Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Less Holiday Stress

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love this part of the year. I love the happiness, the warmth and coziness, the memories, the traditions and the way most people seems to soften a bit. I even like the holiday rush. But this time of year can also be extremely stressful. There are high expectations, budget constrictions, conflicts between family members, and sometimes it feels like there is no time to relax.

I aim to keep Christmas a happy time for myself and those around me. We try to limit meltdowns and over committing. To keep us as relaxed as possible from Dec 1 – January 2 I try to follow these two tips:

Two tips for lessening stress during this busy holiday season:

1. Set Your Priorities and Stick To Them

Early on in the season have a conversation with your partner, or yourself, discussing what your top priorities are in the Holiday Season.

Look at your calendar and decide what will work with the amount of free time, money, and sanity you have. Don’t overbook yourself. Decide what traditions or family events are mandatory and then add on what you know will make you the happiest. I scheduled a few parties with friends and mandatory family events and then made sure I still had time to do my own favorite Christmas activities like baking cookies, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, reading, and lots of quality family time. You can’t do it all.

2. Remember You Have No Control Over Other People’s Behaviors

It’s always hard being around people that you simply don’t agree with or get along with. But when I’m trying to enjoy my favorite time of year, being around negative or toxic people is even harder. I try to remember that I can’t change those people, they are who they are. The only thing I can control is my own behavior. I use these opportunities to treat others the best way I know how. Be responsible for your actions and don’t worry about others.

How do you make it through the holidays without stressing?

 

Think Positive Monday: Do What You Love Everyday

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

It’s a phrase we hear often, “Do What You Love”. We are told that if we love our work, then work won’t feel like work. But working in a profession that makes us feel happy and fulfilled every single day is not a reality for most of us. 

What I think we often forget though, is that work is not our whole life. In order to have that serene feeling we all search for we must find a way to squeeze in doing one thing that we love to do each and every day. 

What is the one activity that you do that makes you feel the most relaxed, happy, fulfilled, or simply like yourself? Perhaps you love cooking or crafting. Maybe you love volunteering or running. For me, it’s reading. I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of private distraction free reading time each day. 

By fitting in one activity you love everyday you are feeding and refreshing your spirit. That energy should spread over to other elements of your life. More importantly you’ll be reminding yourself that you and your needs are a priority. You will learn to respect yourself more and encourage you to not let others treat your poorly. 

Are you too busy or too stressed out to fit in doing something that you love? Then you need to cut out something out of your schedule to make time for that one activity. Business is generally a perspective problem. We are all “busy”. Wake up earlier. Put off cleaning for one more day. Shorten a dinner date to a coffee date. Put down your phone. Life is too short to not being filling it up your time doing things you love.

Carve out a few extra minutes each day to do something that nurtures your soul and makes you feel alive. Those few extra minutes of happiness will fill up your spirit for hours after they have passed. This is your life, live it the best way you can. 

 

Positive Thinking Mondays: A Change of Perspective

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I’m happy to introduce a new weekly blog series:

Positive Thinking Mondays

I’ll be discussing ways to make little positive changes in order to live a more well-rounded and happy life. I’m no expert in psychology but I’ll be sharing tips that personally work for me. I hope this will be a way to keep me “in check” and remind me to practice these changes and methods.

I think we can all use some extra positivity in our lives and I hope you’ll be joining me on this venture!


 I truly believe that a positive perspective has the ability to change your life.

I didn’t always think that way, there were times in my life where I felt very low and would rather make excuses and find all the negatives than try to be happy. It was easy to complain about all the ways my life sucked and how the world ruined my chances and punished me. I would attempt to say quasi positive statements like, “Well at least I have a job” when I was struggling with a less than kind boss or “At least I can pay the rent” when I was upset with my low salary that left nothing over after living expenses. But the fact was, I was still feeling defeated by the world. 

But if you want things to change, you must change the way you look at things.

It took me a little while to realize that the world didn’t owe me anything. I in fact I owed the world something. I owed the world gratitude for all that she has given me. I owed the world my best self, no matter the external factors. With just that one simple switch I began to see all the potential happiness I was missing out on. 

Perspective is everything. 

“Problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein

In the past year I’ve made some big changes in my perspective, tackling negative thoughts, and finding new ways to be grateful. At first it took me to get used to these practices, because if I’m honest, at first it all sounded like BS.

Yet, I kept at it. Pretty soon it felt good. I was starting to have happier days. I felt taller and like I was growing into someone I could be proud of. Of course some days I’d fall off the wagon and find myself sitting on the couch crying into a plate of nachos while watching bad TV.

It takes 49 days to change a habit. After a bad day (or week) I’d throw on a smile and try again. 

Only we are in control of our own perspective and in turn our world. No one else but you has the ability to decide how your life should be lived. Start with the day by day. Find little ways to switch your perspective. When something happens outside of your expectations or when something bad surprises you, try to change the way you normally would look at it.

Simple ways to change your perspective:

  • Pretend to take on another person’s perspective and examine different angles. How would your boss tackle your stressful work project? How would your mom handle your same troubling situation? How would someone who has had a completely different background than you look at your life and your worries? 
  • Look at the problem from a different angle. Step away from the issue, take a little vacation from your thoughts, and come back look at them a few hours or days later. Have things changed? Things aren’t always nearly as bad as we initially think. 
  • Change the timeframe. Think of how you will look back on this problem in 2 months and then 2 years. Will it still be as serious? 
  • Close your eyes and take a big breath. Is this problem or scenario something that will be important to you while you are on your deathbed? If you only had one year left in your life, would this problem seem so big?

Those may sound like an obvious practices, but I can’t think of how many times I’ve let a little problem or mistake snowball into something far greater than it is. It has been easier to focus on the negative then remember to take a step back and change your perspective. 

I hope you’ll join me each Monday and take on new habits to live a more consistently positive and happy life. 

When has a new perspective helped you?