Become an optimist in thirty days
Are you inclined to have negative thoughts?
Do you worry more than you need to?
Are you stuck in a downward spiral of destructive beliefs?
This technique of positive motivation can have remarkable results.
In my experience of working with people who are trying to change their thought patterns, the first thirty days are the turning point, and if they can keep to the regime for ninety days then the new habit becomes fixed, and it’s less probable that they will slip back into old thought processes.
Keep a daily diary.
The following simple exercise is a very powerful way of changing your thoughts: Keep a daily diary. It can be any sort of notebook, but something which is attractive to look at, is in a bright colour, or has positive photographs or illustrations on it is a good start. This all helps you have more positive motivation.
Starting on day one begin noting from first thing in the morning what is positive in the day.
If something negative or unpleasant happens then accept that it is simply part of our learning experience. Look for the half full rather than the half empty.
Consider what you have learned from that experience.
Write up this diary every day for thirty days. You should then begin to notice a difference in the focus of your thinking to a more positive motivation.
Look for the lesson in everything which you find difficult or a challenge. It is not the challenges that are they problem but how we deal with them.
Adult or child behaviour?
Are you responding with adult or childlike behaviour? Do you feel bitter at what fate is giving you, or find a way to live with it as positively as possible.
Do you go into childlike blame: ‘It’s not fair’ or ‘why me?; syndrome. Feeling angry at the world in general, and individuals in particular, for what has happened to you. It all comes down to where you put your focus.
When writing your daily diary focus on what was positive. For example: ‘When I woke the sun was shining, it was a beautiful day,’ or ‘When I woke it was raining, we are so lucky in this country to have rain, and not have to worry about drought’ or ‘it was raining this morning and it meant I was able to get on with my work, and not feel tempted to go outside.’ All a more positive motivation.
The learning message.
If we find challenges then we write what we have learned. ‘My boss gave me a hard time this morning for not finishing that report, she was quite right, I needed that reminder to motivate me to finish it, and do it properly. I am learning to do my reports on time, and not always leave it until the last minute when I end up making mistakes.’
‘I asked my son to collect some shopping on his way home. He took longer than I had expected, but he got everything I asked for. I am learning to be less impatient with people who take longer to do things than I would.’
‘One of my close friends has let me down by passing on confidential information to someone else. I felt let down, but recognize that she didn’t do it deliberately or maliciously, she is just no good at keeping secrets. I have learned that while she will still be my friend, I will not tell her anything which I don’t want others to know.’ Focusing on a very positive motivation.
A success story
While running a workshop, one member of the group, Jim, who was particularly negative, always focusing on the problem, never the solution, agreed to keep a diary for one month. The following month, when I revisited the group for one to one sessions, they all told me what a difference there was in Jim, and just wait until I saw him.
When he entered the room even his posture had changed, he looked much more confident, and he smiled, for the first time that I had seen. He told me that he had found keeping the dairy very interesting. At the beginning he had to look very hard for positive things to write down, but as his brain began to adjust its focus he found more and more things to write about.
He said he felt completely different, and agreed to keep writing up the diary for another two months to reinforce the message. He was so keen that he said he was perfectly happy to continue indefinitely, just to be on the safe side.
I have experienced many such shifts in people's outlook over the years and know that for people who are willing to make the change it works.
However, there are always the others who resist having positive motivation Some are fearful of change and actually enjoy their negativity. Those who say ‘I will start next week, I will have to buy a notebook’ - and don’t. Who say ‘I am not very good at this kind of thing, is there nothing else you can do?’
These are the people who want someone else to do the work for them, and give them the quick fix solution. I don’t believe that keeping a diary for four weeks in order to change how you view life - for the better - is too much hardship for anyone who really has the intent to change.
Return to Health and wellbeing