Do you feel good about an affirmation?Affirmations are a great way to literally change your mind.

Through repetition, any statement becomes a belief. If you heard “you’re such a good girl” when you were growing up but your sister heard, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” then those repeated phrases became part of your individual belief systems.

And just as you picked up negative beliefs about yourself, you can override them by using affirmations and so create new empowering beliefs.

Many people use affirmations, but many also do it wrong.

How can you tell? The best way is to check your feelings. How do you feel when you say an affirmation? Do you feel good and confident? Do you believe it? Or, do you feel like you’re telling yourself a big fat lie?

If an affirmation feels like a lie, it’s most likely because you’re making one or both of these mistakes that people make on their affirmations. But never fear, you can fix them easily:

1. The use of ‘don’t’ and ‘not’

For example, you might say “I am not afraid” or “I don’t worry about money.” The problem here is that your brain thinks in pictures. There is no visual representation of negatives – no street sign style of red slash through a word, because there is no word, only a picture. So when you say “I am not afraid” your brain can only create two images based on that statement: ‘you’ and ‘afraid’. When put together, all your brain sees is, ‘I am afraid’. The same goes for “I don’t worry.” Your brain puts together a mental image of you, and a mental image of the act of worrying and a mental image of money. That equals you, worrying about money.

Get it?

Here’s how to fix that: ONLY focus on WHAT YOU WANT. Instead of “I am afraid,” say “I am confident” or “I am relaxed.”

Are you coming from a place of lack?2. The unintended use of fear-based emotions of lack. When you say affirmations about wealth and you’re currently experiencing a state of poverty, you may believe that you are telling yourself a lie because inside, you certainly don’t feel abundant. Your affirmation is infused with fear – lack – and thus your brain creates the association between money and “not having” and any statement to the contrary gets filtered out by your belief that you don’t have money.

Here’s how to fix it: only say affirmations of GRATITUDE and pile your desires and needs right in there with the experiences, people and things you appreciate that are already in your life: for example, say “I am grateful for my health and for making a comfortable living doing what I love.” Or, “I am so thankful for my creativity and for a partner who I can share my life with.”

This does two things: first, gratitude makes you feel good; and second, you don’t feel lack when you think about things you already have, so lumping the thing you want in there, is a very powerful signal to the brain that this thing (or person or experience) is ALREADY part of your life – and then, remarkably, you’ll take the kinds of actions necessary to bring it about, with no resistance, because your brain cannot distinguish between ‘reality’ and ‘imagination’. A picture/feeling is a picture/feeling, regardless of whether it came from your senses or from your imagination.

Remember that it takes time for any “I am” statement to “stick.” It’s taken you years and years to develop a belief about yourself, and it’s not going to change overnight! But – stick with it, infuse your affirmations with positivity and gratitude, and you will soon start to see the effects of your new thinking!