I know, I know. You’re probably thinking it’s impossible to be positive every day. However, extenuating circumstances aside, it’s quite possible to start your day with a positive mindset. When things go wrong, there’s always a silver lining to keep you above water, even if you’re swimming against the current.
There are many ways you can maintain a sunny disposition in even the worst of situations. Be sure to:
1. Make a plan
Things won’t always go according to this plan, but if you set out a list of goals you want to accomplish by the end of the day (or week), you’ll always have something to strive for. By making a to-do list, you ensure that each day you experience will be at least a little different than the one before it. Plus, when you check off that last item every day, you’ll go to bed knowing you did much more than simply go to work, come home, and watch TV.
2. Have a routine
Although you appreciate variety, there are some things you should do every day. Take some time to stretch and exercise, even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Use quiet mornings to spend a few moments in deep thought, or the time right before bed to reflect on what you accomplished throughout the day. If you have a hobby, set aside a specific block of time to work on it every day. Once you get into a routine, you’ll have specific things to look forward to.
3. Appreciate the small stuff
How do you feel when you spill coffee on yourself, first thing in the morning? Or hit every red light on the way to work? Do you think “Ugh, this happens to me every time”?
Obviously, this is an overreaction. You simply don’t make a big deal about all the times you avoid spilling coffee on yourself. And there have definitely been times you’ve hit every green light on the way to work that you didn’t jump up and down about. It’s an odd phenomenon that spilling coffee on yourself is enough to start your day off badly, but not spilling coffee on yourself isn’t enough to make your day absolutely incredible.
Maybe it’s time we start celebrating these victories all the time, like that football player in the commercial: “Woo!!! 44, that’s me!” (C’mon, you know the one…)
It sounds cheesy, but starting your morning off with a smile can set the ball rolling toward an incredibly positive day. Keep that smile on your face as you walk past people on the street and in the office. Not only will it subconsciously keep you in a great mood, but it may also have a contagious effect.
Especially on Mondays, when many people are feeling pretty crabby, try to be the catalyst that lightens up everyone else’s day.
5. Use positive vocabulary
A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine asked how I was doing. I replied, as a courtesy, “Not too bad!” (with a smile on my face). He responded with, “Not bad? I want to hear ‘ecstatic’, ‘incredible’, ‘amazing!'”
There’s a big difference between “not bad” and “amazing”. The former makes it seem like you’re amazed that you’re not feeling atrocious, whereas the latter is bursting with excitement. Express yourself with vivacious vocabulary (and that cheesy smile) to spread positivity throughout your life.
6. Spend time with positive people
Nobody likes a “Debbie Downer.” If you find yourself surrounded by people who thrive on being unhappy, ditch them immediately. Obviously, your friends will have their ups and downs. But if they are constantly trying to bring you down with them, you need to take control of the situation before you lose your sunny disposition.
Find people who exhibit the same excitement for life that you have, and you’ll never experience a dull moment.
7. Do something nice for others
Being positive isn’t all about yourself. Spread the love around! You could pick up your wife’s favorite flowers on the way home from work, or volunteer at a soup kitchen during your free time. You’d be surprised how good it feels to help others out and make their lives just a bit easier. If we all took time to pay it forward, we could set off a chain reaction of good deeds that spread throughout the entire world.
8. Control your own destiny
No one can force you to be positive; you have to make it so. It might take work, but the rewards are definitely worth the effort. Don’t just sit back and hope to get promoted; put yourself out there and make sure your boss sees how hard you’ve been working. Don’t wait for your future husband to sweep you off your feet; go out there and find him.
Your dreams will never become a reality unless you decide to go for it.
9. Don’t beat yourself up
Everyone has bad days, and everyone makes mistakes. Don’t waste precious time kicking yourself for some bonehead decision you made. Instead, use what you learned to help yourself improve the next time a similar situation arises. If you went for a job interview and didn’t get a call back, think about how you could have presented yourself a little better. Then, view that lesson learned as ammo for your next interview.
Life is a learning process. If you’re not learning, you’re wasting your time.
10. Do something different
Getting caught up in the daily grind can make you bored and complacent. Try to do something new every single day. It could be something simple like using your GPS to find a different way home. Or something more drastic like picking up that musical instrument you’ve always wanted to learn. Learn to cook a new meal. Take that book off your shelf that you’ve been dying to get into. Take your family out for an impromptu ice cream date.
There are infinite experiences to have on this Earth, and only one life to experience them all in. So what are you waiting for? Don’t waste a minute!
Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com