Warning: if you’re a pessimist, you’ll likely find this blog post cheesy, lame, and I might even lose you as a friend…
Time for a change
While I don’t think I’m firmly entrenched in the pessimists’ camp, I will admit I’ve spent my fair share of time with a less than cheery outlook on things.
There have been occasions in my career when I’ve been told I’m too negative and need to be more of a cheerleader for my team, my partners, my coworkers, and my managers.
If I’m honest with myself, my personal friends might even agree that I’m a bit too negative at times.
Of course, my standard response is, “I’m a realist, not a pessimist.” 🙂
Well, I’ve decided I’m going to try optimism and positivity on for size.
Over the past few months, three things have come to light for me.
First, I know more than a few people who tend to have a pessimistic and negative attitude toward things, people, and situations. I find it depressing, frustrating, and quite frankly, tiring. So, I got to thinking…
I guess that’s how my own negative and pessimistic attitude makes other people feel too? Hmm. That’s not good. I should stop that.
Second, I’ve put a lot of effort recently into changing the way I approach goal setting, behaviour, and habits. I’ve come to truly understand that one of the most critical success factors in achieving a goal lies in building new, consistent, and productive behaviours that transition into being automatic and unconscious habits over time.
Building a new habit, especially for a task you find difficult or unpleasant, is really hard! Particularly because it takes (in my opinion) not 21, not 66, but more like 100 days of doing that unpleasant thing consistently before it becomes automatic.
If you approach that new unpleasant task from a negative or pessimistic perspective, how likely are you to keep doing it for 100+ days? Not very likely.
However, if you “make friends with the pain” and approach the unpleasant task from a positive and optimistic viewpoint, you have a FAR better chance of keeping it up for the long haul.
You’re sure to go through peaks and valleys of motivation, but with a positive attitude it’s more likely you’ll climb out of the valleys with enough momentum to keep going.
And third, it turns out the world does actually look better through rose-coloured glasses. Ok, maybe I’m not quite up to THAT level of optimism, but I do find that when I’m successful in simply choosing a positive attitude over negative, things just seem happier and less of a drag.
So, in the spirit of walking the walk, I’m striving to maintain a positive attitude.
I can speak from recent personal experience that my newfound positive attitude has helped me form new habits out of behaviours that I used to find dreadful.
Behaviours like eating salad instead of french fries, skipping dessert, doing mind-numbing tasks at work, or flossing my teeth everyday are no longer as much chores as they are opportunities for personal improvement.
Yes, I used to despise flossing my teeth. Weird, I know.
And, 3 months into my new somewhat healthier eating habits, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and am more than halfway to my first weight loss goal.
The pessimist negative me of olde struggled with building better habits.
Obviously, success requires more than just a positive attitude
To be clear, I’ve also implemented a few other strategies to help me build new habits and achieve my goals faster and easier than before.
For example, on the days that I take 5 minutes at the end of the day to jot down a quick “status update” on my progress, I find that I’m constantly more mindful of the goals, habits, and positive attitude required for success.
The act of journaling my progress is really working for me. On the days I take the time to journal, I tend to stay focused and disciplined. And on the days I don’t journal, I lose focus, procrastinate a bit more, and make less progress toward my goals.
If you question the value of journaling, read this article from Huffington Post: 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal
I built myself a tool to help: MyDreamboard
I decided to build myself an app to help with goal setting, motivation, and habit building. It’s called, MyDreamboard. It’s not super fancy, but it’s really working for me.
I’m keen to see whether it works for anyone else. If you’re interested, feel free to sign up and try it out yourself (it’s free).
I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas. As long as they’re positive, of course. 😉