OK – I’m going to be honest. I like to think that I’m an optimist, but the older I get, the more I think I’m becoming a pessimist. I’m not all and out grouchy yet (and I emphasize the “yet.”) But there are definitely days that my mantra of “this is going to be a good day” more turns into a begging conversation with God to “make this a good day, pleeeeze?” that’s coupled with a sickening pit in my stomach because I don’t want to walk from my car to my office.
That statement just tells me that I need to find another job, but seriously … I do believe that the only person who can control their happiness is the same person that’s wearing their underwear. And usually – that’s going to be you. Unless … well, I’m just going to leave that.
For some odd reason, I received a few sample magazines from one of Martha Stewart’s new publications “Whole Living: body + soul.” I’m finally catching up on some back issues that have been piling up and came across some reader input on how to live positively. Because I’m not too keen yet on finding a new job, I’m going to see how I can incorporate some of these tricks and share a couple other ones that I’ve picked up along the way.
1) Mantras. I already mentioned that I sit in my car and reassure myself that “this is going to be a good day.” I’ve also started training for a 5K along with my sister-in-law and I’ve been finding that mantras are also very useful when one is sweating their arse off on the treadmill. Here’s the scenario – we’re doing a “couch to 5K” program and it involves three 20 minute workouts per week. Let me be blunt – I’m in pretty poor shape right now and even the idea of altering jogging with walking shoots fear directly into my kneecaps. But I’ll be honest – I’m probably in better shape than I give myself credit for and I’m no chicken. I try to put the fear of embarrassing myself on the treadmill high upon a mental shelf and when I think I want to quit, I have a little phrase I like to say to myself. “My legs feel fabulous.” I think it’s the word “fabulous,” but whatever it is – I keep going.
2) Rituals. I learned this one from a family of six whom I adore very greatly and had the opportunity to travel with when I was in college. Dick and Marian have four kids – three of whom are triplets. We traveled to Malta when I was a junior in college – their oldest son was probably 9 and I think the triplets were six. Our friendship remained strong during my senior year of college and even after I graduated, I still got invited to share supper with them. And they had a ritual that they even made guests participate in – right before we all dug in, we had to go around the table and share our worst and best parts of the day. Worst came first and then it was redeemed by the best part. It was a very cool element that I hope my husband and I use when we have kids. It opened the lines of communication and was a great way to start a meal.
3) 3:1 Ratio. This one came from the magazine that I’m reading and bless this person for pulling it off. If this person is confronted with something that went wrong, she’d immediately counter it with three good things. So say you’re driving to work and your tire goes flat. Well, it’s a good thing it’s not raining. See?
4) Writing down the simple pleasures. Again – from the magazine and one that I think I’m going to incorporate. This reader has a journal and each day she records five things that she is grateful for each day. This has had a marked improvement on her attitude.
5) Treat others the way you want to be treated. First and foremost – I’m pretty biased because I think my city has some of the best grocery stores in town, but I love the sense of customer service that my local Hyvee has instilled in their coworkers. They are all uber-friendly, they are so darn polite and even if they don’t feel like smiling at you, they still do. It makes it easy for me to give them a heartfelt thanks when I’m strolling through the checkout, but at the end of the day – people should always be polite to the people they encounter. All it takes is a returned smile to turn a crappy day into a positive experience.
So what does this have to do with debt reduction? Not a whole lot. Thinking positive probably won’t make me rich, but it makes the journey all the better.
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