Every morning I write an affirmation 15 times. It's focused on being a famous and wealthy author — something I've worked for my whole life. I write it because it's a good way to start the day, a good way to get my mind on the something I want, and a good way to ensure that, no matter what else happens each day, I've accomplished something positive.
I have a lot of ideas as to why affirmations seem to work. They range from the sort of metaphysical stuff you'd probably imagine to a more psychologically rooted perspective, that keeping your mind focused on something opens you up to spotting opportunities when they arise. I happen to believe in a living, caring universe, which throws folks. But I also believe that just keeping an open mind is half the rule for success. The other half is taking action when an opportunity crops up.
There is something positive and beneficial about writing down your goals and dreams, at any rate. The metaphysical idea is that writing something down literally translates thought into a physical thing. Psychologically, I think it's tied to accountability. It's hard to look at a list of dreams, written down every day, and not acknowledge what you are or are not doing to achieve those dreams. Either idea works out about the same — you're more fully conscious of what you want, you're more likely to do whatever it takes to achieve it, to avoid cognitive dissonance, if for no other reason.
Whatever your bent on the universe, whether you feel it's a living and caring thing or whether you feel there's no value in anthropomorphizing it, I'd urge you to try affirmations for a while. There's nothing harmful about it, and the only cost is the time and effort it takes. I can provide only anecdotal evidence as to its effectiveness, but for me it's been incredibly positive. Since starting the practice, I've taken more steps toward creating the writing career I want than I have at any other time in my life. I write more, I promote more, I make more connections in the industry. I'm aware of the goal on a deeper level.
Try an aphorism structured like this one:
I, Kevin Tumlinson, am a famous and wealthy author.
Use personal pronouns alongside your name, because that makes it personal. Use "am" instead of "will be" or "have" instead of "will have," because that makes it a statement of fact that, psychologically, you will want to make true in order to avoid cognitive dissonance. And make the statement as specific as you can. Mine's not quite as specific as it could be. But I've nudged it a bit by writing down, in a separate place, what the terms "famous" and "wealthy" and even "author" mean to me. Define your goals in terms that makes sense to you, then craft your affirmation based on that understanding. If you define "wealthy" to mean "have a million dollars" or "have the freedom to do, have, or be anything I want," then you can shortcut it with "wealthy" and everything will be jiffy.
I'm curious to hear stories about this sort of thing, if you try it. I'm a pretty grounded conservative Christian, and so from my perspective I'm petitioning God in prayer, 15 times a day, for something that I feel will be good for me and for the world. From your perspective, maybe you're talking to your ego and id, or chatting with a living universe, or speaking with your guardian spirit or your inner self. Whatever makes you comfortable. I'd encourage you to consider God, but then I would, wouldn't I?
So let me know, in comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Try this for 30 days and tell me how it works (or doesn't) for you. It's been tremendously helpful for me, so I'm hoping it will help you as well!