Affirmations in the present tense are more believable and inspire you to take action toward your dreams.

Moreover, your subconscious mind does not distinguish between present and future, so it makes sense to always use the present tense.

Affirmations are a powerful tool, and to make the most of it, you want to follow a few simple rules. 

The first, obvious rule is that you have to be consistent — the more often you repeat the affirmations, the easier it will be for your mind to believe in them.

It’s also been said that affirmations should be short, as shorter messages are easier to remember (think of slogans or ads).

And to make them more believable, more inspiring, more motivating — always use the present tense, as if you already had the things that you want.

How affirmations work

In a way, you already use affirmations every day, whether you realize it or not.

You can see each and every thought you have as an affirmation — a phrase or word that reinforces a certain belief.

Considering we usually have thousands of thoughts per day, it’s easy to understand how affirmations can help us replace those and develop a better mindset.

Now, you’re not going to write down the same affirmations five thousand times a day.

But as long as you’re consistent, the affirmations you practice will shape your thoughts, which will then shape your actions, which will then shape your reality.

This is how affirmations work: they either challenge preexisting negative thoughts, or create new empowering thoughts.

Your mind is this very chaotic, obscure, mysterious box filled with all sorts of thoughts and images.

And affirmations teach your mind to only keep the good stuff, the stuff that is aligned with your goals and dreams (or your happiness in general).

Now, there is a key rule when writing affirmations, which is: write them in the present tense!

When writing down affirmations, or when saying affirmations out loud, never refer to the past or the future.

Here’s why…

Why affirmations must be in the present tense


1. Language of the mind

Your subconscious mind doesn’t understand negation or negative words. The language spoken by your mind isn’t the same as English.

For example, if you say “I don’t want trouble”, your mind will register the word “trouble” and attract it in some way.

If you say that you hate or can’t stand something, you subconsciously attract it instead of avoiding it, just because your mind doesn’t understand negation.

The same exact principle applies to the concept of past and future. Past and future exists only theoretically; they can only be abstract concepts.

What does exist, what is permanent, is the present moment. When using affirmations, always refer to the present moment because that’s the only time frame your mind can relate to.

2. Affirmations must be believable

It can be a bit awkward to practice affirmations at first. You may be skeptical — what if affirmations are a complete waste of time? What if they don’t work?

The trick is to write or say affirmations that are actually believable.

Don’t say that you’re the richest person on the planet, or that you have three billion followers, or anything like that. It would be totally unrealistic. And dumb.

And here’s the second reason you should write affirmations in the present tense: if you are not comfortable writing them in the present tense, you probably don’t believe in what you affirm.

There are no miracles for those who have no faith in them.


3. Present tense = urgency

I’ve written this in a few other posts already, and I’ll repeat: your thoughts generate certain feelings; those feelings will then lead to certain actions, and those actions will create your reality.

Here is the third reason affirmations must be written in the present tense: not only do you want them to be believable, you want them to communicate a sense of urgency as well.

You want your affirmations to be compelling, to be motivating. You want them to inspire action.

You’re never going to take action if you affirm that “next month”, or “soon”, or “as soon as”… you get the point. Use the present tense and you will have no excuses.

4. Process vs results

We are obsessed about results. We want results, and we want them fast. That’s a mistake. What we should be focusing on is the process that’s going to get us there.

By writing affirmations in the present tense, you’ll tend to focus on the process, on the execution of the idea rather than the idea itself.

For example, instead of “I will find the most amazing partner”,  you would be writing something like: “I allow myself to be vulnerable and connect with attractive, like-minded people”.

That sounds much more realistic and it forces you to focus on the process — rather than some distant result in the future.

My tip to write better affirmations

If possible, use affirmations that begin with the words “I am”.

Those are powerful statements because they refer to your identity, who you are. Not just what you must do, but who you must be to accomplish your goals.

When you say “I am”, your subconscious mind is also more likely to register it, to believe it. “I am” refers to a state of being, and as they say, you attract what you are.

  • “I take care of my health” becomes I am healthy
  • “I attract positivity” becomes I am a positivity magnet
  • “I feel joy and love” becomes I am joyful, I am in love
  • “I own a successful business” becomes I am successful
  • “I enjoy freedom” becomes I am free
  • “I create cool things” becomes I am a creator