We all battle with our imaginary shoulder angels and devils. The bad thoughts get the better of us some days, and it takes concentrated effort to flip the scales, and sometimes these thoughts and feelings can get us down. If things get really bad — be sure and reach out to a friend, mentor, or coach. If you need professional help — please seek that support. COVID-19 has sent us all over the edge a little, but here are four self-affirmations for restoring your motivation.

Positive mental acknowledgments are known as affirmations.

We tell ourselves things we want to believe and over time we convince ourselves that they are true. If we allow ourselves to repeat self-deprecating thoughts, we will also start to believe these thoughts — even if they aren’t true. These thoughts weaken our well-being and can lead to loss of motivation, decreased self-worth, and even depression.

Self-affirmations are a direct counter to this debilitating mindset. They involve repeating positive things to yourself until they are ingrained into your subconscious. By actively seeking these happier thoughts, you don’t leave room in your mind for anything negative.

Self-affirmation has origins in Hinduism and Buddhism, but it’s a valuable strategy for everyone. Athletes repeat affirmations to themselves to maintain focus and performance through physical exertion. Office workers say them under their breath to fight stress and stay productive.

But affirming yourself doesn’t just feel good. Studies have shown people who use self-affirmations are more creative, less stressed, and have stronger problem-solving skills. Here are a few to try when you need a little extra motivation:

1. “I Will Make Today a Great Day.”

Getting up on the right side of the bed can make all the difference in your day. When you wake up thinking positive thoughts, you’re more likely to maintain that attitude as the day progresses. This is one of many daily habits you can use to start each day with a little extra sunshine.

If your first thought in the morning is, “Today is going to be awful,” you are probably right. You’re likely to accept that reality and do nothing to make it better. Telling yourself “I will make today a great day” sets the stage for exactly that. Even if things go sour, your self-affirmation will motivate you to stay positive. Remember, you are in control of your own happiness.

2, “I Have a Lot to Offer.”

Not everything that you do will be fueled by passion. Bills need to be paid, and sometimes you have to follow the path that opportunity lays out before you. What matters is recognizing your worth at all times.

If you fail to see your own worth, you’ll be tempted to abandon your hopes and dreams. But being the best shouldn’t be the benchmark for everything. Just because you aren’t the top talent at a given activity doesn’t mean you have nothing of value to contribute. Say it, “I have a lot to offer.”

Surely the greatest of choirs isn’t exclusively made up of the best voices in the world. They are all great singers who work hard at their profession, but more than anything, they see the value in what they have to offer to the wider group.

Your efforts, no matter how small, are influential in your life and the lives of those around you. Using such an affirmation on yourself — and present to others about themselves — is designed to remind you of that truth.

3. “I Will Never Give Up.”

Our first inclination when times get difficult is to give up. Hard times require we put in more effort to overcome them, which can be mentally and physically exhausting.

When life presents challenges that seem too much to bear, remind yourself that you will never give up. It will undoubtedly be hard, but those who have achieved success are the ones who kept going even when life threw challenges at them. So sang Billy Ocean, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Now, there may be some times when it is best to step back. It’s okay to throw in the towel on an eBay bidding war for a silverware set. It’s also important to recognize the negative aspects of your life that you need to let go of. However, this should not detract from the truth that you should never give up on your efforts to improve yourself, your life, and the lives of those around you.

4. “I Am Imperfect, and That’s OKAY.”

Accepting that we make mistakes — and that we make them often — can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Yet once you give up the “beating-up-on-myself” habit (and it IS a habit) things begin to get remarkably better. We tend to believe that acknowledging imperfections exudes weakness and a lack of self-worth, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You will absolutely screw up — over and over and over and over. It’s important to recognize that we will screw up and that our self-worth is not attached to that fact. Don’t be diminished by those thoughts.

When one of the “screw up thoughts” attacks — I’ve found it helpful, rather than say, “stop” I allow it to “pass-through” me on its way out of town.

Imperfect thoughts are particularly harsh on entrepreneurs who are striving so hard to keep the company running. We all know that building a business is all about learning from your failures — but its also about protecting your emotions. The wins are wonderful, but they aren’t nearly the teachers that mistakes are. What’s important is the lesson learned. You’ve heard this — please start believing it.

When you do make a mistake, your first impulse may be to self-blame. The self-punches (and knock-outs) do nothing but cause more harm to you and those around you. Degrading your self-confidence and kicking your legs out from beneath you will not get your report written, nor your work done. Instead, remind yourself that it’s okay to be imperfect. Use these words to learn the lesson from your mistake so that you can become even better than you were before.

You can use variations of these phrases or come up with your own. Personalize them by inserting your name for some powerful motivation. My best advice is always to remember that it is easier to STAY UP than GET UP.  Protect yourself, take care of yourself — especially during all this COVID-madness.

Above all, value yourself, and keep a positive attitude.