How I Maintain Optimism
We know that it is important to see the glass half full or, as I prefer, to see the glass as refillable. There are a lot of positive benefits to being an optimist, not the least of which is that it is healthy for your mind and body, contagious to those around you, and it is tightly linked to goal achievement. After all, it has been shown that 85% of success is linked to attitude (that is a conversation for another blog).
While some people do win a lottery, the overwhelming majority of people don't achieve their dreams just by wishing them true. Luck aside, starting with and maintaining a positive outlook is key to achieving goals. However, being optimistic and maintaining a positive frame of mind isn’t always easy - and can almost be a goal itself.
The reality is that in life we are faced with challenges and tragedy that challenge our ability and strength to be optimistic. If my dog gets run over by a car, in that moment I don’t want to consider (or worse, have anyone suggest to me) that the glass is refillable…that I can just go get another dog…not! (Yes, this has happened to me).
Apart from those rare days when the dog figuratively gets run over, it is possible to condition yourself to being an optimist. Here are 3 tips from my personal tool box:
The power of self-talk is paramount to being an optimist. This is where the cliché "if you dream it, it will happen" does have some validity because if you don't dream about it, it won't happen. Start with positive affirmations, such as “I can do this”. Personally, I have become very conscious to eliminate certain words from my vocabulary such as “try” and “hopefully” and replace them with “I will”.
According to Shawn Achor, expert on happiness, daily journaling can condition your brain to be happy (and therefore more optimistic). In his blog, he recommends daily journaling what you are grateful for, your fun moments, and random acts of kindness. Personally, I have been practicing this habit for over a year, and while it was a challenge to get into the habit, it’s a morning routine that feels as important for my brain as brushing is for my teeth.
I am old enough to remember what it was like before smart phones and the internet. What I remember was that at 5:00 work would be over, and when I left the office I was disconnected. Now, we are connected 24/7 to work and the world. I make a point of having time when I’m completely disconnected. Personally, I like to turn off my phone and go for a walk for at least 30 minutes a day. This little break leaves me refreshed, recharged and feeling positive.
The list of what you can do to maintain your optimism is certainly a lot longer than the 3 suggestions I have shared. The point is to create habits in your life to maintain your optimism – a quality essential for goal achievement.
What do you do to maintain optimism?