Life and business affirmations for success

Life and business affirmations for goal management success

Motivation is needed not just at times of competition

Motivation is needed not just at times of competition

This article takes a deep dive into the use of positive affirmations.

  1. What is an affirmation

  2. How new thought is connected to affirmations

  3. I thought affirmations were a load of rubbish

  4. Research results and conclusions using positive affirmations

  5. When you should use affirmations in life and business

  6. How to create your own positive affirmation with positive thoughts

  7. How affirmations work with goal management

  8. Speed of change and improvement

  9. Why some affirmations will never work

  10. Summary

  11. Actions for the reader

  12. Further reference and material

Do you have a social media account? Are you on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? If yes, I suspect you see friends and posts every day with a positive quote or some sort of affirmation on their timeline. The popularity of these shares remains very strong and the trend of use continues to be in high demand. Just take a look at the strength of the trend line below for positive affirmations.

Google trends for search on affirmations

Google trend of affirmations interest 

We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words, and repetition impresses the subconscious, and we are then master of the situation.
— Florence Scovel Shinn


The statistics demonstrate a growing demand and search need for positive affirmations over the past 10 years. To understand fully what is going on let us take a deeper dive into this area and understand how it can be used within the context of goal setting success within life and business.

What is an affirmation?

Example of a daily affirmation: Today I take bold action on my travel plans.

To explain what an affirmation is I define it as a sentence or series of sentences that create a message to communicate a declaration or statement or assertion of some form of encouragement or emotional support. These are different than many “quotes” you see posted. The quotes offer some form of wisdom to be felt or shared or an opinion and message.

An affirmation is statement that is made to encourage reinforce or stimulate change.

Ali, "I am the greatest"

Ali, "I am the greatest"

Have you ever done a physical activity or mental activity and heard yourself creating a message in your mind to encourage and motivate your state? If you have done this at least once, then you have used an affirmation. One of the best public examples is Muhammad Ali. His affirmations were stated to himself aloud and broadcast across the world.

I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.
— Muhammad Ali

how New Thought is connected to positive affirmations

There is a history and influence on the origin of use with positive affirmations that is clearly connected to the USA New Thought movement. This is an important reminder as you may swiftly see a significant spiritual bias in affirmations if you search online. The scope of this article is not dive into any religious aspects but seek to understand how positive affirmations can be applied in life and business without such emphasis on any specific religious or spiritual position.

I thought affirmations were a load of rubbish

There is no doubt that I remain open minded and ready for change at any time, however for many years I suspected affirmations were just a load of “hippy-jippery” rubbish. It took me a while to reflect on many of the motivational posters or marketing tag lines we see every day to make me think and explore more into the subject.

You see, there must be something, no matter how small or large, but there must be something to these affirmations when you consider the appetite for people consuming affirmations, religious groups using them and even gold winning and world champions declaring their affirmation before a crowd.

  • There is a strong bond between the values they represent; they can seem very close to where we are and where we want to be. The infamous marketing tag line “Just Do It” by Nike represents a perfect example. It is a simple effective message that appeals and applies to everyone trying to aspire to better things.

Nike in action

Nike in action


Research results and conclusions using positive affirmations.

  • Psychologists Joanne Wood and John Lee from University of Waterloo, and Elaine Perunovic from University of New Brunswick concluded "Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people [such as individuals with high self-esteem] but backfire for the very people who need them the most."

  • Work conducted by Stanford University and the University of California was concluded through a study by Geoffery Cohen and David Sherman in 2014. This more recent study offers a slightly different set of observations and leading conclusions for self-affirmations as having short term positive effects where the affirmations are based around personal values.

When I talk about doing affirmations, I mean consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life.
— Louise Hay
  • Some highly successful individuals who use positive affirmations as part of their daily process include Dan Pena, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, Will Smith and Jim Carrey.

Will Smith

Will Smith

  • One of the most famous people to have made strong use and helped share the use of positive thoughts through the extensive daily use of affirmations was Louise Hay. Her book You Can Heal Your Life has sold over 50 million copies across the world. JAMSO has not read this material so have no opinion or comment to make other than Louise is clearly an influence in the area. The main reason why JAMSO has not read her book is due to her lack of science and high qualified level of research needed to support such work and claims.

  • Another leading and popular example of using affirmations is from Ashley Graham who used her TED Talk to explain here use of affirmations when dealing with a public image of being plus sized model

When you should use affirmations for work and life

You are probably using some form of occasional affirmation on a daily basis. Many people do and it is perfectly normal. These can be case to case random events, for example just before a public speech or business presentation, starting a tough project or at the point of under high physical or mental stress. Through deeper understanding of your own behavior and emotions it becomes possible to identify any repeating scenarios where your use of affirmation or need for positive thoughts occurs.  During these repeatable situations there are good grounds to develop and create your own specific affirmation to deal with it.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
— Claude M Bristol
  • There is a strong breadth of practice that you should repeat your affirmation many times. This technique was adopted by Tony Robbins and can be seen in many religions. I have used this also personally when taking part in high physically demanding exercise.



