Affirmations are one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. Saying something positive that you’d like to see manifest in your life is the first step in seeing your dreams through. The goal of affirmations isn’t necessarily to make all your wishes magically come true but to inspire a mindset that helps you take action.

To start, take time to sit and write down what changes you want to make happen in your life. Are you looking to improve your relationships? Be better to your body? Maybe you are feeling like you need an attitude change. Focus on these aspects and work from there. After you’ve established your base goals, you can start formulating your affirmations. Here are a few basic pointers to keep in mind.

Use “I” and “My” In Your Affirmations

Your affirmation is all about you, so it helps when the language reflects that. Starting with “I” or “My” is most effective.

Stay Positive

Don’t focus on things you’re wanting to avoid or get rid of. Rather, focus on the positive side of behaviors. After all, negative language is too much like punishment, and our brain does far better with motivation. For example, rather than say, “I refuse to eat junk food”, opt for “I embrace healthy eating.”

Avoid “Want” or “Need”

Saying words like “I want” or “I need” takes focus away from your goal and puts emphasis on the desire for that goal. Good alternatives are, “I choose”, “I am”, “I embrace”, and “I have.”

Keep It In The Present Tense

Avoid using words like, “I will.” Making your affirmation about the future means you subconsciously put your goals off for later. After all, affirmations are about creating changes now, not waiting for when you are ready to make them happen.

Aim for Short And Sweet

While length will vary according to your goals and personal style, shorter affirmations are generally quicker to remember and roll nicely off the tongue. The easier it is to say, the more often you’ll say it!

Make Your Language Authentic

An affirmation is most effective when it sounds and reads like your real speaking voice. The closer your affirmation is to something you would actually say, the more natural it will feel. Be mindful of the words that feel too flowery, too terse, or too jumbled.

Be Realistic

Don’t aim for something that feels too far-fetched. For example, if you’re focused on finance and money, saying “I am a billionaire” has little effect because it’s unlikely that you’ll suddenly come into that much wealth. Instead, try “I welcome financial abundance” or “I am a financial wiz!”.

Believe Yourself

In relation to the previous tip, what is possible versus what feels possible varies from person to person. Depending on your confidence level, some of the most authentic and doable goals can still feel out of reach. If your goal feels too aspirational but it’s something you genuinely want to work on, you can modify your language so that you are more likely to believe in your own abilities. Try, “I strive for…”, “I have potential to…”, or “I am willing to…”

Once you’ve composed your affirmations, you can say them as often as you’d like! Write them down and keep them on hand. Make it a daily habit of saying your affirmations at certain times of day, like when you get up in the morning or when you go sleep at night.

Affirmations are not mere wish fulfillment, and they aren’t magic. Rather, they are the pep talks we can give ourselves to create change for the better.