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.
YOU are worth working on. (And if you’d like some extra support this year, we’d love to work directly with you via the Getting Back to Happy Course or the Think Better, Live Better conference.)
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?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, we recently released our NEW podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event). You can listen to the first 10 episodes on your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts).
Finally, our next annual Think Better, Live Better conference is taking place February 8-9, 2020 in San Diego. We just released 5 more discounted early bird tickets that are still available right now (while they last).
Mommy Tola says
Great write up Marc! This is a reminder to me especially 16 & 17, I need to focus on myself and do me more, love myself more and just get on with it. Once I get this (relatively) right, I’d be better equipped to do the same to those around me.
Also looking forward to Think Better Live Better next month! 🙂
Life is difficult, but just as #1 affirmations said you can train your mind just like any other muscle in your body. If you choose do so you will have the ability get over any obstacle you might find being thrown your way. As difficult as it may be to train your mind, especially in moments and situations that really test your patience, it will pay off in the long run. I have incorporated many of these philosophies into my everyday life. Although it is still a work in progress, I have been seeing more of those “incredible highs” and working more effectively to get through those “stressful lows.” It comes down to being conscious of the decision you make in your life. You can choose how to respond to certain situations, accept whatever obstacles come your way, remember that you are blessed, overcome negativity, be in the moment, get back up after being knocked down, be strong, patient, and kind, make yourself better by being in charge of your own life, and just embracing all of life’s experiences. Although I have been trying to incorporate all of these points into my life and never knew how to put them into words. I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself. What a great article! And thank you for your books too, M&A. They are getting me moving again.
Hello, Marc and Angel…
**DISCLAIMER** I’ve been reading your blogs for quite some time now but this is the first time I am actually leaving a comment, so please bear with me. Thank you!
I would say #16- “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” resonates the most with me.
I always seem to be seeking something bigger or better for my life “somewhere out there” when in actuality, to ask for any additional blessings would be grossly selfish!. I have a committed amazing husband who has NEVER left my side since we met on October 9, 1998. To tell you that he treats me like a queen would be very much of an understatement! Michael (my husband) has supported me through some very dark times where, tbh, I don’t know if I would have survived without him. I have 3 great children (one in heaven and 2 boys 18 & 16) and a step-daughter who is so amazingly beautiful and gifted at the young age of 21!!! We are financially stable and able to give back to our community as well! Yet for some reason my brain wonders if there is something more for me where the grass appears to be a bit greener.
So, I will definitely be focusing on watering the grass I’m standing on now because I know without a doubt that no matter how great the grass may appear to be on the other side, I know it could never be greater than my own. God Bless.. ~ Cher
Amal Mahmoud Mohammed says
Happy new year Marc and Angel. I’m from Egypt. I found your blog about five years ago. Your articles changed my thoughts in a very positive way. Numbers 4, 6, 7, 9 and 20 resonate with me the most. All your affirmations grounded me to powerful truths and I will affirm these truths in order to live better life in a new year. GOD BLESS YOU.
THANK YOU A LOT.
I thought your ability to articulate these affirmations were great! I read this yesterday to my class and as we went along I just kept thinking how realistic, meaningful, and useful the affirmations can be for not only my students who are going off to college (I teach at a rural school) and entering a brand new world. But also for me a married man with 3 small children. 3, 4, 5, 13, 16 really just stick out to me and I know I will put into daily practice in my life.
Sandy Evans says
Your emails have helped me to be grateful for the life that I have. I recently went through a very difficult life changing event and my entire world turned upside down. I thought I had the perfect life and one day it just ended. One of my co-workers sent me one of your emails and from that day on I have looked forward to each and every one I have received. Each email makes me think about my life and how grateful I am for the life that I do have. I read each word you both write and I cannot believe how knowledgeable you both are in helping others learn to live their lives to the fullest. I am VERY grateful for you both – you have helped me through a difficult time and every day I read and practice the steps that you write to live a more fulfilling life. Thank you from my heart. Here’s to a wonderful 2020 !
