If we want to change our life, we have to change the way we think. Here are 20 daily affirmations I’ve used to rewire my brain, and totally change my life.
“Oh man, this hurts so much, I’ve got to stop!”
This is what my internal voice used to scream at me every time I tried to hold a plank pose for longer than 10 seconds.
Sidenote: if you don’t know what a plank pose is, Google it and then try it out. You’ll see what I mean.
I’d get to the edge of my pain tolerance, tell myself I’d had enough, and quit at the first hurdle; never really giving myself a chance to see what tough stuff I’m really made of.
Then one day – during a particularly gruelling session with multiple side-planks – a steely resolve suddenly appeared. I desperately wanted to give up. “NO”, I shouted, “I’m strong, I can do this!”.
And you know what? I could.
The stories we tell ourselves can be rewritten
We have a voice in our head which basically acts like a tiny little dictator.
It tells us we aren’t good enough, we’re not ready, we can’t do it. It’s made up of all our past experiences, as well as our cultural conditioning. It’s a construct; it’s not reality.
It’s our ego’s way of trying to keep us safe – but it also keeps us stuck.
If we want to change our life, we have to change the way we think.
Affirmations – like the one I shouted during my workout – are an amazing way to rewire our brain, and train our ego to give us pep-talks (rather than slam-downs).
What’s the story, morning glory?
To rewrite our stories, we first need to know what the heck they are.
To meditate: set a timer for 5 minutes, focus on your breath, and notice any thoughts which arise. If you’re total beginner, check out my Ultimate Guide To Meditation For Beginners.
To freewrite: allow yourself to write without a specific focus. If you need a prompt, start with “I feel…”, and watch what flows out of you.
Look out for any hidden limiting beliefs in your consciousness – the most powerful daily affirmations are created using the opposite of these statements.
20 daily affirmations that have changed my life
These affirmations are the antidote to my most limiting beliefs; my mantras for the self that I’m consciously creating.
- I’m so grateful to be alive. I repeat this every morning during my yoga practice, when I began to notice that most days I woke up feeling unmotivated and unfulfilled.
- I’m strong, and I can do this. Again, this is one I often repeat during an intense yoga practice, when I feel like I want to give up (but I know I have more to give).
- The world is a safe place for me to be. I grew up feeling like I always had to be “on guard”, ready for something to go wrong. The message was that the world is unsafe; so instead, I tell myself the opposite whenever I’m out or travelling alone.
- There is always enough money. My dad always told me “money doesn’t grow on trees”; translation: “money isn’t easy to come by”. When I feel panicky about my finances, I tell myself that there’s always enough.
- Abundance flows to me effortlessly. I recently realised I’ve been seeing the world through a lens of scarcity. Now when I notice myself thinking this way, I try to shift into a more abundant mindset.
- I am open and receptive. As an introvert, I often close in on myself when the external world feels like too much for me. When I feel this contraction (sometimes physically), I remind myself to open up to life.
- It’s my intention to forgive. I’m a gold-medal grudge-carrier. Now that I know this about myself, I consciously choose to practice forgiveness – every single day, for every little act.
- I am whole and complete. I sometimes feel myself leaning too heavily on other people to meet my needs, so I try to remind myself that I am a whole human being in my own right, and capable of meeting my needs in other ways.
- There are people who need to hear me. I frequently deal with self-doubt, particularly about my writing skills and my areas of expertise. When this crops up, I remember why I’m doing this, and who I’m doing it for (hint: it’s you!).
- I surrender to what is. I often make goals, and find myself feeling frustrated if it’s taking me a while to achieve them. In these moments, I let go of ambition and surrender to the present moment, accepting things the way they are.
- I love and accept myself exactly as I am. There are days when I just can’t stand myself (although thankfully, less of them than in previous years). If I notice a bout of self-criticism, I tell myself I love and accept myself, over and over, until the message sinks in.
- I can learn something from this. Almost every day, something happens that sucks. And when it does, I remind myself to shift into problem-solving and optimism, rather than whining and frustration.
- People don’t need fixing, saving, or rescuing. As a born-and-bred people-pleaser, I used to see it as my job to fix everyone’s problems. When I feel that urge arise, I breathe into it and remember that it’s not my duty to be anybody’s saviour.
- All I desire comes to me in the perfect time. Like I said, I often set goals and have pretty big ambitions for myself. If I feel impatient, I know I’m blocking the universe’s delivery system; so I let go of the timing and tell myself it’ll come when I’m truly ready.
- I am making the world a better place. Sometimes I question what the heck I’m doing – what my purpose is, and whether I’m actually fulfilling it. When I get this way, I remind myself every small thing I do can contribute to the betterment of this world.
- My only job is to cultivate knowledge and teach it. I used to get myself in a tizz about what I was supposed to do with my life. This was the answer I came up with, so I remind myself every day that my only two jobs in this life are to learn, and to teach.
- I release all that no longer serves me. This is more ceremonial than anything else – any time I take a deep breath, I consciously remind myself to exhale anything I’m holding on to (such as thoughts, beliefs, emotions) that are no longer serving me.
- I honor my body. I spent so much of my life ignoring my body, and not giving it what it needed. Now, whenever I exercise intensively or feel the urge to overeat, I remember to respect what my body needs, and not to push it beyond its limits.
- Everything is unfolding as it should be. Sometimes, really sucky things happen. People die. Relationships break down. Opportunities are lost. In these moments, I remember that there’s a greater plan – and that everything is as it should be.
- I am the creator of my reality. For most of my life, I felt totally powerless. It wasn’t until I discovered the tools of mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation that I realised I had total control over my life. Any time I’m feeling like a victim, I remind myself that I am the conscious creator of my experience.
Affirmations as a daily practice
The most effective affirmations are usually the opposite of the limiting beliefs we discover during meditation or freewriting.
They’re difficult to believe at first, but the more we repeat them, the more we wire them in to our consciousness.
It helps to keep our daily affirmations somewhere visible, such as:
- Our phone, e.g. on a notes app
- A wall in our home
- Our bathroom mirror
Basically, anywhere we’ll be reminded of them as often as possible.