A woman staring outside the window.

Most of us are guilty of engaging in negative self-talk that gets in the way of our confidence, happiness and success. We often tell ourselves things that we wouldn't dream of saying to anyone else. But as we start the new year, it's time to break the cycle and start treating ourselves with more kindness and compassion. New year, new positive mindset!  

With that in mind, here are 20 things you need to stop telling yourself this year.

1. I am not good enough

We are often our own worst critics, constantly comparing ourselves to others and feeling like imposters when we fall short. Often, it's our own unrealistic standards that make us feel not good enough. And even if you genuinely are not as skilled as you think you ought to be, you can always learn. 

Replace this with: "I am constantly growing and learning, and that is enough."

2. I am a burden to others

When you feel like you're dumping your troubles on others and taking more than you give, remember that the narrative you’re repeating to yourself is probably skewed. You’re not a burden to others for sharing your feelings. We all have needs, and asking for emotional support is healthy and important.

Replace this with: "I am allowed to ask for help and support when I need it, just like everyone else."

3. There’s no way this will work

When you don’t feel confident enough about whatever it is you want to do, you may self-sabotage by convincing yourself that said project/idea/relationship was doomed from the start. The solution is simple: try anyway! The results may surprise you. 

Replace this with: "I am capable and willing to try new things, even if they scare me."

4. But what will other people say?

Don’t let the fear of judgment hold you back. Often, people are so hyper-focused on themselves that they really couldn’t care less if you’re choosing to go with Y instead of X. As the old truism says: “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Replace this with: "I am living my life for myself, not for the approval of others."

5. I’m too old to start

Let’s be real, this is just an excuse. Something you tell yourself to protect you from the idea of failing or being mocked. Guess what? There are thousands of successful stories of people who started following their dreams later in life. You’re never too old to start!

Replace this with: "Age is just a number, and I am capable of achieving my dreams at any stage in life."

6. Nobody cares 

What you do matters and has an impact on the lives of others, even if it doesn’t look that way to you. You share this planet with billions of people. The chances of finding someone who cares about your actions and choices and has similar interests to you is higher than you may think.

Replace this with: "I am part of a larger community, and my actions have a positive impact on others."

7. It’s not that bad

Repeat after me: pain is not a contest. If you’re saying this to yourself over and over, you’re probably trying to downplay a situation that was actually hurtful or upsetting. Acknowledge it for what it was, so you can move on with your life. 

Replace this with: "I am allowed to acknowledge and validate my own feelings, even if others may not understand them."

8. Why me?

The question should be: why not you? You deserve good things in your life, so it’s time to change your internal monologue. Instead of questioning whether you deserve that promotion, for example, embolden yourself with courage and accept the good things life has to offer you. 

 Replace this with: "I deserve happiness and success, just like anyone else."

9. I always ruin everything

If you’re stuck in this negativity loop, remind yourself of all the things that turned out right in your life, no matter how small. You may have responsibility over your actions, but there are circumstances completely out of your control. So no, it’s not you ruining everything. 

 Replace this with: "I am not defined by my mistakes."

10. I am not talented enough

Let me tell you a secret: talent is overrated. Yes, really. According to the findings of Professor Angela Duckworth, achieving long-term goals requires more than just talent. In fact, what you may need is grit – the ability to sustain effort and perseverance over time.

Replace this with: "I am capable of achieving my goals through hard work and perseverance."

11. I have no other choice

Your choices may seem limited, but they do exist. After all, everything leading up to this moment in your life was based on a choice you made in the past. Start the year remembering you do have options, and that’s so much!

Replace this with: "I have choices in my life, and I will take the steps necessary to create the future I want."

12. I don’t deserve to be happy

Maybe someone in the past made you feel undervalued, and now you keep telling yourself you don’t deserve to be happy. Time to leave that thought behind. You deserve to have your needs met and live a fulfilling and joyous life just like everyone else. 

Replace this with: "I am worthy of happiness and will actively work towards creating a happy life for myself."

13. I am not worthy of love

Another example of something you say to yourself, but would probably never say to a friend. No matter how bleak things may look, or how much you think you have failed as a human being, you are always worthy of love and affection. Always.

Replace this with: "I am deserving of love and capable of giving love to others."

14. If only I had X

Many of us go about our lives thinking that if only we had a certain amount of money or success we would be happy. The reality? Contentment is actually about a deep acceptance of the self. So, instead of thinking about what you lack, practice being grateful for what you already have.

Replace this with: "I am grateful for all that I have in my life.”

15. I should have known better

Saying this to yourself is pointless because you can’t change the past. The good news? You do know better now, so what you can do is apply the knowledge you gained about yourself in future decisions. Go, you!

Replace this with: "I am constantly learning and I will use my past experiences to make better choices in the future." 

16. No matter what I do, nothing seems to change

Sometimes frustration takes over, but believing in yourself is crucial if you want to make any significant changes in your life. If nothing seems to change, you may have to try a different approach, talk to someone or ask for help on what’s the best way to go about it.

Replace this with: "I am capable of making changes in my life, and I will actively seek the help and support I need to achieve my goals."

17. It has to be perfect

Perfection does not exist. If you want to show up as this flawless creature who never makes a mistake, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead of letting perfection ruin your happiness, aim for excellence. Doing the best you can whenever you can is more than enough.

Replace this with: "I am imperfectly perfect, and that is more than enough."

18. I’m such a failure

if you failed New Year’s resolutions in the past (who hasn’t?), beating yourself up for it won’t help you accomplish new goals. Those failed attempts do not define you, so remember to detach your sense of worth from external things and try to be kinder to yourself. After all, you are your biggest supporter.

Replace this with: "I am not defined by my failures, but rather by my ability to learn from them.” 

19. Why did I say that?

We all mess up sometimes and say things we didn’t mean. It’s part of life, but, if you have a tendency to overthink, letting go of past mistakes can be tricky. My advice? Instead of getting caught up in a negative thought pattern, reframe the embarrassing situation by laughing at yourself. It will help you move on faster.

Replace this with: "I am learning to let go of my embarrassment and find humor in my mistakes.”

20. I’m pretty sure no one likes me

Let’s be honest, not every person on the planet will like you. This is a tough lesson to learn for a people pleaser. Still, that doesn’t mean no one does. When you fall into this mind trap, you forget that your friends and loved ones already like you very much, just as you are. You don’t need to change a thing.

Replace this with: "I am loved and valued by the people who matter most in my life, and that’s enough.”

Andreia Esteves
Andreia is an INFJ who used to think she was the only person in the world terrified of answering the phone. She works as a freelance writer covering all things mental health, and psychology related. When not writing, you’ll find her cozying up with a book, or baking vegan treats. Find her at: https://andreiaesteves.com/