4 Simple Ways to Elevate Affirmations

Affirmations have been around for decades, a simple tool to promote positivity and manifestation through repetition of a simple, meaningful phrase. Affirmations give us a way to zero in on a bolder version of ourselves. However, these phrases often miss the mark, with mundane Hallmark keywords that trigger our gag reflexes. If you’re trying to elevate cheesy affirmations to something you can really take to heart, follow these four simple steps.

1. Play Around With Aesthetics

As you navigate through a sea of underwhelming Google results about “loving yourself” or “putting yourself first,” you may have noticed that many of these affirmations follow the same formula:

generic quote + bland stock photo = affirmation

This combination isn’t really helpful in keeping us motivated.

One way to elevate affirmations from eyesore to attention-grabbing is to add a creative touch. Visuals can help connect people to words, providing another layer of stimulation that can make affirmations more impactful. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t find generic quotes and meaningless pictures of clouds to be effective, try playing around with backgrounds, fonts, and alignments.

When it comes to motivation, the possibilities are endless, and the only limits are your imagination.

2. Be Specific

Nothing makes an affirmation weaker than a string of positive keywords that don’t have any real impact or meaning (looking at you, “live. laugh. love.”) Using language that’s too vague or general can make an affirmation hard to relate to. If you really want words to move you, they have to be specific and target the precise problem you’re struggling with. For example, if someone struggles with toxic friendships, a quote like “put yourself first” may not be very profound, but reading “don’t hang out with people who make you feel alone” may hit closer to home. To take a weak affirmation to the next level, try swapping out general terms for specific ones. Here are a few to get you started:

  • “Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”
  • “Blocking people is a form of self-care.”
  • “Visualize your highest self and start showing up as them.”
  • “If it makes you happy, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else.”

3. Make It Practical

Affirmations are often guilty of serving up fluffy, idealistic words versus being more realistic. Quotes like “you can do anything you put your mind to” are easier said than done, and if it doesn’t seem feasible, it’s not going to inspire you. When you speak from a practical space, your affirmations are more convincing, giving you the feeling that what you’re saying is actually achievable. And when it comes to the effectiveness of an affirmation, feelings and emotions are vital, connecting you to your goal.

When creating a sensible quote, think to yourself: if I were giving someone this advice, how would I say it? For example: if someone you know was struggling with commitment, would you say something like, “Never give up,” or would it be more helpful to say, “Don’t stop until you’re proud?” Practical affirmations are more valuable than compassionless generic words. By using casual, down-to-earth words (humorous even), you’re receiving assurance that’s inspiring because it’s real.

4.  Be Direct

Many self-affirmations are too passive, aiming to be gentle so as not to upset or stir emotions. However, subtlety doesn’t inspire action. Many people want their messages to be more direct, which is motivating and provides more clarity. To toughen up those lifeless words, try being concise and using more demanding terms. Don’t just “try”: “do.” Don’t “think”: “know.” Practice getting to the root of the message you’re trying to deliver, and rid the quote of any passive language. Here are a few direct affirmations to get you started:

  • “Don’t chase, attract.”
  • “Never forget how rare you are.”
  • “Fix your energy.”
  • “Make yourself your priority.”
  • “I need to be myself.”
  • “Stop waiting for permission to be who you want.”

These four simple tweaks will help transform lifeless, generic affirmations into words that you can actually live by. Stay motivated!


Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

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Kaillaby is a health and wellness blogger from NYC. Her passions include yoga, journaling, and being in nature. Her desire to guide people to happiness and general well-being was inspired by her own struggles with anxiety and mental health. She administrates, a lifestyle blog that uses essays and daily newsletters to motivate people to become the best versions of themselves. You can follow her on IG @happinessovereverythingblog or Twitter @kaillaby. Happy healing!

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