Cheers to another beginning—a fresh moment—and a clear chance for us to make the very best of it!
Undoubtedly, the days, weeks and months ahead will be filled with incredible highs and stressful lows. But in any case, we can train our minds to make the best of the present as it unfolds.
Remind yourself that the mind is like a muscle, and just like every muscle in the human body, it needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be trained daily to grow and develop gradually over time. If you haven’t pushed your mind in thousands of little, positive ways over time, of course it’ll crumble on the one day things get overwhelmingly stressful. Positive affirmations are one of the simplest and most powerful tools for doing this. A mind well trained with positive affirmations has the right thoughts queued up and ready for retrieval at a moment’s notice.
Last year Angel wrote a short email newsletter about one of our first students, who graduated with a PhD a few years ago from one of the most prestigious universities in our country, and whom is now an executive for one of the world’s fastest growing tech companies. She continues to be my go-to example of why affirmations are so powerful…
Throughout grade school and high school she desperately wrestled with a form of dyslexia that made reading and writing a monumental challenge. She spent kindergarten through 12th grade in language-based ESE classes. And during a parent-teacher conference when she was in 10th grade, one of her ESE teachers informed her parents that it was extremely unlikely she would ever receive a high school diploma.
So, how did she do it? How did she push herself to rise up and overcome the odds? “Affirmations,” she confirmed with us when Angel and I interviewed her last year for a side project we were working on. “The daily affirmation rituals you guys set me up with, and held me accountable to, changed everything! While it may sound cliché to some people, it’s absolutely not—affirmations are powerful tools! I literally told myself that the naysayers were wrong about me. I told myself exactly what I needed to hear, every single day, to move my life forward.”
If you’d like to begin (or enhance) this ritual in your own life, here’s a handpicked selection of powerful, positive affirmations Angel and I often suggest to our course students as starting point:
“The biggest and most complex obstacle I will ever have to overcome is my mind. If I can overcome that, I can overcome anything.”
“I cannot control exactly what happens in life, but I can control how I respond to it all. In my response is my greatest power.”
“I have to accept whatever comes my way, and the only important thing is that I meet it with the best I have to give.”
“I will stop focusing on how stressed I am and remember how blessed I am. Complaining won’t change my reality, but a positive attitude will.”
“Being positive does not mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. There is a big difference between the two.”
“I will not get caught up in what could’ve been or should’ve been. I will look instead at the power and possibility of what is, right now.”
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. It’s about not letting my fear decide my future.”
“I will get back up. Again, and again. The faster I recover from setbacks, the faster I’ll get to where I’m going in life.”
“My next step in the right direction does not have to be a big one.”
“Patience is a genuine expression of confidence, acceptance, serenity, and faith in my own ability. It’s a sign of strength. I will practice it.”
“When I find that I don’t have time for what matters, I will stop doing things that don’t.”
“I can always feel the genuine, positive power that flows from my decision to rise above the petty drama and distractions that don’t really matter anyway.”
“Instead of getting angry, I will find the lesson. In place of envy, I will feel admiration. In place of worry, I will take positive action. In place of doubt, I will have faith.”
“The longer I remain peaceful, the stronger I become. Peace on the inside leads to real, meaningful progress on the outside.”
“There’s nothing selfish about self-care and self-love. I can’t give what I don’t have. When I enrich my own life, I’ll be life-giving to others too.”
“If the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s just life’s way of reminding me to water the grass I’m standing on.”
“From now on I will be too busy watering my own grass to notice if yours is greener.”
“I will focus on making myself better, not on thinking I am better.”
“I will practice gratitude, even in the midst of frustration and despair, so I can better see the positive possibilities around me.” (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
“Happiness does not start when ‘this, that or the other’ thing is resolved. Happiness is what happens now, when I make the best of what I have.”
Challenge Yourself to Embrace Every Experience This Year
Too often we yearn for a very small and selective range of life experiences—the enjoyable times, the happy situations, the things that make us feel comfortable. And yet, the full range of our reality is often quite different. Life gives us an extensive array of experiences that evoke feelings ranging from sadness to regret to pride to anger to love to loneliness… to happiness and more. These feelings are all part of being a living, breathing human being.
So we can revolt against the unfairness of life—the unfairness of having to deal with loss, having to go through adversity, having to feel lonely and uncomfortable and upset. Or we can embrace every experience life gives us, including all our highs and lows—all the blissful moments and painful ones and everything in between. Life is not just happy and comfortable 24/7. It’s well-rounded and it’s real.
Embracing the full range of life’s experiences this year means embracing every moment with our full presence, being open and vulnerable to reality, being gentle with ourselves when times are tough, and practicing sincere gratitude no matter what happens.
It means accepting life as it is, and accepting ourselves as we are.
It means not expecting the best to happen every time, but instead accepting whatever happens every time, and making the very best of it.
This isn’t easy, of course, but it’s worth working on.
If you’re feeling up to it, we would love to hear from YOU.
Which affirmation mentioned above resonates with you the most today, and why?