Positively Positive

It has always been amazing to me …

… how easy it is to pick up words and phrases that are tossed around in society.

It’s funny because I have noticed that often when I first hear one of these words or phrases I don’t even like it; I start using it in a mocking way. Then the next thing I know without even being conscious of it, I’m using the word with regularity. To make it even worse, most of these words carry negative connotations with them especially in the context in which they are used. That isn’t a way to be happier.

Many, many years ago when our oldest offspring (“Thing 1”) was 3 or 4, we were in the living room one evening playing games and just goofing off while the TV was on. It just so happened to be an episode of Seinfeld. It was an episode where they were constantly using the phrase “damn it.” We were busy doing other things, so I really didn’t think anything of it. Until … the next day when our sweet little child was walking through the house saying, yes, you guessed it, “damn it.” Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!

Being infiltrated by negativity?

I tell this story as example of how non-desired things ever so unassumingly enter our lives. One of the things that can infiltrate our lives is negative words and phrases. It goes like this:

  • We hear them

  • We say them

  • We live them (Eww, that hurts!)

We have all experienced a “Negative Nelly” somewhere in our lives. That is someone who is always negative, never has anything nice or good to say. Everything is just awful for them. And they are going to share that with you.

We also know that we never enjoy being around that person because we know that after awhile it affects us and not in a good way.

Yes, Negative Nellies are the extreme cases that really stand out and are obvious, but as with so many things in life, the same phenomenon occurs in much smaller degrees.

So small that often we never notice them. Here are a few of the words I’m talking about:

  • Hard

  • Difficult

  • Disappointed 

  • Offended

  • Can’t 

  • Don’t 

  • Won’t

You can google Enchanted Learning‘ and find a long list of not only negative words but positive words as well. And the positive ones are the ones I’m wanting to talk about here.

Don’t be skeptical. Be pragmatic.

I’m detecting a little skepticism out there so just bare with me.   

We accomplish this by taking small steps every day.
Let me demonstrate: take the words hard and difficult. Remove them from your vocabulary and replace them with the words challenge or challenging. Who wants to do something hard? I don’t, but if you challenge me, it’s game on. Losing that last five pounds is sooo hard, but let someone double dog dare you that there is no way you can lose it and that challenge becomes a goal.

All positive: It changes your attitude and your entire energy level. It can work the same with all of these words:

  • Disappointed – My expectations were too high

  • Offended – Permanently erase with no replacement, it simply means someone else is controlling your thoughts

  • Can’t, Don’t, Won’t – I choose to do something else

To live a happier life, we have to focus on the positive and erase the negative. positive thinkingWe can do this in small steps by simply removing negative words from our vocabulary. Don’t forget that the herd has a way of trying to slowly and unassumingly turn you back to the negatives. Don’t Be a Cow! stay focused on the positive for a happier life!

Take Action: 

Examine your vocabulary.

Find words and phrases with negative connotations and see how you can replace them with positive ones.

Two resolutions that will bring about real, positive change

It’s been a week. How ya doin’?

What I find so comical about New Year’s resolutions is that we spend as much time discussing how long it will be before they are broken as we do the resolutions themselves. It’s almost as if we are setting ourselves up for failure right from the very start.

Now I realize that many of these resolutions are made in fun and probably after too much New Year’s Eve cheer, but let me offer an alternative that may actually bring more happiness and success to your 2020.

My two Resolution Solution

  • Focus on the positive in you and not the negative

  • Make your resolution for a day, not for a year or some arbitrary goal

Too often my resolutions have focused on negative attributes and/or behaviors and not the positive. And, I’m not alone. The list below was from a Google search and the list was from a Time magazine in 2012.

  1. Lose weight & get fit
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Learn Something new
  4. Eat healthier & diet
  5. Get out of debt and save money
  6. Spend more time with family
  7. Travel to new places
  8. Be less stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

And from what I saw this year, nothing much has changed.

This list, or whatever yours may be, are constant reminders of things we are not good at, things we want to improve. I’m all for self-improvement but from a slightly different angle.

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

Why not create a list, and the list may consist of only one thing that you really enjoy doing, something that you do well. Your goal is to develop a plan on how to become better at it.

Develop a plan on how to make it the center of your life. I know there are nay-sayers out there that will come up with all kinds of excuses why that won’t work, but keep in mind the list above is created out of excuses for not doing them in the first place.

Think about it. First, your new list is going to be way shorter 🙂

But, in a way, the list is endless because it could start with new degrees, new careers, new hobbies, new friends, new [fill in the blank].  But, you simply start by believing in yourself. And choose that one thing that’s best fits you!

“Been there. Done that”

In order to help ourselves become more confident, which ultimately leads to believing in ourselves, we need to do the things we are good at. We can discover the things we are good at by starting with the things we enjoy doing. The problem with the run-of-the-mill, “been there/done that” resolutions like the ones listed above is they are simply reminders of our short comings. Who needs that in their life! When we dwell too much on our short-comings, we have a tough time building our self-esteem.

The journey begins with a single step

The second resolution: We are all familiar with the phrase “live life day by day,” but have you ever really tried? (Before I go further, we can take anything to extremes so please believe me when say that I do understand the importance of longer than a day planning and goal setting, but bare with me.)

The importance of daily resolutions stems from the fact that life changes every day. Every day we learn new things, we experience new things, and unexpected things happen. For example, if your resolution is to save more money and on January 3rd you get notified a distant aunt passed leaving you a large sum of money, all of a sudden, saving money may not seem such a big deal. However, making it last for 5, 10, even 30 years will require a plan that will change over time.

Or, you have the resolution to lose weight and you start out well, then you receive some tragic news, and all of a sudden losing that extra 15 pounds isn’t such a big deal anyway. But, perhaps it also is the realization that, life can’t be taken for granted and it’s time to really make getting in shape a goal. That’s when it hits you. Baby steps, one at a time, can lead to big changes. (Granted these are extremes but sometimes I find that when we look at extremes, it shines a little light on the seemingly little, non-assuming things that can have a huge impact over the long term.)

As we start another year, I hope you will look towards your positive attributes and take the time to hone those attributes even more. I also hope you will practice the great theory of living day to day. Trust me. Though it may seem challenging at the outset, but if your goal is to do it “in a year” you have 366 days to practice getting there (well, 355 now … time flies)

Making today the goal:
Put a small note pad next to your bed. When you wake in the morning write a list, and it may be only one thing, that you would like to do that day (and you can wait until you’ve had your morning coffee). Before going to bed, look at your list and see how you did. On the next day make a new list and feel free to repeat things from the list from the day before. Remember to focus your list primarily on things you are good at, and by all means, enjoy.