Specific work example for using an affirmation:

A manager dealing with complex and high paced situations may develop their own affirmation for example “Managing is what I do with Sarah, Alex, Bob, Jen and Gladys and not too them”

Full of positive thoughts: Bill Gates

Full of positive thoughts: Bill Gates

How to create your own positive affirmation with positive thoughts

To create your own specific positive affirmations it is important to cover some basic points. Firstly understand that the positive thoughts you want to create are to help at a time of insecurity, doubt, stress or dealing with a lack of confidence. The words alone will not mean you will achieve their message, the words should be designed to inspire you and provide the motivation, confidence and will to achieve them.

Step 1: Define the purpose:

Do you want your affirmation to be a situation affirmation or daily affirmation?

Do you want positive thoughts and quotes or a real personal affirmation? (For another JAMSO article with quotes on goals click here

Step 2: Define the scope:

The affirmation statement needs to be very specific and therefore have a defined scope. The tighter the scope the more effective your affirmation will be for you.

Step 3: Be in the now: 

Creating the language of your affirmation is best when written in a present tense structure. This triggers your brain to recognize and associate the statement to an immediate present moment in time.

Step 4: Create a motivational and positive attitude.

Your desire is to overcome adversity so a call to positive call to action is needed.

Step 5: Make it about you.

It is you that will use the affirmation; it is you that needs to create the desired change so make the statement clear about the subject and you as being successfully part of it.

  • You can print out your affirmations and have them at a place of convenience like a personal note board, post it note, memorized, dashboard of your car or automated email or simply using the calendar reminder function on a modern smartphone. You can also use many of the popular apps and software available online used for motivational quotes to design and create your own affirmation.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
— Henry Ford

How affirmations work with goal management.

The process of goal setting should include tough but reachable targets and clear completion points. The goals need to be realistic and respect internal and external effects that can be controlled and not controlled. Some events like injury, weather, market conditions etc can impact goals for sports, climbing and business respectfully. These events are when support systems are needed to help attain the goal.  (See my article on important elements of goal setting systems ).

The role of affirmations within goal management is less tangible yet it is easily measured. An agreement of constructing the correct affirmation for any given major hurdle can be reviewed and implemented. The process of saying out loud the affirmation is equally quantifiable.

A review after the process step is completed can be taken to understand if the affirmation had any actual emotional help. I need to make very clear that affirmations alone will not bring you the goal. They should be simply seen as providing an additional short term motivational help to improve the positive mindset in the medium and long term.

A wish list

Speed of change and improvement

It is clear from the process and variety of opinions and results from professional studies that there is no set deadline or time that can be applied in advance. Frankly it will be a bit of learning by doing and will depend upon the mindset of the individual. Indeed due to the lack of hard evidence across many different applications it is clear that some people will see no benefit or change and others might have immediate benefit.

For people who are new to the process we suggest you adopt a realistic attitude to the process. Give the affirmations their best shot at helping rewire and change your attitude in the short term. The affirmation will need to be stated firmly with even breathing and passion.

  1. If your gut or mind tells you the affirmation feels wrong, then go back and address either if this is an affirmation design issue or you still lack some other form of lack of confidence.

  2. If the affirmation feels and sounds true then ensure you repeat the affirmation and even use a quiet moment to reflect and feel the message sends. This should help shift your emotional state to the desired outcome.

Why some affirmations will never work.

  • I have made it clear in the process above to ensure your affirmations test and push you but also not to a point that is simply untrue or impossible. A duck cannot become a zebra so be realistic with your expectations, design and implementation process.

Here are some extra examples of situational affirmations:

  1. Before a public speech or presentation and you are feeling nervous : I have rehearsed the speech and I know all the content. The slides work and I have had good feedback .I just need to go out and do what I have done before in practice.

  2. Weight loss daily affirmation: I continue every hour of the day to help improve my health and weight.

  3. Before a skydive: I know playing rugby is more dangerous than this sport so I am going to embrace this experience.

  4. When feeling sad: I am too big a gift to the planet to feel anything other than grateful

  5. When you are angry : I am letting go of my anger so I can see clearly.

  6. When facing family conflict: I love my family even when they do not understand me completely

  7. At work : I engage and embrace my work so we can make a positive difference to the customer and world

  8. A change of career : I follow my dreams no matter what

  9. A complex task: All my problems have a solution

  10. When you want to give up a task: I cannot give up until I have tried every single way possible.


The use of quotes and affirmations has their time and place. The need for them may change as you progress in life and business due to events that occur on that journey. For me, high demanding physical activity is when I find the use of affirmations most effective. They normally sound like “I listen to my body is telling you it is close to its old limit, push to a new memory”.

Health and self belief

Health and self belief

  • Retain a common sense and realistic view on the power of your affirmations. Do not rely on them to solve anything, simply use them as a tool to give you that extra espresso shot of confidence you need for support.

Affirmations are constructed mostly on a personal level and not applied within a business setting as part of a normal process step. The only exception to this may be the cross over hybrid use of motto's or team motivational tag lines. I suggest managers take sensitive discussions with people performing roles and feel free to explore and help the use of positive affirmations. It may still come across as a dose of unquantified "mumbo-jumbo" to many people, however the millions of applications and use on a regular basis is hard to ignore and worth at least a curiosity trial.

Actions for YOU:

  1. If you have not used affirmations before but relied on straight forward positive thought quotes then try the steps in this article.

  2. Send some love by clicking the like button below and sharing the article with your friends and social media accounts

By James Doyle - Founder of JAMSO

Reference and Further Material

JAMSO helps build better results for people and business through goal setting, metrics, training and projects.