Maria. M says
Marc and Angel, I cannot even remember how I came across one of your posts about 2 years ago. I lost my husband and my world came to a stand still. I have never given any feedback since but thank you so much for you spoke to my situations with every post!
I must say I read all the affirmations with meditation and reading that I can water the grass where I am standing stood out. God bless you and the work you are doing touching lives like mine.
Rick Weber says
ESE? Unexplained acronyms distract from the important points that you are making.
Nancy Alt says
Great article. The one that resonates with me is #3–“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.” However, all are really good. Have an awesome day! And, Happy New Year!
#1 is the biggest for me. If I could do this one , Im sure life would open up. Right now fear cripples me.
I love this.
“Being positive does not mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative. There is a big difference between the two.”
I know this will stick with me. And thank you for the reminder to embrace life with all its highs and lows!
Nasrin Ali says
Hi dear Marc & Angel! Thank you for your powerful blog and amazing affirmations. Since I’ve been reading your articles, I’ve seen great change in my life. I’m so grateful for your hard work. Number 2, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 19 resonate with me the most. Especially # 19 “I will practice gratitude, even in the midst of frustration and despair, so I can better see the positive possibilities around me.”
Happy New Year! God bless you both!
santiago arechederra says
Its always very nice and worth reading and nurishing from your life views. GOOD TO HAVE YOU IN THIS BEAUTIFULL WORLD, MAKING REAL CHANGE…………REAL THANKS.
Egwuda Rex says
you guys are the bomb!!!!! love you so much; from Nigeria. your Influence has been enormous in my life
Nick V says
powerful stuff. thanks for sharing this and happy new year!
Oanh Truong says
“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 find that all you have written resonates with me. Thank you so much Marc for reminding us what we already know but tend to forget. Thank you for the constant reminders. You do it so well. Yes we should “always look at the power and possibility of what is, right now.” You can’t change the past. Regrets hold you back from doing what you need to do to move forward. When a door closes another one opens. You have to be ready to take a leap of faith and walk through that door. If you keep looking back you’re going to miss out on the opportunities that are far better than the one you left behind.
Ekene Onyiuke says
Thank you Marc and Angel for your emails these past years. They have been most helpful.
I was introduced to your blog by a sweet friend, who sadly passed on 3yrs ago, giving birth to her son.
With love, from Nigeria.
Hi Marc and Angel.
I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog, as well as your podcasts. I’ve returned to you over the past 5 years or so, and it has helped me gain motivation, especially on those hard days. I actually just made a big poster inspired by some of the affirmations you’ve mentioned, and if you want to receive it as a gift, you may. You can also sell the design if you fancy, as I think that a lot of people could use those life affirmations hanging on their wall to remind them of the important things in life.
Lastly I just want to hear if you can make a booklist of some (Say 3-10) of the most inspiring books that you’ve read, besides your own of cause 😀
Friendly regards, Christian from Denmark
While I get your emails, I rarely get time to open them and read them right away. This one I didn’t file it so I would make time to read it sooner rather than later. Well, as in the past, I get them/read them at the most opportune times! #3,4,6 resonated with me, I have been under enormous stress due to difficult boss in a high stress job and an impending move to a different state (I am so ready for it!). I need to stop talking about my current stress levels and use these affirmations to get through this. I have endured a lot in the last 18 months and it is getting hard to stay positive but it’s a brand new day to start these and count many of my blessings. Thank you for your simple yet always profound messages that come right when I need them 🙂
Donna Sheffler says
The last year has been the most stressful I’ve had to go through but with your help, I can move forward and enjoy what time I have left . Thank you for your daily posts and reminders to me. In some ways I felt triggered and sad and then I handed my problems to God.
I’ve always been my worst enemy and it stops today.
Blessed by God, I can finally use that gift to create new ideas that will be my legacy. I will enjoy the next weeks for this purpose . I hope to have fun in the next few years . Work hard will lead to positive results . I have faith. Amen