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Life Potential

4 Simple Steps to Start Living a Positive Life

Written by Maria Jensen
Specializes in personal and professional development.
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We all know the distinction between positive and negative. It’s like white and black, good and bad, and right and wrong. Therefore, the desire to live a good and positive life comes naturally to us.

A positive life is different from a specific goal or want. If you want a specific thing like money, a job or a person – then you might have it, but it’s still something you can’t always control.

But a positive life is something you can always take control of and change from within because you can live a positive life no matter where you are, who you are, or what you do.

This article takes you through the simple steps that will help you let go of negativity and start living the positive life you deserve.

What Is A Positive Life?

Before getting to the 4 steps, it’s worth asking yourself what exactly is a positive life? What does living a positive life look like?

A positive life is more than something that you can control. It entails a series of thought processes, beliefs, and an overall mindset. Specifically, living your daily life like this:

  • Maintaining an overly positive and realistic attitude and taking positive actions.
  • Focusing on the solutions to your problems rather than the problems themselves.
  • Making an effort to constantly improve you and your life.
  • Learning from your failures, moving past them, and trying again with a new approach.
  • Living in the present and making the most of it while not dwelling too much on the past or future.
  • Focusing and noticing the good traits in people and not solely focusing on the flaws. This development makes you more empathetic and less judgemental.
  • Ultimately striving to do the best you can with what you have to work with.

From these aspects alone, it’s clear that a positive life isn’t so much what materials you have in your life right now. But by adopting this way of thinking, a lot of aspects of your life will improve dramatically over time and you can live a more positive and happy life.

The reason for that is your mindset has shifted to see problems, goals, and dreams differently.

4 Steps to Take for Happy and Positive Life

Here is what you can do to improve your life:

1. Take Control of Your Mindset

Did you know that most of our reactions and actions are controlled by our habits?

Let’s use an example:

You might wake up every day with the alarm clock going off and this causes a negative reaction. Why?

Well, you have implemented the idea of waking up early as a bad thing. Then your mind has made the alarm clock a trigger. The sound of it now connects it to something negative.

It’s normal to be tired in the morning, but you don’t have to start out your day by being grumpy. Even though you’ve told yourself that it’s okay and it’s a ‘normal’ reaction; it’s actually something you’ve programmed all by yourself in your mind.

Changing your mindset takes time because it’s about recreating your way of thinking, but it’s still a simple step. The good news is that, unlike a vegetable, you actually have thoughts – and not only that – you’re able to change them.


You might have told yourself that your daily negative responses to certain things are normal and they are out of your control at this point because the reaction is unconsciously made. But the unconscious mind is not a second mind playing by its own rules. It’s something you can control and reprogram.

John Bargh explains how our unconscious mind functions. It’s controllable if we want it to be:[1]

”We have a single, unified mind that operates in both conscious and unconscious modes, always using the same set of basic machinery, fine-tuned over the course of evolutionary time.”

This means you can take control of your mindset and you can change your outlook on things to something more positive and happy.

Remember, the alarm clock is just an example of a daily habit or routine that can control your mindset with or without your knowledge.

It’s not about the alarm clock ringing. You can’t turn off the alarm clock without throwing away your responsibilities. The problem isn’t the alarm clock. The problem isn’t even your response. The problem is that you have programmed this reaction without noticing it and it’s affecting your mental health.

If you create a mindset that reacts to these situations with a positive response, then you’ll reprogram yourself day by day.


Yes, you have to get out of bed early. No, you don’t really want to go to work or wherever you have to go, but what do you want?

You still want to get out of bed and do something with your day.

You still want to live your life.

Instead of letting the sound of the alarm clock remind you of what you don’t want, let it be a reminder of a new day arriving – that’s great – because this day is yours.

2. Memorize Positive Words

It sounds too easy to be true, but by memorizing a list of positive words, you can force your brain to use positive and happy words more often and this will help you in living a positive life. [2] In the same way, you can reprogram your mindset, you can rewrite your vocabulary. The words will start to come to you naturally and your outlook will change.

Some psychologists have measured which words count as positive and negative, but if you think about it, then you probably already know the words yourself. [3]

It’s not about educating yourself and learning new words. It’s about using what’s already within you and using it more in your daily life.

Once you start using more positive words, it will not only affect your own way of thinking but also affect the people around you. Here’re some to light up your day: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life


Have you ever noticed how positive and happy people tend to spread their mood to other people around them? Usually, a smile is met with another smile. A positive conversation will most likely be met with the same good tone.

3. Focus on What Matters

Mark Manson wrote a book titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, which leads many to believe it’s about not caring about anything. This could not be further from the truth.

The one thing you have to realize is that there will always be both negative and positive things in your life, but you can control which ones affect you.

Yes, you have the ability to care about what matters. It’s as simple as it sounds. Take a look at your past, present and future. How many times have you wasted your energy on something that in the end didn’t matter?

The truth is that we shouldn’t care about everything. We shouldn’t care about certain things like what our old classmates think of us, or what people say about us on social media or get annoyed by the co-worker who talks behind our back.

In the end, you’ll never be able to win in all aspects of your life and you can’t focus your energy on everything. [4]


“You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.”

What you can do is prioritize. What really matters to you? What do you care about? Block out everything else and focus on what you should care about. Take a look at this guide and learn more about prioritization: The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

4. Learn to Say No

For some people, it’s hard to say no because it means you’re either letting someone down or letting an opportunity go. If you look at the words yes and no, then most people would view a no as a negative and not a positive word.

The thing people forget is that you can’t say yes to everything. When you say yes to something, then you’re also saying no to something else. Maybe your boss asked you to work late and finish a project, so you say yes because you don’t want to disappoint him or her. At the same time, this may mean you’ll miss out on your kids’ play, even though you promised him or her that you would be there.

The point is that every time you say yes, you’re also saying no. Every time you choose to do one thing, then you’re taking away time from something else. It would be great if we could do it all, but we can’t.

You need to learn to say no. This step can be very simple as it’s actually just an extension of the step above. You’ll learn to say no by finding out what you really want and what you don’t want. This way, when you say no to someone or something, you’ll be saying yes to the things that you care most about.

If you find it difficult to say no, this article by Leo Babauta can help you: The Gentle Art of Saying No


Final Thoughts

A positive life starts from within and even though nothing (rarely) drastically changes from one day to another, a positive life can come to you easily by following these simple steps.

More About Positivity

Featured photo credit: A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ via unsplash.com


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