I personally came to the conclusion that the degree of success with Affirmations is directly proportional to two things 1. The Design of the Verbal Affirmation 2. How effectively you are using it.
The following tips on designing a verbal affirmation is the best I've come across so far, it's simple and gets the point across perfectly.. I'm very excited to share this stuff with you. From now on follow these simple ten steps to create a affirmation for any goal you want to achieve.
(Source : Release Your Brakes by James Newman (Book))
WORDING YOUR VERBAL AFFIRMATIONS
1. PERSONAL. Be sure that you are in the affirmation. Use a first person pronoun such as "I," "me/* "my" in each one. It may be tempting to use a platitude like "Patience is a virtue," or "Enthusiasm makes sales," but such sentences will have ho effect whatever on your behavior. If you find
yourself feeling some tension about your frequent use of "I" in your affirmations, simply recognize that tension as one more illustration of the effect of childhood programming on your behavior. The purpose of this entire exercise is to bring about some lasting changes in the self image, and the only way that will happen is with first person experience in your imagination, stimulated by a first person affirmation.
2. POSITIVE. In each case, the affirmation must describe the attitude that you want,to cultivate or more toward, not what you want to diminish or move away from. Instead of, "I don't lose my temper," the better affirmation would be, "I am calm and even tempered."
3. PRESENT TENSE, Reference to the past or the future in an affirmation will diminish or destroy the effect of the triggering sentence. "I am getting things done more promptly than I used to" will stimulate the experiences and emotions related to past behavior—and that is not what you want to be dwelling on. An affirmation phrased in the future tense always remains in the "some day" category and reinforces the fact that you are not behaving that way here and now. Instead of "I am going to be more patient," or, "One of these days I am going to get organized," the better affirmations are, "I am a very patient, understanding person," and, "I organize my time very carefully and follow the plans that I have made."
4. ACHIEVEMENT. The affirmation should indicate that the desired change has been achieved, not that you are growing or progressing in that area. Thus, "I have a sincere, outgoing, warm regard for others" will have a much greater effect than "I am steadily improving my warmth toward others." Your objective is to develop an affirmation which will easily evoke an imagined experience, and it is much easier to imagine the accomplished change than a changing process.
5. CATEGORICAL. Do not compare yourself with others in your affirmations. Instead of, "I am the most productive sales person in our company," a better wording is, "I am an excellent sales person and my production is very high." Comparing yourself with others opens the door to unconscious acts which might impair the effectiveness of other people
rather than strengthen your own.
6. ACTION. The affirmation should represent an action, not an ability. Wording such as "I have the ability to remember names," or "I can relax," simply makes the affirmation more difficult to experience in the imagination. Better wording is, "I remember people's names easily," and "I relax easily and quickly whenever I want to do so."
7. EXCITEMENT. Whenever possible put the positive emotion you want to cultivate right into the wording of the affirmation. For example, 'T am very proud to be free of the smoking habit, and I feel terrific!" or "I am a very enthusiastic person and I enjoy expressing my enthusiasm and excitement to others," are affirmations which are enhanced by the positive feelings included in them.
8. ACCURACY AND BALANCE. In those areas where a specific, measurable objective is part of your definition, do not overshoot in the hope that results may be achieved more rapidly. If you are affirming a particular weight level, golf or bowling score, or some other change which can be measured, then pinpoint the affirmation to the exact level you wish to achieve. Be careful what you affirm—it will happen!
9. REALISTIC. Do not affirm perfection. Such affirmations only lead to frustration, and in some cases are not truly representative of what you actually want to accomplish. For example, the affirmation, "I am always enthusiastic," may lead to frustration—and there are some occasions when it is not desirable to be enthusiastic. Look out for words like "always," "perfectly," and "completely."
10. YOURSELF ONLY. Sometimes it may be very tempting to write out an affirmation about someone else's behavior, such as "People like me," or "My children admire and respect me." Unfortunately, your affirmations will only have an effect upon your behavior. In fact, there can even be a "backlash" effect if your affirmation develops an expectancy which conflicts with the perceived behavior of the other person. Better affirmations are, "I enjoy building friendships with others," and "I am the kind of parent who earns and deserves the respect and admiration of my children."
Designing a good affirmation isn't enough..
Some key concepts to understand Affirmations better..
#1. Goals : When you set a goal and program it into your "REALITY" structure, a conflict develops between "the way things are" and "the way things are supposed to be" which stimulates creativity and releases the necessary energy to achieve the goal.
There is one more aspect of the conflict resolution process which we do not yet clearly understand, but which should at least be mentioned. Sometimes your mental system seems to be able to tap outside sources of information or inspiration through some channel other than the conscious process of perception. This may be related to parapsychology—telepathy, clairvoyance etc.—or for some it may seem to have religious or spiritual implications.
Setting goals in itself releases Internal Pontential and attracts External Potential and triggers your creativity(conflict resolution) to achieve the desired outcome.
#2. Affirmations : Simply put 'Affirmations' is just another powerful to tool that helps us program our sub-conscious mind into believing a New reality (notion) by using Auto suggestions.
#3. How Affirmations work: Affirmations is the use of Verbal thoughts to trigger emotional and conceptual thoughts and feelings to create an image.
