Affirmations are a list of traits, behaviors, thought patterns, or future goals you want in your life. Ideally, they should be relatively short, specific, and written in a way that captures your imagination (here’s a good, short how-to guide on word affirmations). You should read your list of affirmations daily, at least once — although I do so twice, and some people do so three times. Try to read your affirmations with emotion and feeling.
I’ve used affirmations for years and find they’re particularly effective at keeping you focused on a goal or changing the way you behave in certain situations. For example, one affirmation that was very helpful for me was,
I talk to everybody who’s around me.
Eventually, after reading that affirmation enough times, it would flash into my brain at the supermarket, Subway, or Wal-Mart and I’d feel pressure to act on it. If I did, it reinforced the habit. If I didn’t, I felt uncomfortable, like I neglected an obligation.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t work overnight, just as you don’t start to associate the Golden Arches with tasty food (or, alternately, grease, sickness, and feeling sluggish) the first time you see a McDonald’s commercial. Over time, the repetition starts to impact your thinking, you respond to it, and you feel rewarded for behaving in a positive new way. This helps cement in a new habit.