How To Use Positive Affirmations for Health, Fitness, And Happiness

By Caroline Jordan

August 10, 2013

Affirmations are a powerful way to cancel or correct old negative thoughts or ideas. Here’s how to use positive affirmations for improved health, fitness, and happiness.

Win with your words! Here’s how to use Positive Affirmations in your life for improved health, fitness, and happiness.

Recently I went to coffee with one of my spin students. He has been coming to class for 5 + years and has always been one of my favorite Equinox members. During our conversation, he pulled a piece of paper out of his gym bag. On it he had written quotes and words from my spin classes that he had collected over the years. “The challenge is there to teach you you are stronger than you think you are.” “You are strong. You are unstoppable”. He said these positive affirmations and motivating mantras combined with the high-energy movement of class allowed him leave his workouts feeling empowered. “After spin class I feel as if I can accomplish anything. It’s 45 minutes of non-stop positive energy and that’s exactly what I need to succeed.” I was touched, I had forgotten how powerful words can be. It’s true, words can be used to motivate, empower, and inspire us on to success. When used properly, positive self-talk and positive affirmations can change your life.

Words have tremendous power over our minds, bodies, and our performance. It has been said, performance is 90% perception and 10% reality. Each of us is constantly engaging in our own internal thought processing. We talk to ourselves and interpret our situations based on our own perceptions of what is going on around us. If our self talk is positive then we function quite well. If our thoughts are irrational, exaggerated, or negative then we may become anxious or emotional and our performance is likely to decline.

Positive Thoughts = Positive Actions = Positive Outcomes.

Thoughts and attitudes are cognitive in nature. Our perception and thoughts often lead to an emotional response. These thoughts and emotions then provide direction and control over our actions. That’s why it is critical to become aware of what thoughts and self-statements are running your actions and ultimately your life.

Words that work: Defining Positive Affirmations

One powerful way to structure our thoughts and transform our goals into results is through the use of positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is a strong, positive, self-statement, spoken in the present tense about a goal that has the potential for being accomplished. It is a pre-planned statement of an aspiration, presented to the mind as if it has already been achieved. You present it to the mind in the present tense rather than the future tense. Although intellectually you know your goal is in the future, successful mental programming dictates that it be stated in the present tense as an already realized fact.

Positive affirmations are a powerful way to cancel or correct old negative thoughts or ideas. Negative thoughts are carried in our mental computers and are the source of self-limitation, fear, inhibition, and frustration for all of us. In contrast, self-image, health, physical abilities, relationships, and competition can all by affected positively by the repetition of an affirmation or positive thought.

A positive affirmation creates an attitude or posture in life that says “I can do this!”. It is a conscious, carefully worded positive statement that guides our behaviors in a constructive way. It empowers us to replace old pessimistic scripts with new creative phrases to help us realize our dreams. Words are effective tools for transforming our perception of daily events and in turn our actions towards positive results.

The mind and the body are so well connected that the body often doesn’t know whether a phrase or image is real, dreamed, or imagined. So when your mind creates an image of success, your central nervous system and whole body will process that image as if it were real. Most of the time our actions are reflections of our mental pictures. So choosing the right words and thoughts can make or break your performance.

I often use positive affirmations when teaching workshops and classes to help participants to reconstruct their thoughts. I encourage participants to think empowering self statements like, “I am healthy, strong, fit, and full of energy.” or repeat a mantra during their workout such as “strong, focused, motivated, dedicated.” These mantras or affirmation phrases aid in overcoming mental obstacles and accomplishing workout goals with a positive attitude.

How to Use Positive Affirmations

Whenever you want to maximize your chances of getting the results you want, affirmations are one of the fastest ways to get there. If you want to create real changes in your life, use affirmations to:

  • Improve concentration
  • Relax and sleep well
  • Build self confidence
  • Accelerate learning of skills
  • Deal with fear and negativity
  • Heal quickly from sickness or injury
  • Increase endurance, strength, and performance
  • Train faster and more efficiently
  • Improve relationships
  • Improve quality of life and wellbeing

The subconscious mind is literal and factual in nature, just like the hard drive of a computer. It receives information exactly the way you present it. That’s why when using affirmations, its important not to use statements that are negative “I hope I don’t crash during this race” and instead use statements in the positive “I have worked hard and I am well prepared for this race” Positive affirmations need to be presented in a specific way to optimize their effectiveness.

Guidelines for creating positive affirmations that work:

  • Use the Present Tense. Act as if it is already happening. Instead of “I want to be fit” use, “I am healthy, strong, and fit.”
  • Use a Positive Outlook. When you use negative words they may be taken into your brain without your awareness. Negative thoughts are like affirmations for what you DONT want! Affirm what you do want to have happen instead. Rather than saying, “I have problems with food and eating well” say “I choose to eat well and nourish my body”
  • Use self-image statements. When possible, construct your affirmations beginning with “I” or “I am” or “I enjoy” or “I choose”.
  • Keep it short, clear, and specific. Make your affirmations a phrase that is a clear statement of your feelings. This way you can easily remember the phrase and your mind can take it in.
  • Make them permanent. “I am strong” “I love exercising in the mornings”
  • Use mood words. Include words that suggest strong, positive emotions. “I am full of energy and positivity” “I always get excited for workouts”
  • Anticipate success. When creating your affirmations, don’t let your critical side limit the phrases you create. Use whatever thoughts work for you and inspire you.
  • Use cards, post-its, smart phones, vision boards, text reminders, whatever works! Write your affirmations in on something you will look at often. Your computer desktop, fridge magnet, car dashboard, or bathroom mirror — anything works if it works for YOU. I have my affirmations on my smart phone alarm clock. When I go to turn off my daily alarm I see the words “Today is going to ROCK!”.