When we are able to use Affirmations successfully to change our 'Reality Structure/Notion' in our mind - our Mind/Brain/Heart starts using all it's internal and external potential to bring that 'Internal reality' into real world manifestation. We continuously act and produce results according to our reality structure that we have formed about our abilities. HUMAN BEHAVIOR TENDS TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE INDIVIDUAL'S CURRENTLY DOMINANT "REALITY" STRUCTURE. If we can change that Reality Structure to something more inclined to our desired outcome - we can accelerate the process of achieving our goals many times over. This is a scientific fact.
If your mind have accepted something as the 'Reality' - the outer world and your internal potential starts working in various ways to guide you to experience that reality in the real world.
PLEASE NOTE : From my personal experience, I wouldn't say Affirmations or Visualization guarantees SUCCESS but it definitely speeds up the whole process by triggering new ideas, thoughts and unseen opportunities to manifest the 'Perceived reality' into real world experience.
Some things to know about yourself (your mind) before we proceed..
a. We've unlimited potential or at least much more potential than we think we actually do because of our negative conditioning and low achievements of our past.
b. 'Positive emotional patterns' or 'positive expectancy' helps you release your brakes and utilize your full potential and abilities to achieve almost anything we now think is impossible.
c. HUMAN BEHAVIOR TENDS TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE INDIVIDUAL'S CURRENTLY DOMINANT "REALITY" STRUCTURE and your Reality Structure is built by how you filter information and the feelings associated with the world around you. Due to varying environment in which we receive and accept information we associate feelings to them and limit our potential to that REALITY we form in our mind - which is highly inaccurate due to the filters in our mind.
(Knowledge + Feelings = Reality Structure or Attitude Patterns)
d. NO ONE ELSE CAN DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE WITHIN YOUR SYSTEM. ONLY YOU CAN DO THAT!
e. Our REALITY Structure can be changed by Affirmations and Visualization (Creative Imagination)
I x V = "R"
Imagination times vividness equals "REALITY"!
TO THE DEGREE THAT YOU EXPERIENCE AN EVENT VIVIDLY IN YOUR IMAGINATION, IT IS ACCEPTED AND RECORDED SUBCONSCIOUSLY AS "REALITY"—SOMETHING WHICH HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!
f. All lasting change in the human behavior starts on the inside, with a changed image of 'REALITY'.
Quick Tips on how to use your Affirmations more effectively:
1. First set a few goals : You can set as many as 20+ different goals pertaining to different areas of your life. Number of goals doesn't matter as long as they are congruent to each other. Don't be afraid to set lofty goals - lofty goals generate more creativity and has many other benefits.
Once you have a set of goals you can either focus on the top few or all of them depending on whatever you're comfortable with.
2. Use the 'DESIGN RULES FOR WORDING YOUR VERBAL AFFIRMATIONS' points to create highly effective Affirmations for each goals. (See above)
3. Affirmations can either be read loud to yourself or another dynamic idea is to record your affirmations and listen to them. My research shows even though this is not a widely used method - but people have found great results listening to their own voice.
4. Remember, There are three media that we use at a conscious level which, together, contribute to the development of attitudes (Reality). The most obvious of these, to most people is the VERBAL medium. We think with words.
The three media of thought, verbal, conceptual, and emotional, are flowing continuously in your mental system— at least during your waking hours.
Affirmations is the use of Verbal thoughts to trigger emotional and conceptual thoughts and feelings to create an Attitude Patter (Reality).
Remember, IMAGINATION X VIVIDNESS = REALITY
5. Two specific times to do your affirmations - The 15 minutes before sleep and the few minutes after you wake up still in bed. You can carry your affirmations with you and use it as many times as you like all through out the day - but the most effective times are the few minutes exactly before and after sleep hours. I wouldn't get into the scientific explanation to that - trust me on this.
6. THE KEY INGREDIENT - (The most important piece of the puzzle). While doing your affirmations "LET THE POSITIVE EMOTIONS/FEELINGS FLOW THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE SYSTEM and live the experience momentarily.
(Remember; Imagination X Vividness = Reality)
You get the point, right?
You feelings and emotions build your reality structure, allow the verbal affirmations to create those feelings and experience them as it is already a part of your life.
7. Once you start using affirmations sincerely (extreme dedication but without exerting too much effort), within only a few days or hours depending on the degree of your success, you'll develop this positive attitude towards those area of your life.
This is the time to START acting on your hunches and intuitions. Our intuitions somehow already know what is right for us - and you'll probably have new opportunities coming your way during this time.
During this time, listen to your inner voice more often, have an open mind to change and be alert to passing opportunities.
This will make all the difference, once you think you've made significant changes in your mind using Affirmations, the only way to rip it's benefits are to be driven by your gut instincts(intuition) there on and be ready to act on your hunches. (It may cost you sometime, but gut instincts are way more valuable than our logical instincts) and it is always congruent to your life's ultimate purpose.
I've thoroughly enjoyed writing this post, hope it contributes to your success in some way. Do let me know what you if I was able to help you understand these concepts better, and what has been your personal experience with Affirmations.
Any new tips or additional information that I could add in this post is welcomed.