The turn of the calendar to a new year is a ready-made opportunity to re-orient, re-set and re-direct your thoughts and actions in a more positive direction. You may be months or years into your journey toward positivity, but the freshness of a brand new year is still full of promise.
Some people like to list “be more positive” as a New Year’s resolution, but setting this as a genuine, achievable goal requires more than a one-line intention. Here are four ways to make 2018 your most positive year yet.
1) Be a “Realistic Optimist”
Some people like to say, “I’m not a pessimist or an optimist; I’m a realist.” But just as there are realistic pessimists who declare every glass to be empirically half-empty, realistic optimism is a viable way to view the world. Being a realistic optimist means acknowledging struggles and challenges, but giving voice to hope that you can and will manage them, and, ultimately, overcome them. As positivity expert Joffrey Suprina recently told The Huffington Post, “Positive thinkers really are individuals who recognize both the bright side and the negative, but they choose to focus their energy and time on the side that’s going to promote the most positive outcome.”
2) Sharpen Your Re-Framing Skills
Turning the corner when frustration or disappointment rear their heads is not easy, but it is a crucial skill if a positive outlook is your goal. This skill is called a “re-frame” because it is takes a difficult thought, feeling or situation, and understands it in a different way. Intentional re-framing might turn a negative thought into a positive action. For example, “I am so tired this morning” might become, “I will take a work break this morning—and bring back coffee for my colleagues!” Or, re-framing might change your self-talk, changing, “I really messed up today” into, “I have a lot to learn before I try that again!”
3) Care for Your Body
Breathe deeply and mindfully. Eat nourishing, pleasing foods. Make restorative sleep a priority. Move your body. These four pillars of a healthy lifestyle can guide your decision-making each day, as you re-commit to a positive relationship with your body. Even if you skipped lunch and over-did dinner, had a too-late night or let stress win your yesterday, today is an opportunity to inhabit your body in a positive, loving way.
4) Start—or Strengthen—a Regular Practice
“Practice makes progress,” goes the positive aphorism. When we let go of perfection as our goal, we become open to the subtle growth that comes with returning to an activity again, and again, and again. In addition to prayer there’s yoga, meditation, mindful walking or art as excellent examples of practices that change and expand to meet us where we are on any given day. What practice satisfies and inspires you?