Affirmations are a powerful tool for changing how you think and feel about yourself. However, despite what some might say or hope, they don’t work instantly. It takes time for a positive affirmation to become really effective.
The good news is that there are some easy ways to make affirmations work faster. You don’t need a magic wand, just determination and consistency.
Exactly How do Affirmations Work?
Affirmations are statements that you either believe to be true, or that you want to be true. They are always reinforcing a belief, for better or worse. If you frequently tell yourself, “I’m a failure,” that’s an affirmation. It’s just not a very good one, right?
Think about some of the most frequent criticisms you say about yourself, how many times have they played in your head? All this time, you’ve been telling yourself that negative affirmation. It’s not The Truth, it’s just something you repeat out of habit because your brain has been trained to believe it. And because you believe it, you act on it.
Our brains are kind of like computers, as we grow up programs—our beliefs—are installed into our subconscious mind, and we operate from that programming until we upgrade our software.
When you repeat an affirmation to yourself, you are programing your subconscious mind to believe what you are saying (or reinforcing an old belief). This then manifests in your behavior and attitude, which can either lead to negative results or success in achieving your goals and feeling more empowered.
The good news is that thanks to neuroplasticity our brains can be upgraded, even when we feel like an unwanted trait is part of our very identity.
Used the right way, affirmations can increase your confidence, overcome negative thoughts and beliefs, and help you develop the qualities you need to achieve your goals. Sounds pretty great, right?
How long does it take for affirmations to work?
The change you want to see from affirmations can depend on the issue and how deeply you feel like it’s part of your identity, as well as how easily you believe it can be changed. If your attitude is I may have struggled with this for a long time but I know I can change this, you’re going to see results faster than someone who doesn’t believe a transformation is really possible.
To get the best results from affirmations, they need to be used 1-2 times a day for a minimum of 30 days, but it can take up to a few months. Affirmations are retraining your brain to think and feel a new way, and like with any positive behavior you want to see results from, they need to become habitual until thinking this new way is automatic.
The more consistent you are, the faster your results will be.
How many affirmations should I say a day?
You should use between 1 and 10 affirmations at a time. If there’s just one that really resonates with you, then repeat that at least 10 times once or twice a day. If you have 10 affirmations, do 3-5 rounds of saying them. What matters most is that they feel really good to you.
Don’t expect to recite a whole list everyday because you’ll get overwhelmed and quit.
Once an affirmation feels like it’s 100% true, you can choose a new one if you want to. Each month I like to make a list of 10 and at the end of the month I’ll switch out a few if I feel like I don’t need them anymore.
What’s the best time to use affirmations?
Anytime is a good time to use affirmations, but first thing in the morning or just before going to sleep is the best time to reprogram your brain because your mind is a bit more relaxed and suggestible.
Help, I don’t believe my positive affirmation!
If you have low self-esteem and say to yourself, “I always feel confident!” of course it’s going to feel like a lie. When you don’t believe in an affirmation, it’s hard to make yourself say it with any conviction. If you don’t believe it, that creates resistance to it working.
A way to make believing your affirmations easier is by saying something like, “I am in the process of becoming a more confident person” or “I am willing to believe I can become a more confident person today.” It will feel a lot better. You can also try:
- I am beginning to feel…
- I am becoming 1% more…
- I am getting better at…
- I am learning to…
- It is possible for me to become…
Use these add-ons for the first week or two, then switch to the more simple “I am _____” statement.
Free Self Love Journal Prompts PDF for Subscribers
6 Ways to Make Affirmations Work Faster
1. Say Affirmations in the Present or Past Tense
There is a big difference between saying “Someday I’ll be a confident person” and “I AM a confident person.”
When you put the quality you want to be in the future, your brain will keep it in the future. It’s not going to make that true right now. However if you say it in the present or past tense, like it’s already happened, your brain then starts to get the hint and works on making it true.
So always frame your affirmations as if it’s true right now, even if it’s not. The more you say it, the more you’ll believe it.
2. Say Affirmations Out Loud
You can absolutely say your affirmations in your mind, but it’s important to hear them spoken out loud too. Speak them in the shower, in the car, while taking a walk, while doing chores, during meditation, whenever and wherever you can.
Do this at least once a day, shortly after waking up or just before going to sleep. If you’re feeling motivated, you can say them several times a day.
3. Say Affirmations Into the Mirror
Affirmations work even faster when you look yourself in the eyes as you say them, so say them into the mirror daily if you can. It may feel very awkward at first, but after a few days it will actually make you feel really good!
When your subconscious mind can link the positive statement to you both audibly and visually, your affirmation becomes supercharged. There’s no questioning if it could be about someone else, YOU are the one who is confident, beautiful, powerful, successful, abundant, etc.
4. Say Affirmations While Tapping
Emotional Freedom Technique is a practice of tapping on meridian points on the body (it’s basically a form of acupressure) and speaking about an issue you’re experiencing. Activating these points tells the part of your brain that creates fear and anxiety to calm down.
Usually you talk about the problem before ‘tapping in’ the solution, but another great way to use tapping is while saying your affirmations out loud. It helps you install the positive belief more quickly.
Below is a graphic of the points to tap, you simply use gentle pressure and repeatedly tap while saying the affirmation, then move to the next point. Do 3-5 rounds through all the points. Then drink some water as tapping shifts energy in your body.
5. Write Your Affirmations Daily
Writing down affirmations is another amazing way to speed up how quickly your brain will adopt an affirmation as truth.
If you’re using just one affirmation, write that down 10 times at least once a day. If you’re using 10 affirmations, you can write each just one time. When you’re done writing, read your affirmations out loud and feel that they are true. You might feel peaceful, excited, powerful, or loved. Any positive emotion is great.
If you’re saying or writing them and feeling nothing, they aren’t going to be as effective and it will take longer for your affirmations to work.
6. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
No matter what other methods you use to speed up your affirmations, the most important one is repetition.
Affirmations are just a method to make a positive thought into a habit and program it into your belief system.
If you only say an affirmation five times, it’s not going to be enough to rewire your subconscious mind. You’ll be left frustrated and thinking they don’t work, but the truth is you gave up too soon.
For anything to become a habit, in this case an automatic way of thinking, you have to do it over and over and over again.
People give up on their New Year Resolutions because they expect results after two or three weeks of effort, but the annoying truth is that it takes much longer than that.
The more you use your affirmations and believe in them, the quicker they’ll start to work.
- Affirmations for Confidence
- Affirmations for Self Love
- Affirmations for Motivation and Energy
- Affirmations for Shyness and Social Anxiety
- Sleep Affirmations
- Root Chakra Activating Affirmations
Make Your Affirmations Work Lightning Fast
For the quickest results, combine these methods and create a daily ritual out of using them. Integrate them into your morning and evening routines.
For example, maybe in the morning while your coffee is brewing you could write your affirmations and then say them out loud. Or maybe while you put on your make up you can say them into a mirror.
In the evening you could say your affirmations just before turning off the light or before you put down your phone.
It also really helps to use affirmations along with other methods like journaling and meditation. A really lovely way to start a huge inner transformation is in my program Transcendence.