This post is about Abraham’s 17-second rule, but it’s really about momentum and making it easier to leverage Law of Attraction.

So here’s the short version of what Abraham says:

“Hold a thought for just 17 seconds and the Law of Attraction kicks in.” —Abraham

Now, on the one hand, 17 seconds sounds like very little time, doesn’t it? But really give it a try. Hold a thought—one pure, positive thought—for 17 seconds.

I think what you’ll find is the that while you have flitting positive thoughts, you rarely hold one for very long. Often not even 17 seconds!

But a negative thought? Oh my…a negative thought is oh so easy to hold for 17 seconds—and even longer. That thought of blame or complaint, that thought of worry or disappointment, that thought of anger or fear…that thought can seemingly last forever!

OK, not really forever, but certainly long enough to gain momentum—in the wrong direction of a negative spiral downward.

So let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in those 17 seconds—whether you are thinking about something positive or thinking about something negative.

“Within 17 seconds of focusing on something, a matching vibration becomes activated. And now, as that focus becomes stronger and the vibration becomes clearer, the Law of Attraction will bring to you more thoughts that match.” —Abraham

So 17 seconds of focusing your attention on something positive, something you want, something you appreciate, 17 seconds of that activates a matching vibration.

And that is what you want. Because the matching vibration that’s been activated is going to help you gain momentum.

“At this point, the vibration will not have much attraction power, but if you maintain your focus longer, the power of the vibration will become further-reaching. And if you manage to stay purely focused upon any thought for as little as 68 seconds, the vibration is powerful enough that its manifestation begins.” —Abraham

Now we have a new figure: 68 seconds.

Oh my, 68 seconds is a long time.

I’ve worked with clients in actually setting a timer for 68 seconds so they can practice holding their attention on a pure, positive thought. And most of them are stunned by how challenging it is.

Most of my clients who try the 68-second timer experiment realize how fleeting their positive thoughts are, and how quickly their minds wander from what they like and want to what they don’t like and don’t want. How common it is to start out appreciating something and then find your mind has jumped to some undone task on your long To Do list.

Quite simply, my clients have realized they are not routinely holding a pure, positive thought for 17 seconds—let alone 68 seconds.

Remember what Abraham said: As you stay focused on any thought for as little as 68 seconds, the vibration is powerful enough that its manifestation begins.

Now Abraham goes on to say: “When you repeatedly return to a pure thought, maintaining it for at least 68 seconds, in a short period of time (hours in some cases or a few days in others), that thought becomes a dominant thought. And once you achieve a dominant thought, you will experience matching manifestations until you change it.” —Ask and It Is Given

A dominant thought attracts.

Law of Attraction isn’t distinguishing or judging whether that dominant thought is positive or negative. It simply responds to your dominant thought.

“We didn’t say you’re creating what you want. We’re saying that you’re the creator of your own reality. We’re saying that you create what you think about.” —Abraham

Because often, what you are thinking about is not what you really want.

“You are a living magnet. What you attract into your life is in harmony with your dominant thoughts.” —Brian Tracy

So let me ask you: What are your dominant thoughts?

  • What thoughts are you holding for 17 seconds?
  • What has your attention for 68 focused seconds?

When I explore these questions with my clients, two themes emerge for their dominant thoughts: Things they are worried about and things they need to do.

The worry category doesn’t need a lot of explanation.

Worry is not at the high end of the emotional scale. In fact, it’s #14 of 22. That’s not the vibration you want to be emitting. Dominant thoughts of worry attract more into your life to worry about.

Let’s talk about the other common theme when it comes to dominant thoughts—and that is things you need to do.

When my clients realize their dominant thoughts are about things they need to do, this is usually not in an inspired action, want-to-do sort of way. Quite the contrary.

This is about feeling overwhelmed, an endless To Do list, and out of control busyness. It’s about being unable or unwilling to relax until everything is done—and everything is NEVER done.

I’m sure you can imagine what you are attracting and creating if your dominant thoughts are about an impossible To Do list and never having enough time. The manifestation that shows up is going to mirror those thoughts—and it’s not going to be pretty.

“Thought determines action and so the actions of your life are determined by your most dominant thoughts.” —Matthew Kelly

So I’ll ask you again: What are your dominant thoughts?

