The secret to Afformations

Words by Tracey Dwyer

Could this new form of affirmation have the power to change your life?

Most of us are familiar with affirmations. Positive affirmations were popularised in 1988 by social psychologist Claude Steele, whose self-affirmation theory helps challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts.

Affirmations are used to support many areas of life, such as to:

  • Manifest more money
  • Attract romance
  • Create positive relationships
  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more

By creating a present-tense statement such as “I am achieving abundance in my life,” for example, we begin a process to train the brain with thought and emotion that will promote a positive behaviour towards the outcome we desire.

Affirmations can be a very useful tool as part of a mindset fitness program to achieve goals and complete action plans, and certainly, it is much more beneficial for us to be creating positive language than self-destructive language in our brains.

However, affirmations only work if there is true belief behind them. Everyone has a set of beliefs that largely determine their truth about themselves and the world we live in. If an idea or thought contradicts that belief, we then have resistance.

In reality, most of us have an inner critic that says things such as “I can’t do that,” or “That won’t happen.” These are affirmations in and of themselves, which means that even if we try to utilise positive affirmations around these topics, we’re battling years and years of negative affirmations as we do so, which causes internal conflict.

For example, the statement, “I am a successful business person” is not useful if the inner critic in our head immediately disputes it with, “No, I’m not”. The result can be an internal conflict because the unconscious mind does not believe we are actually good enough in this instance to be a successful business person. If this conflict is not addressed, then the affirmation may promote helplessness rather than hope.

What I have learned in recent times is that affirmations combined with a question provide powerful language to the unconscious mind because a question is less likely to create conflict in the brain. A question stimulates the brain to look for a solution.

Enter please, Afformations.

Affirmations with a difference

Coined in 1997 by author and peak performance coach Noah St. John, an Afformation is an affirmation posed as a question.

“If human thought is the process of asking and searching for answers to questions, why are we going around making statements we don’t believe? I somehow knew that if we started asking ourselves better questions instead of saying statements we didn’t believe, it would change everything … When you ask a question, your mind automatically begins to search for an answer. Empowering questions unleash your ability to take action. The answers to empowering questions produce feelings of positive self-worth and ultimately lead to answers that tell the truth about who you really are.” — Noah St. John

By asking a question, your belief is altered because the brain thinks it is already achieving the outcome, setting you up for success. Your inner critic is quietened and you are able to be challenged to move beyond your comfort zone. Your goal keeps getting better because your mind has the space to focus on what is right about you rather than defaulting to what is wrong.

Let’s look at some Afformations, for example: “How can I continue to create even more abundance in my life?” By asking this, the brain thinks it’s already creating abundance. It then thinks it can get more. Finally, it sends out the search party to answer the question

Other questions could include: “Why am I living life with more abundance and energy than ever?” and “How many ways can I continue to live with even more confidence?” These powerful Afformations combine the best of both worlds in a way that flows more congruently with the natural rhythms of the brain, challenging us to
open our hearts and minds to bigger and better. Not being good enough is the most common sabotaging belief people have about themselves. World-renowned hypnotherapist Marisa Peer is famous for her affirmation: “I am enough”.

This is an incredible statement, so let’s maximise its potential and create an Afformation from it: “Why am I continuing to love and accept myself even more every day?”

For more learnings on Afformations, you may be interested in The Complete Afformations Guidebook: 28 Days To A More Abundant Lifestyle by Noah St. John.

Afformations: a challenge

  • Identify what you want and write it down.
  • Form your desire into a question that assumes that what you want is already true.
  • Take new actions based on your new assumptions about life


Tracey Dwyer is a business development manager for Wellbeing Media and a credentialed mindset performance coach, helping people learn to develop their minds and strengths to live in to their potential.

Tracey Dwyer

Tracey Dwyer

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