It’s that time of the year again! The start of a new one, to be exact. The whole world is declaring their resolutions, 2017 goals, and promises of improvement. Featured columns are scattered in every nook-and-cranny of every blog and social media site on how to do better and have a fresh start.
The thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that they only apply for January 1st. People wake up on the 2nd only to go back to old habits. You know why? Because none of us are particularly driven to actually transform our lives. We use fate as an excuse on how everything turns out; we don’t work hard enough and aim for the best. It’s quite easy to fall back to old routines than adjust to a new lifestyle. But today, I’m going to motivate you to defy your typical 365. Here are twenty ways to be more positive and prosperous this new year:
1. Have an Attitude of Gratitude.
What better way to start your year than by being thankful for all the previous ones you’ve had? Never forget all the experiences and lessons that have molded you to who you are today. What we are now is the sum total of the choices we’ve made. There might be some that we regret and wished away, but in the long run we’ll come to realize that things do happen for a reason. So instead of looking back on it with tremendous rue, let’s be grateful that they happened because it has taught us something. Having a continuous attitude of gratitude is one absolute way for a more positive and flourishing year!
2. See the brighter side of things.
In life, there are going to be certain circumstances that will come to dampen our spirits, but we need to have the courage to see things in a different perspective. To find the silver lining. Because what may seem like a mountain today might just be a molehill tomorrow. Learn to live this year trying to blow away the clouds that blanket the sunshine. Eliminate negative people who make your world monochrome. Never let anyone stop you from dancing around the beauty and colors of life!
3. Set goals.
A goal is the first step towards achieving success.
The problem with not having a goal is that you can spend your whole life running up and down the field and never score.
– Bill Copeland
Having goals give you clarity on how you want your life to turn out, it drives you forward, it motivates you. Your road to reaching your goal is your build plan. Achieving it is the ultimate life plan. Without a goal, you cannot fail, but you cannot prosper at all too.
4. Live in the moment, live in the now.
The past is behind us, and nothing we do can ever change it. Life is meant to be understood backwards, but must be lived forward. There is no point in fantasizing and thinking of all the could-have-been’s. It is completely unhealthy. Cultivate your year by looking forward to new days to come that offer new adventures. A new day without mistakes, an unwritten page you have complete control of. Smile at your yesterdays, but never forget to live today.
The past is always tense, but the future perfect.
– Zadie Smith
5. Make wise decisions.
They say a single step is a journey to a thousand miles. And every success in the history of humanity started with one decision. Though, at times, our visions are clouded and we can’t see past the end of our noses. So it’s hard to know what’s the right thing to do. Listen to your inner voice. Don’t be too rash, and always think things through. Remember, if you aren’t in a happy situation, that’s because it is a reflection of your past decisions. Happiness is a choice. Wise decisions are the ones you make out of caring for your well-being as well as other people’s. Wise decisions are never made out of spite. Wise decisions are the ones that produce long term answers, not temporary solutions.
6. Smile. Be in control of your emotions.
This is probably self-explanatory. Every time I’m in a sour mood, smiling makes it really hard to stay that way. Yeah sure, it seems fake at first… but you’ll get there. Smiling attracts more positivity, no matter how heavy the atmosphere is. Never let your emotions eat you up, be the one to control it.
You don’t feel like smiling? Then what? Two things. First, force yourself to smile. If you are alone, force yourself to whistle or hum a tune or sing. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy. Here is the way the psychologist and philosopher William James put it:
‘Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not [under direct control of the will].
‘Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. . .’
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
7. Avoid arguments.
When the situation to snap at people presents itself to us, it’s very tempting and hard not to take it. But arguments are senseless in one way or another. Learn to be the bigger person; and know when to let unimportant issues go and when to speak up. Always go for the situation that benefits both parties. It’s always better to avoid arguments and gossips (rather than showing people how “powerful” and superior you are because you aren’t afraid of anyone and their opinions). More often than not, fighting makes you look desperate and egotistical as opposed to your fearless expectation.
There is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it.
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
8. Be humble.
Love yourself, love your life, and love everyone around you. Acknowledge and give yourself credit in prayer. Never boast. People feel bad when they are trying so hard, and things seem to come around easy for you. You will not get praise, only resentment and envy. Instead of showing others how successful you are, show them how to be as successful as you are. Those efforts will be much appreciated.
Never forget your roots, and never try to be something you’re not. Live life simply, and you’ll be happy.
9. Do random acts of kindness.
It’s nice to reach such a point in success that you wouldn’t need to burn midnight oil just to earn. Do you know what’s better than that? Your capability to be a servant leader, to lend a helping hand, and make others’ lives easier. Being a cheerful giver radiates such energy in your life that is hard to distort. Doing random acts of kindness not only benefits the people you’ve helped, but yourself as well. It doesn’t have to be a big philanthropic thing, you could ask people how their days went, and offer ways to make it a bit better. You will never know what a huge impact that’d be. You could probably be the only one who remembered, and it would be so heart-warming to them. And that’s better than any honor for an entire lifetime.
10. Stay active.
One way that negativity enters into our lives is when we are dissatisfied of what we’re doing. Always stay active, never let boredom vex you and ruin your view of the new year to come. If you’re momentarily discontented or tired, try looking for a new hobby. Paint, stitch, learn a sport, go mountaineering, anything will do! You can chase after a long lost dream, or even drop everything for a day to travel and just take a little R&R.
