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9 habits to make 2015 your most positive year yet

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“It isn’t enough to want a positive attitude,” says Gordon. “To develop and sustain one throughout adversity and challenges, you have to cultivate habits that lead to resilience and mental toughness,” says Jon Gordon, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.

In an excerpt from his book, Gordon offers 9 tactics you can practice in 2015 to gain an edge on your competition.

good listenerBecome a selective listener and focus on the positive. 
You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible, says Gordon, or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible. Yes, this really is a choice you make for yourself every day.

Zoom focus. 
Each day when you wake up in the morning ask, What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire? Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions. “Often, we allow our attention to be captured by each new shiny ball that rolls by, or by each minor fire that needs to be put out, and we end up channeling our time and energy toward tasks with smaller rewards,” Gordon notes.

Watch where you’re directing your energy.  
We all have a finite amount of energy. Don’t waste yours on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts, or things you cannot control. “Instead, invest your energy in your purpose, people, and the positive present moment,” Gordon suggests.

focusFocus on “Get to” vs. “Have to.”
Each day, focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. For instance, think, I get to go to a job that utilizes my talent and strengths and that is full of opportunities, instead of, Ugh—I have to go to work today. “Life is a gift, not an obligation,” Gordon says. “This may seem like an insignificant mental shift, but it will have a noticeable impact on your happiness and satisfaction.”

Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself.
We all know what it’s like for our fears, worries, and what-ifs to completely hijack our minds. These negative trains of thought can hold us back, wreck our self-esteem, and impact our health in a very real way. The good news is, you have the power to change the conversation happening inside your head. “Instead of listening to your complaints, fears, and doubts, talk to yourself and feed your mind with the words and encouragement you need to keep moving forward,” Gordon suggests.

Choose faith instead of fear.
Faith turns adversities and dead-ends into detours to a better outcome than you thought possible, Gordon points out. “That’s not to say you’ll never feel fear—you will,” he comments. “You can use it as a tool to make smart decisions and to manage risk. Just don’t use it as an excuse to quit. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.”

successRemember, there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
This is easy to forget in a world that’s increasingly built around instant gratification. (Think overnight shipping, fast food, video streaming, and more.) “While more and more things are available to us the moment we want them, I don’t think personal and professional success will ever be on that list,” Gordon says. “Don’t forget that there’s no substitute for hard work.”

Implement the “No Complaining Rule.”
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Complaints are full of negative energy and fail to enhance our lives in any way. They don’t offer strategies, solutions, ideas, or encouragement. “If you are complaining, you’re not leading,” Gordon says.

Read more books than you did in 2014.
The more you feed your mind, the stronger and more agile it grows. The more ideas and viewpoints you consider, the more innovative and empathetic you’ll be. “Focus on reading books that help you learn, that inspire you, and that push you to consider life from new, unexplored angles,” Gordon advises.