What you think is what you are.
One of the biggest barriers of self-improvement are the negative and self-critical thoughts we experience when trying something new. It’s a natural human tendency to be our own worst critic! When we’re confronted with a situation outside of our comfort zones it’s common to let insecurities take chare, which can easily threaten to derail personal goals.
I hear this all the time from clients — “I can’t do that”, “I’m really uncoordinated” or “I’m just not very athletic”.
Whether you’re just starting a fitness journey or challenging yourself to level up your routine, the way you speak to yourself can have a major effect on your progress. If you continuously tell yourself that you can’t or aren’t good enough to do something, those negative thoughts can easily take root in your mind.
In my experience, self-doubt and self-criticism are two of the biggest challenges my clients face. I obviously take pride in helping my clients transform their bodies and become stronger, healthier versions of themselves. But one of the even more rewarding parts of my job is helping clients overcome negative mindsets — by replacing self-sabotaging or negative thoughts with positive ones!
Thankfully, an easy step towards shifting to a positive mindset by using positive affirmations. Only speak to yourself in ways that will work to your benefit and cultivate the best version of yourself. By actively choosing positive affirmations, you have the ability to cleanse your mindset and, with time, purify your thoughts.
So, what is a positive affirmation? Simply put, it’s a statement that optimistically challenges self-doubting, unhelpful or negative thoughts. For example:
Every time I exercise, my body grows stronger.
Many people find affirmations uncomfortable because we’re conditioned to be self-deprecating towards our flaws and perceived weaknesses, but this is exactly how they work. Once you start practicing affirmations, you allow new positive thoughts and associations to enter your brain. Over time, these affirmations have the ability to reprogram your mindset/thought process.
I’ve seen this happen to my clients many times over the years. By simply trying something that they thought they couldn’t do and slowly working towards mastering that new skill, they build confidence. This quickly replaces self doubt and easily translates to other areas in their lives. With a little bit of time and effort, the things they thought were outside of their reach are now possible — in part from putting in a slow and steady effort, but also by affirming that they simply could.
The positive effects of this don’t stop there! When you believe in your potential and affirm that you have the ability to take on challenges, your feel-good hormones increase. This makes space for your brain to train itself to form new positive thoughts by association.
We all get stuck in negativity from time to time, but eventually we have to confront this negative energy to break the cycle and move forward with our lives.
If you say you can’t do something, then you probably can’t. But telling yourself you can or that you’ll try has the ability to change your entire self-perception and helps you evolve.
A lot of our negative thoughts come from fear — of failing, of being less than perfect or of disappointing ourselves. In light of the new year, I encourage you to let go of those fears and replace them with affirmations. Giving yourself the gift of affirmations creates a positive space that can help you evolve! Write them on a post-it on your bathroom mirror, put them as a reminder in your phone or in your morning journal entry. Whatever works for you!
Here are a few of my favourites to get you started:
- I am in charge of how I feel, and today I choose to be happy.
- Today, I abandon habits that don’t serve me and take up new positive ones.
- I let go of all that no longer serves me.
- I let go of worries that drain my energy.
- Today, I choose abundance.
- I am enough.
- I let go of things I cannot control.
If you are new to positive affirmations, you may be skeptical of something that seems so easy. But if you’re feeling stuck in negativity, why not give it a try? At the very least, it will challenge your mindset. And hey, who knows… maybe trying something so simple will change your life!