5 Tips to Create Your Perfect Affirmation

The word mantra is thrown around a lot for runners: pick a few mantras for your race, for instance. A mantra in the Hindu philosophy is generally a short statement in Sanskrit, given to you by a guru. Sanskrit is known to be a vibrational language, meaning that the sounds the language makes as you speak it can actually change your energy. Chant Om, for instance, and notice how your energy changes afterwards.

Affirmations are positive statements that can reprogram you mind, replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Many elite runners use affirmations in their training. Deena Kastor writes about her use of affirmations in her autobiography, Let Your Mind Run, here (Amazon Affiliate link).


I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 tips to create powerful Affirmations for yourself.

1: Make it Personal
Affirmations should be for you, and you only. You can think positive thoughts for another person, but if that person isn’t thinking positive thoughts, your affirmations for them won’t work. The more you work on your own affirmations, though, the more you might inspire someone close to you to change their thinking — even if they aren’t actually using affirmations.

Success breeds success

Start your affirmation in the first person to be more powerful.

2: State Affirmations in the Present Tense
“I want to lose 10 pounds”, for instance, is a wish, not an affirmation.  “I food prep healthy food every week” is a realistic, positive affirmation. Affirmations share some characteristics SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.

3: It Must be Believable to YOU
I touch on this briefly in step #2. Set yourself up for success: break down your dreams into manageable steps. “I run a PR in my race” isn’t going to work if you haven’t done the work, or if life events have derailed your training.

“I believe in my abilities” is an affirmation that can actually rewire your brain. Depending on how long you’ve been doubting your abilities,  this could take a short amount of time to help you believe in yourself — or a very long time. It’s not easy to reverse the negative voices in our heads that have been there for decades, but with patience and work, it will work.

4: Use Action Words
Use words that will actually compel you to take action. Statements to try (you fill in what comes next): 

  • I choose
  • I am open to
  • I am ready
  • I become
  • I create
  • I am motivated to
  • I am committed to
  • I dare to

5: Stay Positive
Only affirm what you want, not what you don’t want.

Where your attention goes, energy flows

When you listen to your affirmations, they should bring a smile to your face.

Bonus Tip: Record Yourself Reciting Your Affirmations
There’s a lot of power in listening to your own voice stating the things you want to create. It may feel silly, but it’s the difference between someone telling you to do something (how does that make you feel?) and stating something you believe to be true (whether or not it’s happened — yet).

Yoga Philosophy reveres the number 108. If you’re familiar with Mala necklaces, they are made with 108 beads. There’s something very comforting about saying your affirmations as you move beads around your mala until you’re finished. Of course you don’t need to have a Mala to use affirmations, but it really helps to hone your focus.

Final Thoughts
Affirmations are a powerful tool, but like any tool, they only work if you use them.

I have used affirmations for years, but in an on again, off again, haphazard kind of way. You can’t really expect results from that!

In March I started to work with affirmations more seriously. Listening to them at least once a day, often twice — sometimes multiple times a day. Anytime you’re driving somewhere, for instance, is a great time to listen to affirmations.

I listened to them in the morning and usually again in the evening, while I was in Savasana at the end of a Yoga practice. They made me feel good. They brought a smile to my face. They made me feel as though anything was possible. I have noticed my energy shifting and some potential opportunities opening up.

More resources on using and creating powerful affirmations:

  • You Can Heal Your Life buy here (Amazon Affiliate link)
  • Positive Affirmations buy here (Amazon Affiliate link)
  • Mantras in Motion buy here (Amazon Affiliate link)

Do you have a running affirmation to share?

How do you keep going in a race when it feels hard?

16 thoughts on “5 Tips to Create Your Perfect Affirmation

  1. I use mantras when I am struggling but not affirmations as you define them.

    I try to focus on the positives. It has helped through the hard times in my life. And I always try to turn the negatives that my friends focus on to positives.

    In a race especially a long hard one, I usually repeat to myself “you can do this. You’ve done harder things. You got this.”

    But truthfully what helps me more than a mantra or affirmation is to connect with the scenery or other runners. It takes my mind off the struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great insights. I don’t use mantras or affirmations often but it’s good to have them in your “back pocket” when you need one. “I got this” is the one that comes to mind first. Also “What if I can?” to quash those fears of failure — or not making it up that hill on my bike. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes- I still own a VERY dog-eared copy of You Can Heal Your Life- there was a time when I was using her affirmations all the time. I still pull it out every now and then, “I move forward in life with confidence and joy, knowing all is well in my future”- that’s a Louise Hay.
    I also loved Deena Kastor’s book.
    Great post, Judy- affirmations are powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the book, but it’s on my kindle now so I donated the physical book. I’ve worked with affirmations a long time, but like most things I let them slip sometimes to I’ve found it really helpful to reconnect with that practice recently!

      That’s a good one, Jenny, thanks!


  4. Especially love the “use action words” – I find it much more helpful to be active in a belief or affirmation by stating the action of what it is I’m affirming. For example I often turn “I’ll try”. into an “I do”. statement. Trying is fine. Doing is better. (for me)

    I bought Deena Kastor’s book because of you and I loved it (but I love her anyway!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really helpful! I think I could really benefit from having some affirmations that I can call upon when times are tough. And repetition just makes sense so that it sticks!

    Liked by 1 person

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