Know this: If you want your life to change, if you want your tomorrow and your future to be different, then you have to change how you think in the present. You have to change your dominant thoughts.

“You’re picky about the car you drive. You’re picky about what you wear. You’re picky about what you put in your mouth. We want you to be pickier about what you think.” —Abraham

Isn’t that fantastic?

Be pickier about what you think.

Be more selective when it comes to what you focus on for those 17 seconds…and then those 68 seconds… Because your thoughts create momentum, they attract, and they become your dominant thoughts.

Now if you’re at all skeptical about the specificity of the 17 seconds and the 68 seconds, don’t get hung up on the precise length of time Abraham is saying it takes.

Just know this: “That which you think in any moment attracts unto itself other thoughts that are like it.” —Abraham

So when you’re thinking thoughts of blame, complaint, judgment, fault finding—or any other form of negativity—you are attracting other thoughts of blame, complaint, judgment, fault finding, and negativity.

On the other hand, when you are thinking thoughts of love and appreciation, thoughts of positive expectation and excitement, thoughts of eagerness and optimism—you are attracting other thoughts of a similar vibration.

Those thoughts of things you like and want and appreciate—those thoughts—attract and multiply.

And then thoughts of a similar vibration join them, and pretty soon your physical reality shows evidence of your positive dominant thoughts.

“If you will let your dominant intention be to revise and improve the content of the story you tell every day of your life, it is our absolute promise to you that your life will become that ever-improving story. For by the powerful Law of Attraction—the essence of that which is like until itself is drawn—it must be!” —Abraham

So how can you revise and improve the content of the story you tell every day of your life?

It really is a simple formula. When you think a thought for any length of time, it starts to attract other thoughts of a similar vibration. It’s like that expression garbage in, garbage out.

  • If you don’t want more of something, then stop focusing your attention on it.
  • On the other hand, if there’s something you like and appreciate that you would like more of, by all means, focus your attention there.

Remember, we are always talking about the essence, not just the package.

By that I mean you may be stuck in traffic and feel so frustrated. You get on a roll with your thoughts about the traffic and congestion and running late. It’s not that you are necessarily attracting more traffic to be stuck in—that’s what I’m calling the package.

But you are attracting more situations into your life to feel frustration about.

The vibration you emit—based on your thought-feeling combo—is what is attracting. In my example of being stuck in traffic, the vibration is frustration and all those gunky middle-of-the-emotional-scale emotions, like irritation and impatience. So you will attract more of that essence into your life.

Here’s a tactical how-to: Set a timer for 17 seconds and think a pure, positive thought.

See how 17 seconds feels. Are you easily able to stay focused on your pure, positive thought? Then set a timer for 68 seconds and do the same.

Because remember what Abraham says:

“So, whatever you think causes you to offer a signal now, which is your point of attraction. And when you offer a point of attraction for as little as 17 seconds, the Law of Attraction kicks in. In other words, that’s the combustion point where another thought that matches it joins it. Hold that thought for another 17 seconds and there’s another combustion. Do that until you have achieved a vibrational alignment with any thought for as little as 68 seconds, and things begin to move enough that a discerning eye can see the manifestation has begun. That’s all: 68 seconds of telling it the way you want it to be rather than telling it like it is. —Money, and the Law of Attraction

Of course, the point is not to go through the rest of your life setting a timer, but to bring awareness to the thoughts you think.

“Are there things in your life that are as you want them to be? Keep telling that story. Are there things in your life that are not as you want them to be? Don’t tell that story.” —Money, and the Law of Attraction

I’m encouraging you to:

  • Pay attention to your dominant thoughts.
  • Notice the momentum around your thoughts. In other words, bring awareness to what’s happening when you sustain a thought and it starts to create momentum, attracting thoughts of a similar vibration. It’s really quite something when you start to observe yourself getting momentum—whether in the direction of positivity or negativity. Just that realization Oh, that’s how I get on an upward spiral or Drats, that’s how I get on a downward spiral is really powerful.
  • Be deliberate about which thoughts you choose to focus on.

This is why Abraham recommends your daily mantra be:

“Today, no matter where I am going, no matter what I am doing, no matter who I am doing it with, it is my dominant intent to look for what I am wanting to see.” —Abraham

Want to go further?

Schedule a coaching session and learn how to create new and improved dominant thoughts.