I've spoken to many artists who say they struggle with self confidence. You may have thoughts in your head like "There are tons of artists better than me," or "It's not going to turn out the way I imagine it anyway so why bother," or "No one likes my art anyway so why should I keep making it".
These are all just forms of "head trash" or negative thoughts we tell ourselves. Woozle from our engineering team refers to this concept as negvox, short for "negative voices." Whatever you call it, it's important to understand our thoughts can dictate our success. As Henry Ford once said
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."
The good news is there's a simple technique you can use to eliminate the head trash, and it only takes 2 minutes each day. It's called daily affirmations.
I've been using daily affirmations for about two years ever since I first learned of them from Boho Berry and the Miracle Morning. I use them to help me with my anxiety, confidence, people skills, and motivating myself to draw more. And as silly as this thing sounds, it actually works.
Getting started with affirmations
Take a few moments to choose two or three affirmations you will use for the week and write them down on a piece of paper. See below for examples. Select affirmations that directly negate negative thoughts you have about yourself and your art. For example, I struggle with perfectionism, so I use this affirmation to help me produce more art.
"Consistently creating art is more important than perfection"
Set aside two minutes each morning to recite your affirmations. Make sure you say them out loud and firmly. Affirmations are most effective when done at the start of your day. The thoughts created from these affirmations are more likely to stay with you throughout the day and build a positive mindset.
Place your paper with your affirmations some place where you can't miss them in the morning, such as on your mirror, in front of your toilet 🚽, or the cupboard where you keep your breakfast cereal, coffee, or tea ☕. This will help you remember to do it each day.
You'll likely get bored of these affirmations over time so be sure to change them out now and then.
Why this is effective
Reciting daily positive affirmations help you build a positive mindset and confidence in your art and in yourself. By reciting simple positive messages, you’re building pathways in your brain towards positivity. You probably won't see the effects right away but over time, repeating this exercise will foster positive thoughts in your mind. When you have a positive mindset you'll be motivated into taking action and creating more art more frequently.
To make things easy, I've written a few sample affirmations that you can start using today. Over time, you'll probably want to swap these with new ones you find online, or even better, write your own.
Perfect is the enemy of done. I start things even if I fear not doing them perfectly. I will not let perfectionism freeze me from making progress.
I am a highly skilled and talented artist
If I never try, I am sure to fail
When drawing and painting, I am not a slave to my reference. I change and design it to be more aesthetically pleasing and tell a story.
I schedule time for rest and self-care so that I avoid burnout and can remain creative.
Today I am making time to create.
The only person I compare myself to is who I was yesterday.
If you're thinking to yourself, "this is silly and it wont work," acknowledge that that too is head trash. You've got nothing to lose except 2 minutes a day. So why not give it a try?
What affirmations did you come up with? I'd love to hear them and try them out! Share yours in the comments below so others can get ideas from yours, too.