The 7 rules for affirmations that “work”

Healing Personal Development & Growth Reiki Spirituality

The 7 rules for affirmations that “work”

Along the path of awakening, we discover that we can create our own reality. We realize that everything has its own frequency or vibrations and that we attract whatever we give off. Therefore, we know that by raising our vibrations we can attract the reality that we want. There are many ways one can raise one’s vibrations; yoga, meditation, reiki, singing and dancing, talking to a friend, admiring the sunset, practicing gratitude, repeating positive affirmations and so on. 

Since you know what to expect from affirmations having read my article “Do affirmations really work?” today we will examine how to form affirmations so that they support our spiritual journey in the best possible way. 

I cannot stress enough how important words are. Words, like everything else for that matter, are the carriers of our thoughts and our thoughts, in turn, are the embodiment of our Intentions.

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words;

watch your words, they become your actions;

watch your actions, they become your habits;

watch your habits, they become your character;

watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Lao Tzu

How to formulate our own affirmations

For an affirmation to work, our intention must be clear. Clear intentions produce clear thoughts; clear thoughts produce clear words; clear words materialize into clear facts.

It is quite simple to understand, but sometimes less simple to put into practice. The problem is that sometimes we do not formulate the affirmation in the right way.

A positive affirmation must be the expression of our true and clear intention.

It must 

  • contain words that are part of our everyday vocabulary
  • be as short as possible
  • always be in the present tense 
  • always contain verbs that denote fact and not future wish 
  • always be in the affirmative
  • deal with one subject at a time 
  • focus on an open-ended, positive outcome

Rule number 1: An affirmation must contain words that are part of our everyday vocabulary

There are many books written on the subject and some suggest ready-made, one-size-fits-all affirmations for each situation. I am not a huge fan of these books and I will explain why.  

Repeating someone else’s affirmations, even if they worked for them, would not be as effective as using your own. First of all, the words and phrases have to make sense to you. They have to be part of your vocabulary for them to have any chance of materializing. 

I don’t know if you have noticed, but we don’t all speak the same “language”. We might all speak English but we don’t express ourselves in the same way. Our language might depend on our learning styles. An example would be the verb of the senses when they are used to mean understand. A visual type is more likely to say “I see what you are saying.”, an aural type would say “I hear you brother.” whereas a social type would say “I feel you”. The words we use in our everyday life resonate with us and are imbued with our energy therefore creating a much more effective affirmation that can speak to our subconscious when used along with another practice giving us access to it. 

All in all, ready-made affirmations can only be used as guidelines. Make your own!

Rule number 2; An affirmation must be as short as possible

Using too many words or complicated expressions can have you miss the point and not express your intention clearly. 

Take your time to formulate your affirmation. Rephrase it again and again, change the words multiple times if you have to until you find the phrase that speaks to your heart. The phrase should be concise but full of meaning to you.

To formulate our intention in a concise way, we need to think, rethink, formulate, reformulate, change and finally choose a short phrase which is full of meaning. 

Rule number 3: An affirmation must always be in the present tense

Expressing an affirmation in the present tense means that we must formulate it as if the action, the wish, had already been achieved. Present perfect or the passive voice will equally do the trick.

Some may argue that it is ridiculous to say “I have the job …” when they have been unemployed for several years. If you are one of those people, please, for your own sake, don’t practice affirmations. They will do more harm than good as I explain in my blogs “Do affirmations really work? and “The pitfalls of positive thinking”.

However, if you are “open” enough to try them expressing them in the present tense is the only way to assert them.

I you are the “open” type, don’t let it inflate your ego thinking that you are better than those who can’t do it.  Being “open” to affirmations that are clearly not true (for the moment) merely means that your subconscious doesn’t oppose the phrase because there is no conflict with a previously “recorded” ingrained idea coming from your childhood. 

If at some point you were told that “You will never get a steady job!” or “You don’t deserve to have a steady job”, it is possible that this idea has become so deeply embedded in our subconscious that even years later you will unwillingly and unknowingly act in such a way that you will not be able to keep a job for more than a few months. The conscious mind cannot in most cases override the “directives” ingrained in our subconscious. That is why, if this is the case, affirmations alone don’t work (and can have adverse effects on someone’s emotional and mental state).


Sometimes, one needs to use the passive voice (always in the present) or the present perfect tense. Here’s an example. If you want to sell you house, the affirmation should be “the house is sold” or “I have sold the house”. 

Rule number 4: Affirmations must always contain verbs that denote fact and not future wish

Make sure you never use verbs like want, find and meet (and all of their synonyms).

There are two explanations:

  1. our subconscious mind concentrates on action itself and not on the desirable outcome. Here’s what we should avoid: “I want to have a well-paid job.”. With such a phrase, our unconscious will focus on the verb want and not on the end result of you having the job. You will keep wanting because that’s what you asked for, to want. And, 
  2. you will draw attention on the lack instead of the abundance that you intend to invite. The verb “want” implies that don’t have something, that something is missing. Living in abundance, in all areas of life, is possible and this is where our role as an active creator of our own reality comes into play: I accept that abundance exists and that I too have the right to rejoice in it (even if today I only experience it in my mind). I formulate my affirmations and I repeat them in my head every day and I thus contribute to my own transformation.

Rule number 5: Affirmations must always be in the affirmative

Expressing an affirmation in the affirmative (we don’t call them affirmations for no reason) is crucial because the use of negations only reinforces the old belief. 

Here’s why: our subconscious mind does not hear small words like “not” and focuses on the verb. Therefore, if we repeat “I don’t smoke anymore” our subconscious will hear “smoke”! 

This rule applies in all the techniques that work with the human subconscious: Hypnosis, NLP, Yoga Nidra, etc.

Rule number 6: Affirmations must always deal with one subject at a time

When we express several intentions in a single sentence, our subconscious will be confused and will understand that all these intentions must manifest simultaneously or that each intention is a condition for all the others. Some limiting beliefs are easier to get rid of than others. If we use several ideas in a single manifestation, we risk having none of them manifest. 

If we use only one intention per affirmation, we have a lot more chances of “success” as our intention won’t be blocked by other, impertinent limiting beliefs. Therefore, they it will manifest fairly quickly. 

Of course, we can “work” on several different intentions on the same day, but we will have a separate affirmation for each. 

Rule number 7: An affirmation must focus on an open-ended, positive outcome

Do we always know what is good for us? Are we sure that receiving exactly what we want is really to our advantage? We have all had difficult moments which did not turn out to be negative, on the contrary, in retrospect we were happy that things happened the way they did. Do you remember the story of the king who had his pinky cut off? It seemed like a disaster at the time but… (click here to read the story if you already haven’t).

Instead of affirming “I am employed by (X) company” try instead “I am employed by a company that covers all my needs”

So, avoid affirmations that are focused on a specific outcome and be open to receiving the universe’s gifts.

Thanks to this meticulous work, our intention becomes clearer and clearer and our affirmations attract what is best for us.

If you have difficulty forming affirmations, email me at to claim your complimentary 20’ session.

Photo by Natalie Grainger on Unsplash

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