Ah, today is a wonderful day. It’s a great day to be alive—to learn, to give, to grow, and to achieve your dreams.

Did you notice that? Those statements? They are statements of belief and of conviction—of affirmation. I also call them self-instructions because that describes what they do: they instruct us how to feel and how to act. They create who we are at the deepest levels. They are the single most powerful tool for changing your emotions, your actions, and the results you get in your life . . . if you use the right self-instructions, and if you use them a lot.

You see, every second you are thinking. You can’t stop. Even if you were an experienced meditator, it would be difficult to turn off the pictures, sounds, and feelings your mind serves up. Every minute of every day, you are affirming what you believe. You are doing it this very second. If you just thought, “That’s not true,” you made an affirmation—a statement of belief and conviction. In fact, every thought you’ve had or ever will have is either a question, an affirmation, or an affirmative command.

So anyone that says affirmations don’t work has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Yours are working on you right now, and they will work on you until you shuffle off these mortal coils.

My point? Since your minute-by-minute thoughts (affirmations) are your present and your future, all you need to do is improve your affirmations, and every area of your life will improve right along with them. It is an absolute certainty.

A large part of our research at Think Right Now! International is to discover and compare the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of the world’s most successful, happy people to the most unsuccessful, unhappy people. They are always polar opposites.

For example, when the healthiest, oldest living people on the planet feel comfortably full, they typically say to themselves, “I feel just right,” and they stop eating, even if a pile of their favorite food is still on their plate.

In contrast, what do people who suffer the most illnesses, pain, and diseases do at the full mark? They often say things like “one more bite won’t hurt,” and they continue eating.

In fact, we consistently find many hundreds of differences in beliefs between successful people and failures in every discipline of life. And obviously, the longer a person owns a belief (affirms it), the harder it is to change. The old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is an old saying for a good reason. Our minds don’t want to change . . . it’s uncomfortable. The pain you may feel now, at least, is familiar. When big habit changes happen quickly, it’s agony because it’s unfamiliar.

That’s why when you read a self-help book or go to therapy or attend a seminar, chances are excellent that you will do nothing differently. If you do experience an improvement in your moods or habits, it’s usually short-lived because your long-held assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes (affirmations) never changed. You fought it. You found reasons why you couldn’t continue, why it was wrong for you, why you couldn’t succeed after all.

Information or logic alone usually does not create lasting habit changes. If just knowing what to do guaranteed success, then everyone would get A’s in school and would continue to enjoy great accomplishments throughout their lives, but they don’t. Out of every 100 students using the same textbook and getting the same lectures from the same teacher, only a few will score above 90 percent, and even fewer will use their knowledge to ensure success in their careers and in life.

Information and logic alone is not enough because we talk to ourselves all day long, and most people have the same failure-oriented self-talk in 2006 that they had in 1996, 1986, and 1976. If something frightened you 10 years ago, it’s likely to still make your knees knock today. If you hate exercising now, you probably won’t like it much 10 years from now. Why is this so? I call it mental patterns. They are hard wired into you from years of conditioning.

I have many clients whose core mental patterns are so screwed up that they suffer from panic attacks. They lose all control of their minds and bodies, but in most cases, when we aggressively work to alter their moment-by-moment thoughts, thus altering their core assumptions about themselves, their lives, and the world, the panic attacks end. This is true even if decades of therapy have done nothing. Self-instructions are powerful.

Think of your usual thoughts (affirmations) as a paintbrush that continues to paint the same colors on the same places on the same canvas . . . for the rest of your life. The longer you paint, the thicker the paint gets. It gets so deep that there comes a point where it feels impossible to alter the picture.

“You make me so mad. I’m too busy to eat healthy. I’ll never get this done. I’m depressed. There are no decent men out there. I can’t figure this out.”

These types of beliefs (affirmations) fill you with anxiety. They make easy decisions hard, suck the joy out of your accomplishments, create illness and disease, and take away your energy and zest for adventure. In any area of life where you cannot seem to succeed no matter what, I guarantee you that your negative beliefs (affirmations) are controlling you every minute of every day—but they don’t have to anymore.

Ponder this fact: every sentence you’ve read here is either a question, an affirmation, or an affirmative command. Check it. Believe in affirmations now? Good. Step 1 is complete.

Now for Step 2: pick any area of your life that doesn’t work, where you fail, feel fearful, hopeless, or where your luck is never any good. It could be your diet, fitness level, anxiety or depression, career trouble, social problems, romance, sex, financial woes, poor organization, sports, school, memory, time management . . . any area of life where you are having big troubles.

Then, go somewhere by yourself and think about that topic. Notice your thoughts. When you notice a disempowering thought, if you see a picture of yourself failing or hear yourself saying anything that makes you feel less capable, write down the thought or a description of the picture.

If, for example, you want to improve your financial situation, get by yourself and listen to your inner dialog, and notice your mental pictures about this issue. After you have a few dozen disempowered beliefs and attitudes written down related to money and your lack of it, write opposing statements in affirmation form. So, if you routinely get up late, don’t start your daily phone calls until 11 a.m., take long lunches, buy things you can’t afford, and never read investment-related books or invest in appreciating assets, turn these beliefs, attitudes, and actions around by writing down opposing first person, present tense statements that affirm that the opposite is true now.

Then, take this new set of desired beliefs, attitudes, and actions and copy each one down on no more than 20 3 × 5 index cards, and live with those cards. Take them everywhere with you, and read them with strong emotion upon waking, at lunchtime, and before you go to bed. Say them aloud whenever possible. Commit to doing this, and soon, you’ll be taking positive daily actions that will make all your goals and dreams come true.

If you think this won’t work, remember that that belief is an affirmation. Suspend your doubt and follow through on this, and you will have taken the most important step in your personal and professional development. Do this, and your confidence will soar. Your motivation will last. Happiness will be your normal mental state. Nothing will be beyond your grasp. These last statements? Just affirmations, right?

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

Mike Brescia is the president and CEO of Think Right Now! International, Inc. Think Right Now! develops thought and behavior modification programs that internalize the 22 core unconscious thought processes of those who are the best at something already. This makes new emotional patterns and behaviors easier to adopt and keep. When you need your emotions, decisions, actions, and results to be like a champion’s without patches, powders, or pills, just Think Right Now! Visit our Web site at http://www.thinkrightnow.com.