11. Use time wisely.
Time flies so fast. One moment it’s still New Year’s day, and the next thing you know it six months have passed with you having done absolutely nothing productive. Never procrastinate, there are endless tomorrows. Maximize your time, always.
12. Redefine failure & reframe experiences.
You might be reluctant to go after life-changing things; maybe because you’re anxious to fail or you’ve sought it before and have failed indefinitely. Thrive to redefine failure as a stepping stone, and to reframe your experience by focusing on why you want to do what you want to do. Sometimes, it is extremely difficult to cut the flow of the thoughts that’s hindering you from doing things, but be patient. Do a little shifting exercise, every time you step backwards, do something to get two steps ahead in the game. Counter one negative thought with two positive ones.
Life will always have disappointments
It never stays happy, and just as important,
it never stays sad.
Anger has its place, too,
yet it should be controlled and let go.
Happiness is almost always a state of mind
and an attitude that can be controlled
in most situations.
Choose happiness when at all possible.
Keep good memories and discard hurts.
Allow yourself to make mistakes
and realize that’s when you may learn
your biggest lessons.
– Barbara Cage
13. Practice being a Pro-Person.
A pro-person is someone who thinks of the pros instead of the antis. Instead of being Anti-War, that person is a Pro-Peace. Instead of Anti-Bullying, the pro-person focuses his/her attention on being Pro-Friendliness. Be someone who thinks of the possibilities, not the limitations. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
– William Shakespeare
14. Have more faith.
Sometimes, things may really seem like they’re never gonna turn out for the best, but I’m telling you to just hold on to that faith. Just believe that everything will be okay. Always try your best at everything. And when the weight is too much for you to drag around, ask for heavenly help. Let God steer the way, and stop taking it away from His hands. Trust that He will make things better. I know that it’s easier said than done, but give it all to God 101%. And you will not feel any burden at all. Faith can move mountains.
Having faith, perhaps, is the greatest assurance of all—
faith not only in the strange workings of the universe.
but in yourself. Have faith that you are strong, capable,
deserving, and wise. Have faith that roadblocks are often
steppingstones in clever disguise, and that you’re exactly
where you’re meant to be—no matter how difficult it
may be to believe at any given moment.
– Lynn Barnhart
Whenever my sister and I are in a bad mood, we just try to look around. Almost always, we figure out that the reason for this is because the room is a total mess. And we would always joke on how hard it is to get pissed and stay angry when the surrounding is spotless. Redecorating brings such a bright vibe and evident form of positivity. It’s also hard to be lazy when everything around says “Hey, you’re in a good mood, why don’t you do this too?” Also try adding quotes and photographs that inspire you. Paste welcoming little pick-me-up notes. Happiness can be found at the sight of aesthetic pleasure.
16. Don’t just have a good day, make one.
Oh, you woke up on the wrong side of bed today, you stumbled upon the bedside table, you ran out of toothpaste, you couldn’t find your keys, the traffic is killing you. So basically, your day started in haywire. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. There isn’t a need to hope for good days to come, when you could just make them. You could decide at this very moment to just laugh about it, and thank the world you’re not experiencing more than you can handle.
17. Make new friends.
You can never have too many friends, everyone could always use more friends in their lives. This year, engage yourself more with other people. You’d be surprise what an influence they can make on you, and how much they can still teach you. Communication with new people is another way of self-discovery. Not only do you get to know them, understand how their mind works, but you also see what a reflection it is on you (i.e., the way you react to them, if your opinions match, their way of persuading you, etc.). Making new friends is an avenue for finding more support systems, and (when they’re the right ones to trust) they’re there through thick and thin, rain or shine, plus they come in handy as shoulders-to-cry on too!
Every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
18. Express yourself more through writing.
Personally, I express almost everything through writing (hence the blog). I even got in trouble because of my written self-expressions. But the point is that writing is a visible representation of how much you’ve improved. I always reread some old entries in my journal, and I realize in which aspects in life I’ve grown, where I went astray, how I could’ve handled a situation, and just evaluate myself on who I am now, and who I was then based on what I wrote in the past. Seeing our own handwriting makes perceivable sense to things, and helps us guide ourselves in our thoughts, responses, and emotions in the present. Life is a continuous process of remaking ourselves, after all. When we know this, how impossible would it be not to reach prosperity?
Start reading self-help and inspirational books this year, and really digest it all, and apply it to your lives. I cannot imagine how my life would turn out without books. Here are my top 3 picks for you:
- The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
- The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
– Margaret Fuller
20. Learn to take criticisms in a healthy way.
One of the main mantras I have in my life is “Take criticisms seriously, but not personally.” I’m usually a very sensitive person, and I hate getting criticized. But it takes self-control and high-tolerance to make criticisms hurt less. Some people let out criticisms out of concern, and there are just some who are naturally stingy and would just want to relieve themselves from their awful judgments so they feel the need to say it in a very unkind way. If you can be the more open-minded person, then be it. Use these criticisms to improve yourself. You may not want to hear it but there must be something in it that you can learn from. And when people lash out and attack you, just brush it off. Think of them as someone who must’ve had a bad day, and they’re just taking it all out on you. Learn to reply at the right moment, or let go.
Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.
– Abraham Lincoln