CHAMPAIGN -- Jolie Carsten, Clinical Director with Elliott Counseling Group, gives us tips to start the new year off on a positive note.
Entering the New Year with a Positive Outlook
* Recognize that you have the ability to choose your attitude (glass half full or half empty).
* Research shows over 50% of resolutions fail by the end of January.
* Instead of resolutions, choose a mission of increasing your positivity.
* “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
1. Determine your goal for the year with one word.
* This is more effective than resolutions.
* You can then filter your decisions through their alignment with that word.
* Examples: Focus, Positive, Organize, Gratitude, Present, Mindful, Achieve, Joy, Connect, Forgiveness, Peace, Patience, Integrity, Passion, Grow, Determined, Love, Listen, Hope, Strength
2. Start a gratitude journal or jar or wall.
* Write down one thing every day that you are grateful for.
* Make it specific and different each day.
* Put it in a journal or into a jar or on a designated wall.
* At the end of each month review your collection of gratitude.
* When you start feeling negative, think of something you’re grateful for.
3. Say thank you and sorry often and sincerely.
* What we give out to the world is what returns to us.
* Think of every encounter you have with another person as a choice to make a deposit into their piggy bank of self-esteem or a withdrawal from that bank. Aim to leave them with more rather than less.
* There are so many opportunities to make someone’s day with just a simple thank you.
* Holding onto anger is like giving yourself poison. Learn to let go and take responsibility for your mistakes. Saying sorry costs us nothing and can have a great return!
4. Be present in your life: put down your phone and turn off the TV.
* If you’re feeling stressed, you’re likely thinking of the past or future.
* Return to the present to find balance, decrease stress, and increase positivity.
* Connect to people in real time rather than through social media.
* Choose a day for your family to be electronics free. Play games, do crafts, make a new recipe, watch a movie, or do an activity together.
5. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
* We feel disappointment when we set expectations for ourselves that we don’t meet.
* We feel resentment when we set expectations for others that they don’t meet.
* Make sure you are being realistic with your time, money, and emotions.
* Instead of framing it as a failure, see it as an opportunity to adjust your expectations.