Some people remain sunny and pleasant even when faced with severe adversity. Others seem to be trapped under a cloud of gloom all the time. Most of us, myself included, are in the middle, generally in a good mood, but sometimes not.
In addition to my publishing goals this year, I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution: to become more positive. For one thing, it feels better to be optimistic and upbeat, than to be pessimistic, irritated, or worried. And it really all comes down to attitude and choice.
An example: sometimes when I go to the grocery store, the lines are long, the checker is slow, and I’m impatient to get on my way. By the time I reach the checkstand, I’m irritated. Other times, the lines are long, the checker is slow, and I grab a magazine from the rack and pass the time relaxed and entertained. Nothing has changed except my attitude and my actions, but the experience when I have a positive attitude is much more pleasant.
The other reason a positive mindset is important is because it affects one’s success. If you focus on what can go right instead of what can wrong, you are apt to aim higher and take more risks than someone who figures why bother, it won’t work. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” To achieve big things, you need to strive for big things, and that requires a belief big things are possible, and that takes a positive attitude.
Self-help books often refer to the de-motivating “negative tapes” running through people’s heads, like, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” I’m not attractive enough,” etc. I didn’t think I had such tapes, until I set some ambitious goals, and then doubts crept in: “Can I do this?” “That’s awfully ambitious,” and “It probably won’t work,” and “I’ll have to change what I’m doing to achieve that. I don’t want to change.”
If you repeat a negative thought to yourself often enough, you start to believe it. And once you believe it, it affects your actions and decisions. I’ve often told myself (and other people), “I’m a technophobe.” I’ve procrastinated doing things I should because I didn’t think I could figure out the technology required or didn’t want to. I put off doing a newsletter until three years ago because I’d heard MailChimp was squirrelly and didn’t want to deal with it. There were modifications I wanted to make to my website, but I was afraid to install a plugin.
I hate to say I’m pleased to say I did figure out MailChimp (it was a little squirrelly at first, but I did it!) and installing plugins are ridiculously easy.
In 2017, I did quite a few “techy” things and discovered they weren’t hard at all. I guess I’m not such a technophobe.
So in 2018, I resolve to become more positive. In practice this will mean:
- I will approach challenges with optimism and believe my goals are achievable.
- I will not allow fear of the unknown to make my decisions or influence my actions.
- Whining stops now. I will play “the game” by the rules in place, and not complain that they are unfavorable to me. (It is a frequent author pastime to bitch about Amazon, Facebook advertising, etc.).
- When a problem does occur, rather than complain, I will take action to fix it. If it can’t be fixed, I will accept it and move on.
- I will celebrate the small successes and milestones. I will become my own cheerleader.
- I will avoid negative experiences and people to the extent that I can to prevent being influenced.
I’m on my way…