Success Programming

Affirming Your Successful Future

Success Programming - Affirming Your Successful Future

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Create your own clear career path.

Take a moment to imagine yourself five years from now. Where do you see yourself? What does your life look like? Is anything different, or is it more of the same? What kind of images wander through your mind as you project yourself into the future? What stories do you tell yourself about the future you?

Your future success is closely related to the hopes, dreams and images that you create in your mind now. If you believe in a successful future and create a clear picture of what you want, you're much more likely to succeed.

That's not to say that envisioning your success is a magic potion – being successful takes a lot of hard work too. However, that work is much more effective when it starts with a vision, and the process of envisioning your future success is known as "success programming." Henry Ford gave us a famous quote that sums up the concept of success programming perfectly: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't... you're right."

This is why goal setting is so important. When you set concrete goals for yourself, and discuss them with your manager, supervisor, partner, parents or mentor, you are creating your image of the future. The images you hold about the future serve to guide and inspire you. They influence your present actions and decisions. This is why the power to create your future success comes from within.


Some people believe that if you envision success strongly enough, it will automatically come to be. At Mind Tools, we think that's a bit simplistic – after all, we all have the real world to contend with.

What we do believe, though, is that if you build a compelling, exciting, rationally based vision of the future, work in a determined and intelligent way to realize this vision, and react flexibly and intelligently to changing circumstances, you're likely either to realize your dream, or realize another goal at least as satisfying as the one you started out with. This isn't quite so simple, but the effect is much the same.

How to Program Yourself for Success

The term "success programming" is used to describe a variety of activities and approaches, but most of these involve three main steps:

  1. Preparing your mind.
  2. Envisioning your future success.
  3. Affirming your vision daily.

Step 1: Preparing Your Mind

A busy and cluttered mind will find it hard to focus on anything but the present. When you want to start building for your future, you need to be in a relaxed state. This allows your subconscious thoughts, hopes, and dreams to rise to the surface. The ideal is for you to get to the point where positive thoughts about your successful future are what fill your mind. Practice deep breathing, and set aside time every day for your success programming exercises.


For more in-depth information on various relaxation techniques, see our article Physical Relaxation Techniques Deep Breathing, PMR and the Relaxation Response.

Step 2: Envisioning Your Future Success

This is the stage where you put together a full and complete picture of what future success means to you. Remember, this is your idea of success, not some generic ideal. You need to be introspective and analyze what success really means to you. The following exercises can help get you thinking about your program for success:

Write down your ideal workday:

  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you working?
  • Who are you working with?
  • What does it feel like to be doing what you're doing?

Write down your ideal leisure day:

  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you doing it?
  • Who are you doing it with?
  • What does it feel like to be doing what you're doing?

Summarize your ideal days:

  • Capture the feeling of the day in two or three words or phrases for each day (work and leisure).

Think of someone you consider successful:

  • What features does the person have that you admire?
  • How would you describe this person to others?
  • How are your characteristics similar to, and different from, this person?

Use what you learn about your overall idea of success to create a vibrant and detailed vision of your successful future. The more vivid your images, the more real they will seem. Imagine how you will feel, think, react, and behave when you're exactly where you want to be.

Set aside time every day to relive your vision, and keep it fresh in your mind's eye.


Our article on Treasure Mapping shows you how to create a physical picture of what you want to achieve, as well as the journey toward that achievement.

Step 3: Affirming Your Vision Daily

Having a vision of a successful future is not enough, however. You have to force this image into your mind on a daily basis. It's too easy for external distractions to sway you off course. This is why you need to make positive affirmations to yourself that will help you get over and around the obstacles that pop up. Affirmations work on the "feeling" side of your vision – they help you to believe you can achieve what you dream of.

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Using your vision of the future, write down five or six affirmation statements that will help you to continue to believe you can achieve the success you want. These are the sorts of things that will inspire you, or give you confidence to keep going. They "suggest" to your mind that you can do what you intend, that you have the skills you need for success, and that you are already a successful person.

Examples of affirmations include:

  • I am a confident and capable person.
  • I have the skills I need to be successful.
  • I am powerful and in control of my future.
  • I do charitable work, and I help people in need.
  • I take risks, and live life on the edge.
  • I enjoy helping people resolve problems.

Again, set aside time every day to read through your affirmations. Some people leave reminders all around them so that they remember to affirm themselves continuously.


Affirmations are a specific type of positive thinking. For more on how to think positively, see our article on Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking and Positive Thinking.

Key Points

You can affect your future. What you think and believe is true for you, and it will shape the truth of your future as well. By using the techniques of relaxation, visualization, and affirmation, you can put positive thoughts and beliefs in your mind, and allow yourself the freedom to do what you have to do to realize your success. Seize every opportunity available to think about and talk about your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Your future is what you decide to make of it, so decide today that your future will be full and fabulous.