One of the first and most basic steps to success, be it in relationships, work or your health, is to stop giving so much attention to the negative. It’s absolutely draining! Do you find yourself focusing on all the areas of your body and your life that you don’t love? Do you make it a point to not really love yourself until you have the body you think you need? Are you constantly feeling sorry for yourself, feeling jealous of what others have or using humor to highlight the unwanted weight, unwanted grays or unwanted demands from those around you?
That’s a hell of a lot of work. Think about all of the energy you are giving to the negative; when you look in your mirror, scroll through social media, suffer through work meetings. It becomes so easy to just pick yourself apart and dwell on the highlight reel of everyone else’s life. If you are always focusing on what you think your life could be if you changed a whole bunch of things, you are not only forgetting about the wonderful things you already have, but you won’t have much energy left to change the things you can. While Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t expect to just wake up happy and positive because you double tapped on some deep Instagram quote this morning. It will take time. It will require work. You will have setbacks. But, you will find that as you embrace more of the things you like about yourself and take control over some positive changes, you won’t have as much time to surround yourself with negative thoughts or people.
Here are some “right away” action items that certainly won’t ask too much of you.
- “I hate my arms”. Get rid of that. This month, stop thinking about it, stop obsessing over it and stop talking about it! Just simply removing that sentence from you mouth and mind can help you tremendously. Instead, pick something about you that you do love – your eyes, your legs, your smile, your laugh. Let that be the first thing you see each morning and tell yourself you love that. Everyday. Removing that little bit of self hate and replacing it with a tad more self love will slowly become natural.
- Avoid toxic conversation. We all know those people – friends, coworkers, family. They thrive on gossip and negativity and it’s usually much easier to go along with it than to ignore it. Minutes later, you find you are just as annoyed by something that literally had nothing to do with you prior to this conversation. Talking to negative people is ABSOLUTELY exhausting. Don’t let them have this power over you! If someone you know and/or love is dragging you down, ABORT! You have every right to own your happiness, even if that means faking a run to the restroom mid-conversation. If you have it in you, you can try to turn the chat onto something less stressful and a bit more lighthearted. You’ll be doing both of yourselves a favor.
- Take some action. You can’t expect changes overnight, but you also can’t expect changes if you haven’t actually tried to change! Fitness and nutrition appear to be overwhelming. I promise you that this can’t be further from the truth. The issue most people have with taking control over this area of their life is that it doesn’t happen right away. “So, if I’m going to take an extra hour to prepare a real meal and take 4 days out of the week to exercise, I better drop 2 pants sizes by the end of the month.” Sorry, friends. It doesn’t really work like that. But, the beauty in that plan is if you start to appreciate some home-cooked meals over time and add a few days of the exercise to your weeks, you may start to find your body changing. What WILL change is your attitude. I have yet to work with a client or speak to someone who has started to eat well and move more that has regretted it.
Negativity can actually affect your health! It becomes this obtrusive magnet of cynical perspectives that you start to attract. The adverse feelings erupting when you watch that cute little 18 year old girl flirt with the barista for a free coffee each morning as you impatiently wait for your cold brew will inadvertently direct your attitude on the way into work. Hello, road-rage. It doesn’t stop there. You are not only late and stuck in traffic, but Peter-Procrastinator never got you those files for the 9am meeting. Thoughts? Everyone. Is. Awful. Welcome to the rest of your day.
Now did all of the above suck? Yes. It certainly wasn’t the best way to start your day. But, if you simply change a few different ways you approach these situations, the rest of your morning might not end up so bad. So some cute 18 year old gets a free coffee? Good for her – you were 18 once and one day she’ll be your age. You’ve got plenty to feel blessed about -like a job that pays you enough to buy your own coffee 😉 Traffic? Well, that’s never a good time. But, it is the one time you can keep your phone tucked away and your favorite music on. I find it the best time to think about absolutely NOTHING. Peter Procrastinator may not have gotten you the files. Maybe his wife works the night shift and he had to take his kids to soccer after making dinner. By the time he got home to help them with their homework he passed out on the couch.
You know, maybe Peter is just a procrastinator. That’s not the point. This is about YOU and YOUR ability to make YOURSELF feel better; and if you can use every little opportunity to imagine that things aren’t as bad as they seem, your outlook will slowly shift and the negativity will have no place in your day.