmations that work for you.

Rather than depending only on premade lists, you can also develop your own affirmations. That way, they’ll be customized especially for you.

Even so, there’s a place for affirmation suggestions. They can be a useful springboard that helps you find the affirmations that are best for you.

In fact, I have quite a few affirmation resources to help you. As you work on developing your own affirmations, I recommend that you check them out for ideas.

You may want to start with:

Whether you’re starting from scratch or adapting suggested affirmations, the following five tips will help you do it well.

1) Make Your Affirmation Believable

It’s really important to be able to believe your affirmation.

If any part of your affirmation doesn’t sit with you, you’ll probably run into trouble using it. If there’s resistance to it, you’ll find yourself struggling against it.

You’ll want to do one of two things:

  • Find a way to accept that affirmation.
  • Pick an affirmation for yourself that’s easier for you to fully buy.

You don’t want there to be a resistance pattern there. You want to be in the full-on process of affirming to yourself your reality.

Keep in mind that your affirmation is something for you. The goal isn’t to match someone else’s standards for what your affirmation gets to be. When you remember that your affirmations are personal, that releases you from trying to fit into a particular box.

Rather, you can select affirmations that are fully believable for YOU, whether or not they’re a great fit for someone else.

2) Craft Your Affirmation in a Positive Sense

As I said before, your goal with affirmations is to focus your mind on positive things — things that you want to see in the world.

Things that don’t exist are tough to picture; if something simply isn’t, how can we find any proof of it?

Instead, shape your affirmations around reality — things that exist and that you want to see and believe.

3) Craft Your Affirmation in the “Now” Tense

The goal is to be present-focused. That way, you can affirm the truth of what you’re saying right now, today.

A future-focused affirmation might sound like this: “I will make better affirmations.”

Do you hear the way out that’s inherent to that phrasing? It allows you to put off making better affirmations for years without being untrue to yourself. With an affirmation like that, you aren’t starting your pursuit of better affirmations right here and now.

Actually, you are doing the opposite. You’re affirming the later-ness of affirmations. Oops. That’s not what you want.

Here’s a present-focused affirmation that could be used instead: “I am developing my skill in affirmation.”

Whoa, that gives this a whole different sense. Suddenly, it becomes something ongoing. It is something that you are doing right now.

4) Use a Present Participle

This next tip goes right along with the idea of giving yourself present-tense affirmations. But let’s go a little deeper. It’s time for a grammar lesson.

(Yes, I know. Yawn. Just stick with me. I promise it will be okay.)

I recommend including present participle verbs in your affirmations.

Oxford Languages defines present participles like this:

Present participles are used to form progressive constructions (e.g. thinking in I am thinking). They are also used alone in non-finite clauses (e.g. in Thinking, he stared out of the window). In English, present participles end in -ing

The last part of that definition is probably the easiest part to remember. Here are some examples of present participles:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Dancing
  • Drawing
  • Laughing
  • Choosing
  • Being

Basically, what I’m telling you is to use an -ing verb in your affirmations! That automatically puts your affirmation in the present tense. It turns it into an ongoing thing.

Instead of “I love my business,” try:

I’m building a business.
I’m growing a business.

5) Focus Your Affirmation on Qualities

If you were the person who had everything that you ever wanted, how would you be showing up in the world? What are the qualities that you would exhibit in the world?

Identify those and then start embodying them.

Qualities of Being

One way to do this is to say “I am…” and then finish your statement with a quality of being.

Qualities of being include the following:

  • Able
  • Calm
  • Confident
  • Energetic
  • Entertaining
  • Funny
  • Interesting
  • Relaxed

I am calm.
I am funny.
I am relaxed.

(You may notice that I’m breaking one of my “rules” here. There’s no present participle in that affirmation. That’s okay. It’s still in the present tense. You’re not saying, “I will be.” Instead, you’re focusing on the present: “I am.”)

I highly encourage you to include qualities for yourself in your affirmations.

Actions That Match Qualities

What actions would you take if you were the person who already fully embodied those qualities? What things would you do if you were the person who had accomplished everything that you ever wanted?

