By Molly Shea
I’ve come to value the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The racing pace of Christmas is behind us and the new year dawns up ahead. It’s a neat time, suspended between two eras. It’s nice to muse on the events of the past year, the changes and how they’ve shaped us. The unknown of the upcoming year is exciting and while some things are already planned, there are still surprises to be had.
This year I’ve been given a golden opportunity. I’ve been assigned the task of writing a blog post about anything I want. Since I’m already in a contemplative mood, it’s the perfect chance to reflect and dig deep. What do I want from 2019? More importantly, how am I going to get there?
Every morning–okay, most mornings–I take a few minutes to write in my journal. I put down a few thoughts, maybe work out something that had been bothering me the day before, and generally ease into my day. This past week I began each morning addressing the aforementioned questions. One day I took some time and focused in on my plan for 2019. I actually researched goal setting and created a goal that is specific, timely, and measurable. The author of the article I read would be proud. The following morning I performed a stream of consciousness and wrote down several words that came to mind. The next morning I dissected my goal into three separate pieces and made three smaller plans that would result in the accomplishment of my goal. My point is–I put some serious thought into it this year.
Then I went about my business. When I came back to it, I realized that while mapping out the steps to success for myself was an exercise in deliberate concentration and focus (something I sometimes desperately need) it wasn’t what was going to make 2019 (and perhaps the rest of my life) a smashing success.
The truth is, it’s my mindset when approaching those challenges that will make or break me. We cannot control many things that will happen to us, but one thing we can control is our reaction to those things. I’ve been listening to several podcasts and even an audiobook on mindset and the power of positive thinking; I’ll share some with you at the end of this post. It may sound cheesy, but I tell ya it works.
Positivity is highly underrated but extremely powerful. Negativity is extremely powerful as well. I’m sure we’ve all around a negative person that can’t see a single good thing in any given situation. When that person is complaining about things, a toxic environment is created. You can actually watch people around the complainer seem to physically droop, or even become angry alongside the complainer; it’s contagious.
Positivity is also contagious, though. Being around a positive person can also make things seem a bit brighter, a little less awful. I’m going to choose positivity in my journey because to me, it simply feels better. When I feel better, I’m a better person and more equipped to do better things.
This sweet cartoon smacked me upside the head recently. When journaling the other morning, I found myself writing a list of “have-tos” and “don’t forgets”. This can happen sometimes when there’s a lot on my plate as the words I write directly reflect how I feel.
When I reread what I had written, the words came back sounding whiney and full of complaint and extremely NEGATIVE. Worse than that, I actually felt more pressure after reading them! So, I decided to take the opportunity to change my approach. This was the first draft:
I didn’t go to the gym last night or this morning. I ate several cookies last night. My PMS symptoms have been going on for days. I have to repeat some fertility testing that has expired. I have a blog to finish. I have to work today.
Relaxing start to my day, right? Even rereading it now, I feel a knot clench tighter in my chest. That way of looking at things was NOT going to help me enjoy my day nor was it going to support me and assist in my helping my patients at work. So, I began a second draft.
I rested my body last night and I’m writing instead of deadlifting this morning. I enjoyed some sweet treats last night after prepping and prelogging my food for both yesterday and today. I still get my period. I’m going to ensure success in having children by repeating some testing. I’m about to publish my first blog. I’m able to work today.
This exercise only took a few moments but it changed the direction of my day. I felt in control of my decisions and the consequences associated with them. By using the opportunity to change my mindset, I succeeded in making good choices over the course of the day. Instead of setting traditional resolutions this year, I’m going to strive to work on my overall mindset. I’m choosing to acknowledge the things I’m not great at and to get better at them. I’ll practice self evaluation by making a list of things that I could use some work on. I’ll recognize and utilize opportunities to work on them.
So, I guess I wanted to share a practice that has positively shaped my life with all of you. What have you been doing that helps you? I wanted to tell you my plan for 2019 to get it out into the universe and for you to keep me accountable. I’m going to forge on ahead into this new year, addressing my plans with a determined, supportive, positive mindset. I won’t ever be perfect but I’ll sure as hell be positive.
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds David Goggins