Train Your Mind



by Jim Donovan

Affirmations are positive statements, usually written or spoken, that affirm what you want. They serve to condition your subconscious mind to what you specifically want to have or become. For example, an affirmation I used to help me quit smoking was “I now release the need for cigarettes.” I would write and recite this periodically throughout the day, sometimes a hundred times. After a period of time, I found myself thinking more and more about quitting and, after being a very heavy smoker, I have not had a cigarette for twelve years. Affirmations are powerful ways to shift your thinking and begin to move you toward more desirable habits and beliefs.

Affirmations work for many reasons. The act of writing them down, as the following exercise will ask you to do, brings more than just your subconscious mind into play; it involves your body and nervous system. A friend of mine is a graphologist and graphotherapist, someone who uses handwriting analysis to analyze a person’s tendencies and help him or her make changes. She uses handwriting exercises to help people deal with stressful situations. One of her patients was afraid of flying, so she created a simple handwriting exercise for the person to use while on a plane. The fact that exercises like these work leads me to believe there is a mind-body connection, which may explain the success of writing affirmations.

Actually, I do not know, or especially care, exactly how or why affirmations work. I just know they do. You too will find that writing affirmations is one of the greatest techniques in your arsenal of success strategies. I challenge you to do the following simple exercise for thirty days. You’ll be pleased with the result. You don’t have to take my word for it. See for yourself the power of this simple act.


Develop one or two affirmations that express your desire or goal. Be sure they are in the present tense and positive. Use phrases such as I am, I have, I own, I earn, and so on. If you are currently working on making more money or managing it better, the following affirmation, taken from the book Money Love by Jerry Gillis, is a great one to use: “A lot more money is flowing into my life. I deserve it and use it for good for myself and others.”

If your present challenge is health, you could write: “Each day I become healthier and healthier. I am physically fit and vibrant.”

You can create short affirmations for any area you want to work on. Write them in your journal each day. I suggest writing them twenty-five times or more each day. You could easily write affirmations one hundred times a day by spreading the task out throughout the day. When you’re on the telephone on hold, instead of sitting there doodling, write your affirmations.

Take a moment now to create one simple affirmation to help you move toward one of your important goals. Write it out slowly and deliberately in your journal. Next write it several more times. Do this daily for thirty days and notice what happens. If you make a practice of doing this daily, you will begin moving in the direction of your goals. I’d enjoy hearing about your experiences with this exercise. Please e-mail me with your story at


Excerpted from Handbook to a Happier Life by Jim Donovan. Copyright © 2003 Jim Donovan. Excerpted by arrangement with New World Library. $12.95. Available in local bookstores or call at 800-972-6657 Ext. 52 or click here.