You can’t see the future, of course, but from where you’re standing right now, what would your actions look like in that reality?

Those are the actions that you want to be doing now. Craft an affirmation around that.

Think of it this way: You are building a future. You are building an alternate dimension.

Remember, affirmations allow you to tap into that alternate dimension. There, you are experiencing everything you’ve ever wanted. Everything that you want right now, in this moment, you can tap into all of that through affirmations.

How to Practice Affirmations: 8 Steps

Lists of affirmations can be helpful. They can serve as a springboard for your affirmation brainstorming. You can take the ideas that you see on premade lists and develop ideas for your own affirmations.

But I encourage you to resist the urge to just print these long lists of affirmations and hang them up. Sure, they might look nice displayed on your wall or posted on your computer. Having them on display isn’t really affirmations practice though.

It’s not that doing that is not useful. Actually, you’d be surrounding yourself with pleasant, positive thoughts. That can be useful, of course. So I don’t want to talk you out of it.

I just don’t want you to stop there. There’s a more useful way of practicing affirmations. Let’s take a look at what it involves.

Step #1: Find a Quiet Place By Yourself

For effective affirmations practice, you’ll want solitude. Go somewhere where you can be on your own, preferably somewhere quiet.

Taking a walk on your own can provide an ideal opportunity to practice affirmations. If that’s a comfortable fit for you, go for it. If you’d prefer to get your solitude in another way — taking a bath or cooking a meal, for instance — then that’s fine too.

Step #2: Visualize a Version of Yourself

Once you’re alone, envision the version of yourself where you’re already experiencing all the things that you want in your life. Look at that version of yourself.

Ask yourself the question, “Who will I be when I’m there?”

Think about all the different aspects of that version of yourself.

For example:

  • What am I?
  • What does it feel like to be that person?
  • What qualities does this version of me have?
  • What actions does this version of me take?

Step #3: Hold That Person in Your Mind.

Once you’ve fleshed out what that version of yourself looks like, put that person in your mind. Hold it there, imagining that future world. You’ll want to keep that visualization there as you go throughout your affirmation practice.

Step #4: Repeat Your Affirmation

It’s finally time to start saying your affirmation.

(I know, I know. You might be thinking, “Finally!” Yes, this process requires more attention than just hanging up a list of affirmations would. Trust me, though; the investment is worth it.)

For your affirmation recitation, I recommend using a set of mala beads.

Here’s what has to say about mala beads:

The term mala is derived from the Sanskrit word “Japamala,” which is a string of beads used for prayer and meditation by Hindus and Buddhists (similar to the concept of a Rosary in the Catholic faith). The string is made up of 108 individual beads, which are used to keep count while chanting or repeating a mantra while meditating.

Mala beads are useful for affirmation practice. You can repeat the affirmation 108 times — once for each bead. Counting on the beads will help you keep track of how many times you’ve said the affirmation during this practice session.

Are you looking to invest in a set of mala beads? You can find those on our resource page!

Step #5: Come Back to the Affirmation Every Day

Of course, you don’t have to stop at 108 repetitions each day. You’re welcome to go beyond that. Bonus points, if you will.

But remember, this is not a one-day activity.

You’ll want to come back to your affirmation practice the next day. And then the day after that.

Each time, you’ll know where to begin. Get to your quiet place. Center that version of yourself — the reality that you want to experience — in your mind. Then, use your mala beads as you start repeating your affirmation.

Step #6: Reevaluate Your Affirmation

Once you’ve gone through your affirmation about 1,000 times, it’s time to do some reevaluation. If you’re repeating the phrase at least 108 times a day, reaching 1,000 times will take about a week to a week and a half.

Then, ask yourself, “Does this still land? Am I these things? Are they what I want for myself?”

You can engage in this evaluation while you repeat your affirmation. Pay attention to whether the words flow off your tongue. Think about whether you like the images that come into your head as you say the words.

Consider whether there’s anything you want to add to your affirmation. Or, on the other hand, think about whether there is anything you want to take away.

This is the process of creating an affirmation that feels really useful for you. Nail down exactly what you want it to be. After that, you’ll be ready to commit to your affirmation fully.

