Becoming a more positive and productive person is all about making simple, significant changes in your habits. Sound too much like a New Year’s resolution that’s doomed to fail? It’s not.
You don’t need to master every positive change, all at once, in order to see a difference. Just try one, completely and immediately, and count it a success. Then try it again, or try a different one.
If you’re ready to dive in and make a positive change, here are five habits that could help transform your mind:
1. Get the sleep you need.
Being tired will negatively affect your life in every way: mentally, physically and emotionally. Constant fatigue saps your strength, drains your energy, and blocks your motivation.
Being tired makes it harder to regulate or process your emotions. Your personal relationships can be affected, as can your self-image. When you’re exhausted, a little mistake or momentary lapse can seem like a world-ending failure.
With that in mind, getting the right amount of sleep is one of the best habits to develop. Everyone’s sleep needs will differ, so experiment to find out how many hours you need to feel refreshed.
Once you have figured that out, commit to getting that amount of sleep every night.
When you have found what works for you, stick with it. With the proper amount of rest, you’ll find negative emotions and other bad habits easier to combat.
2. Write it down.
Get into a habit of writing things down. Putting pen to paper can make it easier to hold yourself accountable to your goals, serve as a tangible reminder of positive memories or provide a much-needed source of affirmation.
Keeping and approaching a to-do list or list of goals will help you stay motivated and provide a feeling of accomplishment when you cross an item off. Writing thank you cards for gifts or other thoughtful actions from friends and family could help remind you of your blessings.
Maintaining a journal could provide a much-needed space to reflect and work through your emotions, allowing you to process your feelings rather than letting them run your life. Words or phrases of affirmation – especially when placed on a desk, mirror, nightstand, etc. – can help calm, encourage or motivate you.
3. Learn to let go.
Holding onto baggage only holds us back. Learning to let go of the past can free us to invest more fully in the present, and move on to a more positive future.
Everyone has something that is holding him or her back. If you’re not sure what you need to release, try asking yourself a few questions. Is there a hurtful relationship or a cutting remark that you keep replaying and revisiting in your mind? Do you dwell on mistakes you’ve made or ways you think you’ve fallen short? Do you constantly worry about someone else’s expectations?
Whether by forgiving or forgetting, releasing hurt feelings and past mistakes will remove a large burden from your shoulders. Without that weight, you’ll find yourself free to engage more positively in current relationships and pursuits.
4. Invest in relationships with positive people.
Every relationship changes and influences us, so it’s important to invest in relationships with people who support, challenge and encourage us. If you want to gain a more positive outlook or attitude, surrounding yourself with positive people is a great first step.
As important as it is to invest in relationships with positive people, it’s equally important to recognize when a relationship is negatively affecting you or causing you to become more negative.
A negative attitude spreads like a virus and a negative lifestyle doesn’t just impact that individual. It’s important that you remove yourself from people with negative lifestyles because the trickle-down effects of their choices do have the potential to impact you.
5. Find ways to spread kindness.
Just as our attitude can affect our actions, our actions can affect our attitude.
Try a little experiment: Do something nice each day. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Let someone merge in front of you. Instead of glaring at a family with a crying child, give them a smile. Offer to return a little old lady’s grocery cart in the store parking lot. Say hello to a neighbor.
Acts of kindness can go a long way toward changing our outlook. When you do something nice, you don’t just help another person feel good; you tend to feel good as well.
The more you look for ways to be kind, the more your attitude shifts until you find yourself looking for ways to promote positivity, rather than dwelling on petty complaints.
Again, you don’t have to master all these habits at once. To get started, try picking your favorite one and giving it a try this week. You may be surprised at how quickly your outlook can change.