One of my main goals in starting Lifestyled You was to remind people that while external events/circumstances/people can feel pretty ugly and negative at times, you still have the power to make whatever you desire out of yourself and your personal environment.
In other words, we may not be able to control everything, but we do have ownership of ourselves, our space, and our thoughts. If there is something about your self or your life that you are unhappy with, change it! Of course, that is much easier said than done in certain situations, and there are definitely external people in your life (kids, husband, parents, etc.) as well as social pressures and standards that come into play when making bigger, life-changing decisions like quitting a job or moving across the country. However, as a basic concept, you do have the final say in anything relating to your self, and I think it’s easy to forget that sometimes.
Therefore, I wanted to give you a list of 5 reminders for creating a positive and strong mindset for your self heading into the new year.
1.) You Can Say No
I think this is one of the most common traps that people fall into that results in feelings of unhappiness, annoyance, or regret. I remember being in about 8th grade when I realized that I could actually just say, “no, I don’t feel like doing that” instead of making up some white lie or excuse in order to spare someone’s feelings, or end up doing something I really didn’t want to do.
Just because you don’t feel like meeting a friend downtown for lunch today doesn’t mean you don’t want to be their friend anymore. Maybe you just need a day at home by yourself. You shouldn’t feel badly about that, and a good friend will understand that. Maybe you are being pressured to plan and execute your child’s classroom Christmas party but you feel like you have too much going on right now. You can actually tell them no, to find someone else to do it. It won’t mean that you don’t love your child or that you are a bad mom, it just means no, not this time.
It is your choice to feel badly after telling people no. Most of the time, they won’t even care or think twice about it – and if they do, that’s their problem which you have no control over anyway. What you DO have control over, is to say no to things that aren’t going to work for you or your life right now so that you enable yourself to live a well-managed day that you feel good about. No one should feel guilty about that!
2.) Abstain from the News
This is a controversial topic in my family. We range from my mom who watches the News for hours a day, to myself who watches the news well, never, lol. I can literally see my mom become agitated and angry while watching the News, blood pressure certainly rising, however, she does know almost everything that is going on in the world and can make her own commentary about basically any issue you ask her about. I live on the complete opposite end of the spectrum where I choose to be “blissfully ignorant.” Now, many see fault in this method, and I can see all of your points, but honestly, I think my day is better because of it.
Basically, I rely on my husband to share important news and current events with me, but I don’t actively go out seeking to hear about all the nastiness and cruelty that is happening in the world. There are some stories that Dan starts relaying to me and I have to tell him to “just stop, I don’t want to hear any more about this.”
Yes, there are a lot of things going on that can affect our lives that we should be aware of, but there is SO much that just doesn’t. Its only true impact is that we hear about it and it pisses us off or makes us sad, and to me, that’s just unnecessary.
Wherever you fall on this spectrum, I only recommend that you ask yourself this: Does watching the News, reading this article, etc. make me feel powerfully informed or really upset? If it is making you upset or causing you anxiety, consider taking a break from it. What news topics are truly important to you and what can you steer clear of?
3.) You Are Important Too
While this seems like a “duh” kind of statement, it is something that I feel so many people forgo for the sake of others. If you happen to be someone who has kids, a spouse, pets, maybe an ill relative or friend in crisis, chances are likely you are caring for all of those things before caring for yourself. Yes, doing things for others is part of life, but keep in mind that you are a person who needs caring for too. You won’t be any good to any of those people if you neglect to take care of yourself.
This may mean physically taking care of your health by giving yourself the ability to eat properly, the time to exercise, or allowing yourself to get enough sleep each night. It may mean mentally giving yourself space to decompress and relax in a healthy way. It could be doing something a little special for yourself that you don’t typically indulge in. Just keep in mind that you are important too!
4.) Maybe It’s Not That Bad
It’s all relative, right? It’s why the term “first world problem” has come into such popularity when talking about our frustrations or issues. In the larger picture, something “terrible” that happens to you could feel like absolutely nothing at all to someone else by comparison. The way situations affect us depends on so many things, but in theory, you have the ability to control your thoughts and emotions in relation to any event.
My friend got me hooked on a podcast which discusses this exact concept – I did not make this up on my own. Basically, a neutral event occurs – this is something that cannot be disputed or argued or seen any other way – ie. my kid just threw up. This is not in your control, there isn’t anything you could have done to change this, kids just barf sometimes. However, your thoughts about this event, and therefore your emotions and proceeding actions, ARE in your control. So you could think, yeah, kid barfed, it happens, oh well, clean it up, and move on with your day, OR you could get angry and yell at them because they threw up in their bed instead of the bathroom or trash can and now you feel annoyed because you have to wash their sheets and you don’t have time for this right now, and now you are pissed off and stressed, ahhhh!
You have the power to react to any event in any way you choose. It can be difficult to identify and change your patterns at first, but once you realize how much control you have over your mindset and your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, you can really change the way you live and the relationships you have with others. So when something happens that you instantly view as negative or if you have unpleasant thoughts or emotions surrounding a circumstance, ask yourself how you might be able to re-direct yourself down a more positive path, you’ll be glad you did!
5.) Just Do It
Procrastinating is something I find myself doing on occasion, as does everyone to some degree I’m sure. It’s a topic I feel is always good to think about every so often in order to maintain a healthier mindset throughout the year. Things I like to remind myself in regards to procrastinating:
If I am continuing to put this off repeatedly, do I truly need to do this task anyway? For example, perhaps an acquaintance really wants to get together for lunch, or schedule a play date for your kids. If you’ve put off setting a date over and over again, maybe you just don’t need this person in your life right now and you should stop trying to force it. You don’t need to be friends with everyone and maybe your procrastination towards doing something with this person should tell you, you just aren’t that into them! (Kind of relates back to the “saying no is ok” idea.)
If it is something that cannot be ignored, just do it, you are always happy you got it over with! For me, things like scheduling doctor appointments, getting my oil changed, going through the mail, and shopping at Costco all falls into this category. The things that inevitably need to happen should just be done so then you can move on instead of stewing about the fact that you still have to do it. The more things you check off the mental to-do list, the better you will feel.
It probably won’t take as much time as you think, otherwise, break it down into smaller steps. I feel like often people procrastinate a task because it seems too overwhelming or exhausting. Many tasks don’t actually take as much time or effort as you are imagining. Again, for me it is sorting through the mail. It feels so massive because I might need to take action on so many things I’m about to open up, but in reality, it’s mostly junk that can be thrown out, a few things might need to be filed, and I might have one action items to tackle. It’s not that bad, lol. If your task is really big like, deep clean the entire house, you need to break it up into manageable steps over several days.
This is literally the objective behind my 7 Day Fresh Year – Fresh Home – Fresh You Challenge. It is designed to take the overwhelm out of purging, cleaning, and re-organizing your home by spreading it out over several days and breaking it down into a step-by-step process. In the end, you will have a refreshed home and a refreshed mind heading into 2019.
~ Takeaway ~ Heading into the New Year, I encourage “Stay Aware of my Mindset” to be at the top of your resolutions list. So much of the “positivity vs. negativity” in our life is driven simply by what we allow ourselves to think, and therefore feel. The above list gives you some tips on how you can employ a more positive and healthful mindset that might change the way you react to circumstances coming your way in 2019.