Step #7: Repeat the Practice Day After Day

Now, the next step is simply to go for it. Throw yourself into your affirmation practice.

Set yourself an ambitious goal. For example, see how quickly you can get to 10,000 repetitions.

That probably seems like a lot right now. But when you break it down, it becomes a very achievable target.

Remember, with your mala beads, there isn’t any counting required. Just say the affirmation once for every bead. By the time you make your way back around to the tassel, you’ll have said it 108 times.

Do that 100 nights in a row, and you’ll have achieved your goal. That’s about a three-month commitment. In just over three months, you’ll have said your affirmation 10,000 times!

Go ahead and give it a shot. What have you got to lose?

Step #8: See the changes.

If you repeat your affirmation 10,000 times, you’ll notice that your life does shift. It may seem like magic. In actuality, though, it’s neuroscience.

In practicing affirmations, you are priming your brain to notice things. You are thinking more resourceful thoughts. You are expecting things that are more useful, and you are looking for evidence of things that are more positive.

With affirmations, you are saying the things that you want more of in the world. As you are doing that, you will find those things. You’ll find them because there is infinite evidence.

8 steps to practice affirmations

Affirmations: An Example

Let me give you an example of this from my own life.

Public speaking is something that I’m really big into. It’s the next phase of my business.

Visualization Practice

Here’s what I envision when I picture this new phase of public speaking:

It involves me going out and staying in hotels and talking to groups of people. They’re laughing as I talk, and they’re being moved. They’re finding new possibilities as I speak.

I close the show, and I head to the back. I wipe off my makeup and get cleaned up. As I do, people are waiting for me outside the dressing room.

When I come out, they’re asking me questions and so curious about what I’m saying. They’re fully engaged with the material.

This version of me is so confident. He has an agent who is booking more and more speaking engagements for him.

Not only that, but he’s also working on his craft. He’s busy creating speeches and talks and workshopping them. He’s making them really useful and effective.

In addition to booking engagements through his agent, he’s also getting calls from people. They’re asking him to come and speak to their groups. He is a public speaker.

He’s a writer too. Because people are so eager to hear what he has to say, he has published a book.

These are the sort of things that I find in my mind as I do my visualization practice.

Qualities and Actions

Once I see that guy, I ask myself, “What am I?”

I’m building a massive public speaking platform. I’m building a massive audience.

I ask myself, “What qualities does this version of me have?”
I am:

  • Committed — I have decided that I am a public speaker.
  • Playful and irreverent — I see people laughing and enjoying themselves.
  • Charismatic — I see all those eyes glued to me.
  • Magnetic — I see people paying attention and thinking about what I’m saying.
  • Connected — I see people coming to talk to me or calling me to book an engagement.


Now, I can say my affirmations. With that person in my mind, I take my beads in hand to repeat my affirmations 108 times.

I repeat, “I am connected, magnetic and playful. I’m building a massive audience.”

As I do that, day after day, I evaluate what I’m saying. I consider whether the words are comfortably flowing off my tongue and whether I like the pictures that the words put into my head. If needed, I tweak them until they feel useful.

And then I just keep up the practice, saying those affirmations each day until I’ve said them 10,000 times or more. “I am connected, magnetic and playful. I am connected, magnetic and playful. I’m building a massive audience. I’m building a massive audience.”

As I do that, day after day, I evaluate what I’m saying. I consider whether the words are comfortably flowing off my tongue and whether I like the pictures that the words put into my head. If needed, I tweak them until they feel useful.

And then I just keep up the practice, saying those affirmations each day until I’ve said them 10,000 times or more. “I am connected, magnetic and playful. I am connected, magnetic and playful. I’m building a massive audience. I’m building a massive audience.”

This is one example of my approach to affirmations. Yours gets to be unique to you and the reality you want to experience. But I hope that my illustration helps you see how you can put affirmations to work in your own life.
Through affirmations, you can create the reality that you want to experience. If you’re ready to get started, it’s time to get a set of mala beads and check out our helpful lists of affirmations for your life.
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