Remember that affirmations program the mind as you would program your computer. In the computing world there is an acronym: GIGO. It stands for: Garbage In, Garbage Out. This means that your computer can and will only respond to what is input into its system. If your machine is running cleanly, then you download and install a program and your computer crashes, it’s likely that the program had a virus. If you put garbage into a computer, you can expect to get garbage out.

Be Genuinely Positive

It is the same with the human mind. You cannot consistently program your mind with negativity and expect that good things will be the result. When you approach the affirmations process, you must make certain that you do so with a positive frame of mind. Making successful affirmations is far more than speaking a few words in a set order. You may speak ten different affirmations each morning and evening, but if you don’t really believe that the whole affirmation process can work, you will most likely follow each one with a negative thought or comment that screws up all your good work. For example:

You affirm: “I am a happy and successful person.”
You think: Yeah, buddy, in your dreams.

You affirm: “I am a wealthy individual.”
You think: Sure, once I win the lottery.

You affirm: “My mind is at peace with the world.”
You think: When I’m half-cut perhaps.

You get the idea. Making positive affirmations is not enough. You must believe them to be true to the exclusion of any and all counterproductive thoughts or feelings. Cynicism is a sure fire way to negate positive affirmations.

Use Positive Wording

Although it may seem silly even mentioning that positive affirmations should be positive, this is an essential part of framing a positive affirmation and refers to the specific words you choose. For example, to quit smoking, you should not say: “I don’t want to smoke any more.” Instead, you could try: “I am free from smoking”, or “I live a smoke-free, healthy life.” Your affirmations should be about what you desire to happen, not about what you don’t want to happen.

Use the Present Tense

We live our lives in the present moment. It may not seem that way when you are worrying about the future or regretting the past, but there is really nothing more than what is happening now. We hear people say that you have to live in the moment, and we understand the sense in doing so, but it remains a notoriously difficult practice to master.

However, in positive thinking and in positive affirmations especially, the present tense is paramount; if not your ability to actually live in the moment, certainly your willingness to accept its importance in reprogramming your mind.

Your mind works in the present tense. It knows no other way to think. We create a past for ourselves in our memories and the emotions attached to them. We build a future for ourselves with our hopes and desires, or fears and sorrows. But our mind lives in the now. This means that any negative thoughts about your past that you carry with you at this moment create your present. You are perpetuating your past. You know how this works. If you recall a very sad situation, even from many years ago, it can make you cry. Your mind is interpreting this memory as happening now, and creates an appropriate response. It cannot differentiate between what happened ten years ago and what happened ten seconds ago; it can only react to what is in your mind right now.

The upshot for your positive affirmations is that they must be phrased so that the mind can act upon them at this moment in time, therefore you must use the present tense.

Let’s take the obvious example, and assume you want to be rich. You have three options as to how this is phrased:
* The past tense – In this case you might say: “I always wanted to be rich.” Your mind takes this to mean that you did want to be rich but not any more, therefore it does not take the required actions to bring it about.
* The future tense – In this case, you might say: “I will be a rich person.” This might seem the obvious choice because you are planning for your future, but this is also the wrong way to phrase your affirmations. Your mind interprets this as meaning that you will be rich in the future, but not now, so fails to take any action.
* The present tense – In this scenario, you might say: “I am a rich person.” Don’t worry, your mind is not going to take issue with you on this because you may not actually have very much money; rather it will respond by attempting to create the circumstances to match the affirmation. You have, in effect, given your mind an order that must be acted upon now.

If this smacks of a little self-delusion, this is just something you have to cope with. You are programming your mind in the way it must be programmed. Clearly, you have to exercise a little caution here. Telling your mind you are rich does not instantly put money in the bank. If you see a Ferrari drive by, you can say: “That Ferrari is my car”, but that does not mean you should run to your bank and withdraw all your funds to put down a deposit at your local Ferrari dealership. Such behavior will obviously provoke immense panic on your part once you realize you now can’t buy a tin of beans for dinner, and thus it will work against your positive attitude.

Talking in the present tense is not about deluding yourself or ignoring your current reality; it is about giving your mind orders in the language it best understands.

Be Passionate

This almost goes without saying, because if you have heartfelt desires you should automatically be passionate about them. However, there may be times in your life when the burdens of the world are weighing on you and your affirmations take a knock. Your mood drops and you cannot summon the enthusiasm for even those people or things closest to your heart. Just remember that this can become a vicious circle, and the only way to break it is to replace your negativity with positive thoughts. Making the effort to repeat your affirmations passionately can help resurrect your mood in very little time.

Add Visualization and Other Senses

This may come naturally to some people who think in visual images, but it is something everyone should be practicing when they speak their positive affirmations. This is most effective when you have a little quiet time for your affirmations, so you can sit down and close your eyes and back up your words with your senses.

Let’s stick with the Ferrari example. Owning a Ferrari might represent the pinnacle of achievement for some people. It may be the only affirmation they utter, because they know that they will only come to own one through the attainment of riches generally.

So here’s the affirmation: “I own a Ferrari F430 Spider.” Naming the car makes it specific and personal and allows for a deeper emotional involvement. But to make this affirmation as powerful as possible, you should know what one looks like so you can visualize it and see yourself sitting in it; you should know what one sounds like; you should be able to smell the leather interior; you should be able to feel the vibrations from the engine.

Your intention must be to convince your mind that your affirmation is real in every detail, and this means bringing as many senses into play as possible.

Be Patient and Persevere

There is a saying: “Good things come to those who wait.” Affirmations do not produce immediate results, so be prepared for this. Unless you win the lottery, your dreams of instant riches are unrealistic. Depending on the desired outcome of your affirmation, you may be waiting days, weeks, months or years. Be patient and keep up with your affirmations.

As Often as Possible

Your affirmations need to be spoken regularly for them to be effective. This is where the analogy with computers ends. You program a computer once and it is all set up. Not so with affirmations. Affirmations work with repetition. In this respect, it is more akin to training a puppy. You get it to obey the command to sit, but the next time it is too interested in chewing your shoe. It is only with repetition that the penny finally drops and you achieve your desired results. The mind needs to be trained in exactly the same manner.

Your mind is prone to drifting and going its own sweet way. This is why so many people are at the mercy of their emotions and their thoughts; why their lives seem so out of control. The orders you give to your mind need to be given regularly. Could you train a dog by telling it to “Sit!” once a week? Equally, no matter how many times you told it, could you train a dog by telling it “I always wanted you to sit!”, or “You will sit tomorrow!”? The only way to do it is to speak in the present tense and repeat the order until the message gets through. This also highlights the importance of keeping your affirmations short and to the point. This makes them easier to remember and punchier.

As for exactly how many times to repeat your affirmations, the answer is as often as possible. You should always strive to do this in the morning and the evening out loud. These might be 5 to 10 minute sessions that really focus the mind. However, the time in the morning when you are still half-asleep in bed is also ideal because your brainwaves are still in alpha, which is considered the optimum brainwave activity for connection with the universe. During the day, of course there will be times when you are concentrating on other matters, but there will also be numerous opportunities when it is possible. Whenever your mind is free, put it to work with your affirmations. Even if you cannot speak out loud or close your eyes and engage your senses, repeat your affirmations mentally to yourself.

As far as possible, try to attain a relaxed mood during your affirmations. Stress and tension detract from your mind’s ability to focus.

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