1. Take Control – I understand this may not be easy for some but the fact is that we are all responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Except in extreme circumstances – we can take control of these things and train our minds (just like muscles) to become stronger, more durable and more positive.
2. Make a habit of exercising – “Healthy body, healthy mind”. Not only does exercise make you feel good physically and emotionally it also encourages positive hormones to be released in your body and brain.
3. Eat right – “You are what you eat” A diet of junk and nutrient poor food starves your body and brain of nutrients they need to function properly and feel good.
4. Be realistic/flexible – Accept that there will be setbacks, successes and failures. It is natural to go and up and down with one’s motivation and emotion and it is natural that the best laid plans with often be interrupted. Accept frustration and find solutions or just keep moving forward despite them.
5. Develop disciplines – Change requires change! Meaning if you want to be more positive – you have to do something that will result in more positivity – like reading a book! You need to develop disciplines of learning the things you need to learn or exercising or eating better or sleeping better or all of the above! Just be careful not to try to do it all at once! Take baby steps.
6. Baby steps – Sometimes when we look at what we can improve – numerous things appeal to us or confront us! Pick the one or three most important things you want to change and start with – trying to do too much can be a recipe for disaster.
7. Be grateful – an attitude of gratitude attracts positivity! Gratitude involves positive thought and therefore creates a state of mind of looking for more positives. Find anything to appreciate – your time, body, friends, things, weather, life!
8. Smile – “when you smile the whole world smiles with you – when you’re sad you are alone” quite simply you get what you give – if you can give some positivity in a smile – you will get some positivity back!
9. Use Positive affirmations – Positive affirmations can be a great way to train your mind and change some thought patterns. Try to choose your three most self-limiting thoughts and train yourself to turn those thoughts into uplifting thought! (e.g. instead of “I’ll always be fat” – affirm to yourself “I am getting fitter and leaner by the day and I will be proud to achieve my goal weight of 80kgs by July 30 2011″
10. Relieve stress/anger – It is hard to avoid stress and anger so it is important to have some mechanisms to relieve these negatives. Have some strategies in place – talk to your partner/friend/trainer, go for a walk/swim, do a weights or boxing session – find something you enjoy and have it available when needed.
11. Remove stress – This may not always be possible but quite often it is! If you can avoid a stressful situation then do! Or if you have a problem hanging over your head – deal with it. Sometimes delaying confrontation can be more stressful than the confrontation itself.
12. Find passions/talents – We all have something special about us. Find and develop your talents or passions. You don’t have to be the best in the world in what interests you but if you can find something to do that you deeply enjoy doing – this can be a great outlet and can build great peace and strength.
13. Act – don’t react – Being proactive can mean taking the imitative in different circumstances. (e.g. instead of waiting for ill-health to inspire you to get fit – you can get fit before ill-health comes. On a deeper level being proactive means realising that “Between what happens to us – and how we react to what happens to us – is our ability to choose our response”. To me this means that in any given situation we have the ability to control what we do – no matter what happens to us – we can choose how we will act.
14. Look for humour – “Life is too important to be taken seriously” A little humour and laughter will lighten your day and those around you – but make sure it’s not sarcasm or at your own and anyone else’s expense.
15. Learn something – Read positive or inspiring books, learn a language, learn about health and fitness or positive mental attitudes. A little time learning can be both developmental, inspiring and relaxing.
16. Prioritise yourself – before you can be best for others you need time to be best for yourself. This may mean time out to go to the gym or see friends or read. If you are giving too much of yourself and not enjoying it – then you need to make time for yourself first!
17. Find meaning – You are in grave danger when you get me started on “meaning” but basically this means find yourself some “philosophy”. This could be a religion or it could just be some guiding thoughts that help you feel connected to yourself, your life, this world and those around you. Find yourself a purpose for living – it could be to help others, be the best? you can be or just to live a happy life. Be careful – if you don’t seek a philosophy – you will get one by default!
18. Use audio books – Listening to audio can be a great way to learn, relax and grow and you can do it almost anywhere – whilst driving, riding, walking, cleaning etc. If you don’t enjoy reading – try listening!
19. Wake early – Wake up with a purpose for the day! Sleeping all day 10 -12 hours or more can be as harmful as not enough sleep and is certainly not motivating. Don’t over-sleep.
20. Sleep well – Try to get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep per night. This is the minimum for good health but you don’t need any more than 10 hours in most cases.
21. Make plans – Plan your life, plan your year, plan your month, plan your week, plan your day! Having plans let’s you decide what you will be doing and why and can keep you on a positive path! If you don’t choose what you want in your life – somebody else will choose for you.
22. Connect with positive people – Sometimes you need to put yourself in a position where you will find good influences. Visit a church or a social group or sports group or gym.
23. Get better, not bitter – realise that we can’t always control what life pushes our way but we can always control what we do with what we’ve got!