“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.” ~Henry Moore
Each year people make and break their new year resolutions – perhaps because they focus too strongly on negatives. Give your New Year resolutions a positive splash with positive resolutions to focus on today, in the new year and everyday of your life.
It’s easy to look at the negatives. Many people are approaching the New Year with lesser money, an inflated body and a soul battered by stress and family disagreements. In your mind, the coming year looks like a year of uncertainty for all and trouble for many, especially you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. How can you make your New Year resolutions stepping stones to a positively brighter and happier year ahead?
To start off, you can resolve to approach them positively. Negativity hurts. It drains your ability to get things done and makes you doubt everything, even yourself. When you repeatedly tell yourself or others that there’s no point in trying, that the world is out to get you and others are against you, you create the conditions for hostile, damaging relationships and unproductive days ahead.
Negativity also makes others avoid you. Friendship, opportunity and success literally takes a back seat from those who are overly negative.
So avoiding negativity should be your number one resolution for LIFE. But how do you do it?
Ten Positive Resolutions
First, approach every situation looking for a way forward. Nobody has to abandon realism and go around wearing rose-coloured glasses. Positive thinking doesn’t deny what is wrong or unhelpful, but instead looks for ways to transform the situation. So resolve that you will always look for a way forward, however difficult the situation.
For instance, if you are worried about being laid off at work, or about having to lay off a staff member, you should look at what skills you/they have that will be useful to new employers. How can those skills best be presented? Is there an opportunity for coaching or mentoring, to help with job searches and interviews? Offer yourself and others ways to move on from difficult situations, and you’ll see positive results.
1) Resolve to Be Honest and Respectful
Resolve to be honest, because dishonesty is always negative – but be honest in a positive way. Say what you truly mean, but keep it based on fact. Avoid personal comment and gossip. Speak well of others whenever possible, and speak well of yourself too.
Respect others enough to assume that they mean well unless there is evidence to the contrary. For example, if someone makes a negative or dismissive remark about your work, don’t take it personally and fire off a negative snappy response. Instead, think about the remark for a moment, and see if there is anything you can learn from it. Let the other person know that you appreciate their being so open with you, but say calmly that you found their approach very confrontational. (Some people are genuinely unaware that they come across as aggressive.)
Being positive doesn’t mean you are a doormat – it means you are a strong person who can assess the meaning of someone’s words without being distracted by their mode of expression.
2) Resolve to Be a positive role model
Resolve to make yourself a positive role model for others. Be the person who always looks for the good in others, points out their skills and acknowledges their contributions. Speaks to them as you would like to be spoken to, and don’t allow the negativity of others to draw you into a destructive game of tit-for-tat.
3) Resolve to Avoid Assumptions
Treat situations the same way you intend to treat people. Whether it’s a family argument or a situation at work, don’t just steam in making snap judgments and assigning responsibility. Take a moment to assess the situation, ask questions and find out what’s really happening. Make sure you understand before you act. Think with love and negative assumptions will never crop up.
4) Resolve to Be Forgiving
We’re all going to make mistakes. It’s the way we learn. Think of how mothers deal with babies – small children need to be encouraged to try things again and again, testing out different methods, being gently encouraged until they master the skills of standing, walking, sorting shapes and so on. Adults are no different. Even if things are clearly explained and support is provided, there will be mistakes. Forgive mistakes - including your own. Make sure you and everyone involved understands why they happened, and don’t use them as sticks to beat others. That way you’ll support everyone’s creativity and build love and trust in your relationships with those around you.
5) Resolve to Be Trusting
Learn to trust in the choice or decision to make a change. Practice respect for the confidentiality of decisions and choices. It is often important not to tell everyone about a New Year’s resolution right away. Maintain a safe space for the change by holding its ember tenderly in the heart for a while. It will be clear when the time for sharing is right.
6) Resolve to let Beginner’s Mind Emerge
Be open to new ideas on how to accomplish desired changes. Allow the mind to relax and be open to approaching a change in new and fresh ways. Let spontaneous ideas and insights emerge. Think about other goals and successes that have been achieved? What fueled those successes? Are there new and innovative ways of achieving this goal that have not yet been tried?
7) Resolve to Be Accepting
Fix what is broken and don’t fix what ain’t. Somethings may have to wait until after the holidays, but I have spent the last few months replacing all my old and terrible appliances that never did work properly. Many small electronics were over ten years old and I decided I was no longer going to fight the electric cord, antenna, door latch, lint filter or whatever else brought irritation into my otherwise calm existence. I also learned to live with that which was comfortable like an old pair of shoes, my favorite beat-up chair and limited pre-paid cell phone service. Acceptance is key to success and happiness.
8 ) Resolve to Surround yourself with Positivity
Keep in the company of positive people. Book stores are always brimming with happy people. I have never seen an unhappy face that was out shopping early in the morning for fresh produce. Religious places are always happy during off-hours, mid-week and when attended by desire and not obligation. Positive situations and positive people, make your vibrations go higher. Even if you have had a bad day, a few minutes surrounded by this kind of positivity can uplift you to no measure. Add one positive act, event or person to your day, everyday.
9) Resolve to Be Productive positively
It is very easy to get off track when a crises or problem arises that we feel must be addressed. By making a mission statement for yourself you will be more apt to stay the course during any trial. For example producing work which is edifying to yourself and others only. Money is important, but we have all learned the hard way during the “pay later heyday” that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush and that quality and sustainability are more important than quantity and risk. Passion will raise your productivity positively.
10) Resolve to Give and Receive Self Acknowledgment
Look for ways to authentically acknowledge the inner self. Practice the art of supporting specific achievements in growth. Applaud when small successes are achieved on the journey toward realizing a goal or a New Year’s resolution. It doesn’t take a lot of fanfare. Simply say quietly to the inner mind, “Wow, great job”!
Using the Ten Resolutions Everyday
You can apply these resolutions – to any situation in your life everyday!
Maybe you resolved to lose weight last year and were unsuccessful. This year, look at the positive, not the negative. Instead of focusing on ‘losing’, look at your diet and lifestyle and decide on a couple of changes that will make you healthier and help you have more energy. You might resolve to replace sweetened drinks with water and walk or cycle to work at least two days a week. Respect yourself and be honest – don’t kid yourself that you can change your body without changing your lifestyle a little. Don’t assume that you will fail – find out about different ways of approaching the issue and work out why you didn’t succeed and what might help you this time. Forgive yourself for not being a size six, or whatever, and understand what would be a realistic goal in terms of your own health and lifestyle.
There are many wonderful lifestyle and attitude guides, but none of them can help you unless you resolve to approach your life positively. Every person has untapped ability and potential that can be released with the support of positive thinking.
This year, resolve to banish negativity and help yourself to a truly Happy New year and New Life.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you made any positive resolutions for the new year and a new life? Share your thoughts and your resolutions in the comments below.
Note: This is an article I wrote 2 years back…but is still amazingly relevant to ring in the new year.
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
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