Forget New Years Resolutions

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Happiness comes from within. Sounds so cliche, right? But it’s true. Look at a child. Their joy for life is really simple. I’m telling you that happiness is a choice. You don’t need new years resolutions, you need a shift in focus.

What you focus on, is what you increase. This is common knowledge in the field of child development. We tell parents all the time that you must focus on the behavior you want to increase, not the one you want to decrease. As long as it’s safe to do so (they are not going to harm themselves, others or property) ignore the bad behavior and focus on the good. Praise the positive. “I love the way you just shared with your friend!” You will get more of the behaviors that you praise.

It’s the same in our own lives. Focus on the negative and that is all you’ll see. We all have negatives and positives. It’s what you focus on that determines if you feel satisfied or not. For example, I could focus on not making as much money as I feel I should be at this point in my career, the things I don’t have and be miserable all the time because compared to my wealthier friends and family, my life is sad. I could see it that way.

Or I could choose to focus on the fact that I do a job that I love, that I have ample time with my family. That I have a husband and children that I love. I could feel good that I make an adequate amount of money to provide my children what they need and a lot of what they want. If I need a comparison, I could find many people much worse off than I. If I look at life this way, I am indeed blessed and I see it and I feel it.

When my focus is on the positives, those are what I invest in, think about and put effort into, therefor making those things even better. When my focus is on the negative, I become a negative person. You all know them. The ones who never have a positive word to say about anything. And nothing is ever their fault. The world is against them, other people are evil and nothing ever works right. It’s a very rare person who truly has no positives to look at. But if you only look at the negatives and complain all the time, you can drive the positives away. People feel drained by those who only complain and tend to avoid them.

Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t reach out when you need help or that you shouldn’t let others know when things are rough with you. But when you see every day through the lens of “poor me” it affects your mood and how those around you perceive you. Indeed, those people who will listen and help you are your support system, your tribe and you should feel grateful and appreciative to have them!

What I am saying is that you should count your blessings daily! Even if you feel like things are bleak and you have few blessings. Count those few and make a plan on how to begin to improve the rest. Life will still knock you down, but you get back up and keep finding the positives! I could not live any other way. And trust me, I’ve been knocked down again and again. But if I did not have the outlook I have, I would have given up long ago. I’m so very glad that I didn’t!

A positive mental attitude isn’t just a pop culture catch phrase. It’s a necessity!

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