In August 2017, I challenged myself to maintain a positive attitude throughout the month, towards people, situations, events, challenges and decisions, and to find a positive spin on everything that happens. These are the ‘rules’ I set myself, in more detail:
- Be positive, kind and accepting towards people.
- Be positive about all situations that arise, as though I had chosen them.
- Find a positive side to anything negative that happens.
- Be positive about decisions I make, even if it turns out they may not have been the best decision.
- Be positive about myself.
- Spread positivity when interacting with others.
- Forgive your own mistakes and those of others; give people the benefit of the doubt.
- Go beyond positive – be excited, happy, joyful and appreciative.
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This is the evaluation I wrote at the end of the challenge:
This has been a powerful challenge, and I think the real power of it will become even more apparent as time goes on. It feels like it is just the beginning of a process of change in my attitude and beliefs, and I am still learning to programme that in.
I started the month very positively, and after that, it went in waves. I had times when I was really positive, always remembering and thinking about being positive, and it fed off itself in a cycle. Other times, I got distracted by other things or forgot I was supposed to be positive or found it harder to stay positive even though I remembered I was supposed to. But the general trend was that my ability to be positive has improved throughout the month.
I had some occasions where I was so proud of how I handled certain situations, particularly ones within my head. For example, when I have been uncertain about something, I have managed not to get worried about it. Also, I have spent less time pondering over decisions. I just make a decision and go positively with it.
I have learned that beliefs tie in closely with positivity. By believing that something will go well, I create that reality. That is basically what positivity is – holding the belief that the best outcome will happen, and also the belief that I can handle whatever outcome happens and have a learning experience either way.
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I have also learnt to take a step back and not place so much stress on the small things. Just relax and enjoy because it’s no big deal.
I think I have only slightly improved on being positive towards people. Actually I take that back – I’ve been really positive at certain times. For example, I have been more positive about rehearsals and have been nice to the people I am rehearsing with. But I haven’t necessarily made more conversation than usual, and I haven’t talked to new people much. But I have been really positive with my friends, and quite positive with my family.
I’ve been more relaxed and less fussy about decisions, and better at accepting whatever decision I make, especially with small unimportant things like menu choice.
I’ve been having a deliberate positive voice in my head saying things like, ‘This is going to be a really good day’, ‘This is so good’, ‘I’m going to have a great time’, etc. By saying these things in my head, it helps them become real.
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Sometimes I have been genuinely so joyful and excited about life because of being positive. I have encouraged certain others to be positive too.
I definitely plan to continue consciously being positive because I want to ingrain this attitude into me. It could be the precursor to so many good improvements in my character. It could also affect the results I achieve in life and my enjoyment of life. It’s got so much potential! Continue positively!
Have I continued with a positive attitude?
Since doing this challenge, I have had phases of being very positive, and other phases where I have not been quite as positive! But I always have an underlying awareness of the importance of a positive attitude. At the times when I am thinking negatively, I am aware that it is not going to help me and that I would be much better off thinking positively. I am still at the stage where it can sometimes take a lot of mental effort to shift into positivity. Most of the time though, I am generally positive, and certain habits have been installed into me. For example, I tend to think and talk in the positive versions, such as ‘I hope the roads are clear and my journey is easy’, rather than ‘I hope I don’t get stuck in traffic’.
I intend to continue aiming to be as positive as possible, and to keep improving this. However, I don’t plan to do another specific positivity challenge in the near future because I think I get too distracted from it. I tend to do better with more tangible and specific challenges so I will stick to those for the time being.