This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com.

This morning, I did something unusual. After I brushed my teeth, I looked in the mirror and recited:

  • “People love to give me money!”
  • “I am rich and wonderful.”
  • “I am now earning a great big income doing what satisfies me.”

I admit, I felt silly. I love a lot of New Age spiritual practices. (I’ve written before about using a money spell.) But talking to myself in the mirror was a little weird — even to me — never mind how silly I felt repeating these affirmations about my finances.

But can doing something as simple (and silly) as repeating daily affirmations make you richer? Chellie Campbell thinks so. Campbell is the author of The Wealthy Spirit, a book of daily affirmations on money. I spoke with her this week about the link between money and spirituality.

The Emperor’s New Clothes?
Campbell recommends doing these affirmations every day. In fact, she has a list of 50 that she uses daily herself. She told me a story of how her publisher initially wanted to strike them from the book, and Campbell dared her to try them out. A month later, the publisher was an affirmation convert and the book stayed as it was. Campbell believes that affirmations not only make you feel better about yourself, but also will make you richer.

“The positive affirmations really help you. They juice up your energy,” Campbell says.

How is that supposed to work, exactly? Well, for starters, we all want to be around people who feel good about themselves. Our managers, clients and friends all feel the same way. So when opportunities arise, they tend to go to those with sunnier dispositions. This is why happier people make more money and have more successful careers, according to Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project [J.D.'s review]. If doing a morning affirmation reminds you to let a little more sunshine into your smile, it really might help you roll in more dough.

Campbell also sees daily affirmations as a way to set intentions for your day. To her, the affirmations are a part of getting dressed and ready to face the world. “You’re dressing your energy,” she says. “After the outer is dressed, I want to dress the inner.”

You can’t stop at affirmations, though. Campbell stresses that an affirmation is only the first step; it has to be followed up with actions. If you want good luck to befall you, you need to put yourself in the way of opportunities. That means networking, working hard at your job, and maintaining professional relationships. You also need to be willing to let some failures come and go, and not get bogged down thinking less of yourself because of them.

Continuing with her clothing metaphor, Campbell says, “Doing the affirmations is just like getting dressed for work. Then you have to go to work and do something to earn your paycheck.”

She says the changes should be apparent immediately, and describes the effect as “a little magical”. She shared stories of old debts being paid and money coming in from unexpected quarters. Whether you believe there’s a link between the money affirmations and good financial luck or not, you can rely on the reality of a positive attitude to bring you improved “luck” in the form of more energy for your work and better networking opportunities.

Note: For more on luck, read these past GRS articles: Luck is No Accident and How to Make Your Own Luck.

Getting Started with Affirmations
Want to try some affirmations of your own? Here are half a dozen from Campbell’s personal list that might be particularly well-suited to those of us aiming to “get rich slowly”:

  • “People love to give me money!”
  • “I am now earning a great big income doing what satisfies me.”
  • “All my bills are paid up in full and I still have all this money.”
  • “My affirmations work for me, whether I believe they will or not.”
  • “A lot more money is coming into my life. I deserve it and will use it for my good and others.”
  • “I am a money magnet!”

If you want to try this, but prefer to write your own affirmations, Campbell says there are a two important rules to follow.

  1. For starters, you want to phrase affirmations in the present tense. Not, “I will pay all my bills” but “All my bills are paid” or “I pay all my bills”. It’s important to tell yourself you do these things now, not in some imagined and possibly distant future.
  2. You also want to be sure to put all your affirmations in positive language. Your mind can’t think about a “not something”. Negatives disappear when talking to our inner selves (or our children). My husband and I observe this in parenting all the time. We call it the “ruckus problem”. One day we were in a cafe watching a young mom with her son. The boy was playing quietly by himself until the mom said, “Remember what I told you: NO RUCKUS!” Hearing the word “ruckus”, the kid immediately began creating one. Now, when we need to be reminded to put things in a positive framework, we just look at each other and say, “ruckus!” Similarly, you may want to say, “All my bills are paid” as an affirmation, not “I am not in debt”.

Following those rules, I’ve made up a few affirmations I plan to use this month, including:

  • “I am skilled and successful at my work.”
  • “I spend within my means.”
  • “I feel relaxed about my finances.”

Campbell more or less dared me to try a month of affirmations. It’s impossible to talk to her and not feel some of her enthusiasm for the practice catch on. So I plan to give it a shot and see how it goes.

Building a Habit
The trickiest part will be making the affirmations a habit. Anyone who’s ever tried to adopt a new habit or mindfulness practice knows how hard it can be. For me, the best way to add a practice or activity to my life is to use a “hook” from my existing routine. For example, I meditate mid-morning when my computer reminds me it’s time to take a typing break. Before I used the wrist break software, I found it hard to make time for meditation. Now, that time is built in to my day. For the affirmations, I’m using toothbrushing, and saying them in the mirror after I’ve brushed my teeth.

Campbell recommends printing your affirmations and attaching them to the wall near your computer, or putting a copy on the dashboard in your car. I can speak to the power of having written reminders of your intention. I tend to surround myself with inspirational quotes and verses from my favorite poems. Mine all focus on love, not money, but they’re powerful reminders to be more present and loving in my daily life. I may spend some time this month seeking out quotes on abundance as well.

If you’re interested in reading more of Campbell’s affirmations, she’s blogging a page a day from The Wealthy Spirit at her website. You can also learn more about her workshops and other books there.

More Than Words
I don’t believe for a moment that affirmations alone will make you wealthier. In fact, if all you do is affirm your good intentions, you’re doing yourself a dangerous disservice. The key is to couple an affirmation or intention with action. Without action, an affirmation is no more effective than a drunken New Year’s Resolution. Empty words won’t help you pay your bills.

Often, having some kind of ritual or affirmation to link your intention to strengthens your commitment to doing it. That’s where the magic happens. It doesn’t come from the words you say. It comes from what you do after you’ve said them. You can use affirmations like these, or any other mindful personal ritual, simply to charge up your intentions. Whether you’re looking for a job or struggling to live within your means, you need to constantly support yourself in the hard work of walking your talk. Ritualizing that support with a daily pep talk or inspirational practice can be a powerful tool for staying committed to your goals.

Note: I know many of you are skeptics. In fact, J.D. may be the biggest skeptic of them all. He didn’t want to publish this post (and has in the past ripped similar ideas to shreds). He’s all about action. I get that. But affirmations really are useful for some people. And after all, what does it hurt to try them?

This article is about Odds and Ends, Psychology