Make 2017 count with a positive mental attitude in ten steps
Positive mental attitude. It’s a concept that’s been around for ages and, applied correctly, it really can help us to approach life in a whole new way. What better way to get the very most out of 2017?
The phrase ‘positive mental attitude’ was first coined by self-help pioneer Napoleon Hill way back in 1937. And it describes a style of thinking that encourages optimism by eliminating ‘can’t-do’ thoughts and creating a success-oriented mindset. The good news is, thinking in a more positive way not only makes us happier, it can help us to cope better with those daily challenges like juggling work and home life or meeting the never ending demands of our offspring.
And if you’re sceptical, consider this: research shows that positive thinkers are better at handling stress, score higher on achievement tests and are even less prone to diseases. So start positive thinking right now by applying our top ten steps…
1. RECOGNISE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Negative thoughts are easy to spot when they pop into your head: “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”. They’re usually accompanied by a sinking feeling and emotions like frustration or sadness. Next time you face a challenge, look out for these toxic thoughts – identifying them is the first step to freeing yourself of them.
2. RATIONALISE AND CHALLENGE
Respond to negative thoughts with questions, like “Why can’t I do this?” or “Who says I’m not good enough?” Take a moment to interrogate negative thoughts and you can often find a way to resolve the issue: “I think I can’t attend my daughter’s school play because I have a meeting with my manager and he might question my commitment if I ask to postpone it – but he has kids too, so he’ll probably understand. And my company is always emphasising the importance of work-life balance.”
3. QUESTION THE PRICE OF NEVER TRYING
Ask yourself this question: “What if I don’t?” If you never try, you could miss out on a golden opportunity. And will avoiding a risk really put you in a better position? Rather than focusing on the fear of failure, use the fear of never achieving success – and make that your motivation.
4. OWN YOUR FAILURES
We’re all human and we all fail from time to time. But it’s all too easy to exaggerate our failures in our mind and get things out of perspective. And that can be enough to put us off new challenges. Try turning the problem on its head and it can seem less daunting. If you’re being asked to discuss why things have gone wrong, see it as an opportunity to explain why you took the steps you did and why you felt at the time it was the right thing to do. Remember – failure in itself is not such a bad thing – it’s simply another opportunity for you to learn from experience and excel!
5. BE GRATEFUL FOR FAILURE
The great inventor Thomas Edison, who spent years perfecting the light bulb, once proclaimed: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It might sound strange, but failure is an important part of your positive mental attitude. Learn to embrace it. Develop a strategy for bringing yourself through it and make resistance to failure a part of your character. Remember – failure is often just one essential step to success (ask Thomas Edison).
6. SAY POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Rather than focusing on people’s faults, make a real effort to see their strengths and be sure to comment on these. You’ll make others feel good – and that will make you feel good too. It also means they’ll be far more likely to see your good points and say positive things about you. Win-win!
7. CREATE A POSITIVE INNER VOICE
Find quotes that inspire you, even if they’re as simple as “You can do it!” The next time you face a challenge, tell yourself these quotes. You don’t have to believe them right away – just keep repeating them and drown out any negative thoughts. Make an effort to encourage, motivate and congratulate yourself. Do it often and you’ll soon be feeling more positive.
8. FIND THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR
Success breeds success. Get into the habit of reminding yourself of past wins, instead of remembering failures. Savour success, too. Remember the elation and sense of accomplishment you experienced, the gratitude and congratulations you received, and call on this when you need motivation.
9. USE POSITIVE MENTAL IMAGES
Sports stars use mental visualising techniques to help them excel. They imagine the perfect free kick or golf swing before they take the shot or hit the ball. We can apply the same technique when we imagine a challenging scenario we may be about to face. Visualise the scene in your mind in as much detail as possible; make it the best it could be, and you’ll feel more confident, relaxed and happy when it comes to it.
10. DON'T JUST APPLY A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE TO ONE THING
A positive mental attitude isn’t just something you use now and then. It’s something you develop and transfer to all parts of your life. So don’t switch it off when you go home, on the weekends, or at social affairs.
Whatever you may be planning to achieve in 2017, we aim to inspire you and help you make the most of the possibilities open to you. For more inspiration on how to #Make2017Count, why not look at our other articles, and don’t forget to share your plans for 2017 with us on Twitter and Facebook.
First published 19/01/2016, updated 05/01/2017