The New Year is only weeks away…have you thought about your resolutions? We know what you’re thinking, “Why are you stressing me out when the holidays aren’t even over?!” The good news is that you don’t have to get stressed about them at all. You just have to look at things in a different way.
Many New Year’s resolutions focus on the physical self – losing weight, getting fit, etc. But before we can focus on what we can do for ourselves on the outside, we first need to take a look at what’s inside us.
Our thoughts hold power than you might think. They can dictate the way we act and feel toward a situation, outcome, people, or anything. They can determine whether we can be a good neighbor, a loving parent, or a dear friend. Ultimately, the thoughts we have in our heads have a direct influence on who we are and how we act.
The Limitations of Negativity
We tend to limit ourselves and what we can accomplish through negative thoughts. Just like physical habits such as fidgeting when nervous, we also have mental habits. For example, when we think of undertaking a difficult activity, we might think “I can’t do that. That’s too hard.” These thought habits lead us into a belief that we are incapable.
Fortunately, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs can be overcome. Just as our negative thoughts can dictate how we feel and act, positive thoughts also have this power. If we truly desire to see real change and a better version of ourselves next year, we need not only to change the way we act but also the way we think. Read on to find out how you can make the switch from a negative mindset to a positive one.
Turning Negatives into Positives
1. “Why is this happening to me?”
Positive alternative: “What is this trying to teach me?”
When undesirable events happen in our lives (such as a failing grade, mistakes at work, trouble at home), we often ask ourselves what we did to deserve such bad things to happen to us. It’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of negativity. When we do this, we are already assuming defeat and dismissing the situation as punishment.
But if we ask ourselves what we can learn from a situation, then we can prepare and teach ourselves on what we can do to prevent the same thing from happening again. By analyzing a situation and understanding the lessons to be learned, you are setting yourself up for success in the future. You also avoid blaming and degrading yourself.
2. “Anybody can do what I can.”
Positive alternative: “I am unique, and I have something to bring to the table.”
We often mistake degrading ourselves as humility, but this is not the case. When we invalidate what we can do, we make ourselves believe that our skills and knowledge are at par with everyone and nothing makes us stand out.
But all of us are unique in our own way. We are all capable of amazing things. We may not be aware of these talents, skills, or expertise all the time, but the best way to start realizing them is by stopping the degradation of ourselves.
3. “I’m too old, it’s too late for me.”
Positive alternative: “You’re never too old if you start today.”
At any point in life, we may silently say to ourselves that we’re too old or it’s too late to achieve something. What’s worse is that we allow ourselves to believe these thoughts. They more likely become a safety device or a shield we put up to protect ourselves from judgment or failure.
But no achievement is relative to time. Anyone can achieve their dreams or be successful at any point in their lives. For example, Ray Kroc started his business at age 52 – it’s now known as McDonald’s. Instead of limiting yourself because you’re “too old,” start something right this very moment! Once you start believing there’s still time and that it’s never too late to start, then you’ve already emerged victorious.
4. “I don’t think I’ll ever get things done.”
Positive alternative: “I will get things done.”
When responsibilities pile up, we often feel like we’re drowning, gasping for air. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when there are a thousand things to get done, and we aren’t doing ourselves any favors if we claim that nothing will get done.
During these times, we need to stop and breathe. Then slowly tell yourself that things will get done. Not “can” but ”will.” Declare that you can do it, and you will set yourself up to accomplish the many responsibilities you hold.
5. “I’m all alone. Nobody cares about me.”
Positive alternative: “Who needs my help right now?”
This negative thought is what can be known as “black and white thinking.” This means someone views things strictly as good or bad with no attention to gray areas. Feeling alone in the world is a terrible feeling, and it can certainly be hard to get over. Whether you feel it or not, there are many people who do care about you. They may not express it very well in your opinion, but it doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent.
If possible, focus time and energy on being there for others. It’s been known that helping others induces feeling of happiness and self-fulfillment. Also, when we are there for the ones we love, there is also an opportunity for them to be there for you.
Black and white thinking can be dangerous to positivity. While many things can cause feelings of loneliness, thinking of how you can be there for others can mean a world of difference for you.
6. “This is bound to fail.”
Positive alternative: “I’m going to try.”
Claiming failure even before the start of something sets you up to ultimately fail. You send signals to your brain that discourages you and makes putting in the effort much harder. You unknowingly set up a barrier for yourself.
This thought is a highly limiting belief and could quick-rule one’s life. Instead, approach things with a willingness to try and to hope for the best outcome. The only thing important is that you give it your best shot before you predict the outcome.
7. “I’ll never be good enough.”
Positive alternative: “I have my own journey to walk.”
Often times, we compare our achievements and successes to those of others. This has become even more common with the rise of social media websites. We are the audience of our friends’ posts about achievements and seemingly “perfect” lives, and we sometimes feel inadequate or that we pale in comparison. This leaves us in a sea of self-doubt and in a debilitated state of mind.
However, we don’t know the whole story behind someone’s social posts. Were things really that amazing for them, or are they embellishing? Instead of thinking about others, we need to focus on our own journey, our own path. When we do this, we allow ourselves to only look at our progress and achievements. It also helps us find ways on how to improve ourselves.
8. “I can’t do it.”
Positive alternative: “I’ve overcome tougher things before.”
The word “can’t” is an extremely limiting word. If you say this to yourself, you’ll tend to dismiss yourself even before a single attempt. Saying that you can’t do something is assumptive and underestimates your abilities.
Rather than saying we can’t do something, think of your past accomplishments that involved more difficult challenges than the one at hand. Reassure yourself of your abilities and skills. This will boost your morale and motivate you to overcome the limiting belief. What tough times have you overcome? Think of these the next time you think you can’t do something and remind yourself that you have.
You’ve got this.
The key to busting out of negative thoughts and ridding ourselves from limiting beliefs is to reframe the way we think and how we process certain information. The New Year is a great time to get ourselves on track. When we get into the habit of turning to the positive alternative, we will begin to realize our capabilities and potential to accomplish anything that we set out to do. Let’s allow ourselves to have hope and belief in our own prowess. This coming New Year, let’s commit to reframing our thoughts and viewing things from the right perspective. It will make all the difference.
What will your New Year resolutions be?