Every year has good and bad moments. Sadly, as we look in the rear-view mirror of the passing year, many will focus on the bad which, more than likely, were probably fewer than the good but can appear larger in magnitude. Stedman Graham said “What you focus on expands”. Truer words may have never been spoken.
I know people who have a great life: nice home, great friends and family, yet their primary focus is on what is “wrong” with their lives. Little issues become major trauma. They choose to see only the negative as if they thrive on the drama of the negative.
It’s part of human nature to focus on what went wrong over the past year. Loved ones battling cancer, others struggling with acute or chronic health issues, loss of family and friends through tragic events. Financial challenges and personal skills that went underutilized throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, choosing to focus on the positive will not change the trials caused by illness and death. What a positive focus will do is provide hope as we begin a New Year.
What we focus on is a CHOICE. It is completely under our control.
Here is an exercise to support the creation of a new way of being in your life (writing the answers down helps, sometimes seeing things in black & white can open your eyes to the way you currently approach things in your life):
- What do you really focus on? Is it the positive or the negative?
- What are some positive things in your life that you would like to expand?
- What are some methods you could use to keep yourself focused on the positive things in your life each day? (i.e.: create daily mantras, daily devotionals, journaling, etc.. There are tons of online tools that can support a positive mindset).
- How could making a choice to focus on the positive change not only your outlook on life but the people around you? (Becoming a more positive person will definitely make a difference to those you love).
Some other tips:
- Liberate yourself from self-fulfilling prophecies – examples: “It’s just my luck”, “why do bad things always happen to me?”.
- Purge self-criticism – take a deep breath and say “I’m doing the best I can and that’s all I can do” (write it on sticky notes and post them around your house and car, as a reminder to be nice to you!).
- Volunteer. Focusing energy on helping those who are really in need supports a healthier mindset.
- Create opportunities to laugh. Laughter provides a mood boost, swap humorous stories with loved ones, watch a comedy, read a funny book.
- Make time to REALLY love and appreciate those around you by spending time with them.
A New Year provides us with new opportunities to create who we want to be in our life and how we influence those around us. So, what will you choose – Positive or Negative? Remember it’s your choice!