Difficult, trying times reveal just how positive you really are. Think about it.
What’s the virtue in being positive when you’re on a roll, when everything is clicking for you and falling your way?
Your potential for business excellence, excellence in your marriage, and excellence in your family life demands that you master the skill of staying U.P. (Ultra-Positive) even when–and especially when–everyone else isn’t. There is a tendency in tough times to zero in on the things that are “out of whack” and forget about all that is working in our lives and in our country.
When you’re Ultra-Positive, you’ll be more creative, productive, energetic, attractive, and most importantly, receptive to God’s will. Remember, staying positive does not mean remaining passive. Take action. Defend the truth. Become part of the solution! Here are seventeen practical options to build your momentum. Pick your favorites and get started today. Then spread the joy to others.
1. Make the Decision to Stay U.P.
Nothing of consequence happens until you promise yourself that you’ll become the most positive person you know, even in light of challenging circumstances. Raise your standards! Become an inspiration to others. Everything else flows from this key decision to separate yourself from the herd mentality, from the vast majority who blame, whine, gossip, and predict the sky is falling. Life is short. Refuse to buy into this mass hypnotism…Take a stand, starting now.
2. Start U.P. then end U.P. every day.
One of the simplest ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to begin and end each day with what I call Positive Mental Nutrition™. Feed your mind with inspirational ideas, spiritual truth, or motivational nuggets for ten to fifteen minutes immediately upon awakening each morning and right before drifting to sleep each evening. During these two time periods, your mind is extremely susceptible to programming, so make sure your inputs are positive, healthy, and goal-directed. Read, visualize, affirm, pray, and rewrite your goals…and practice feeling thankful for what you do have!
3. Summarize Each Day’s Victories, Large or Small, in Writing.
This one practice alone can zap fear and generate quantum leaps in self-confidence. Start logging your accomplishments each evening in a notebook, hardbound journal, or on your computer. What a great, 4:8 habit!
4. U.P. your Physical Exercise
Another pillar of Ultra-Positive living is consistent, moderate exercise. This includes aerobic work to burn fat and improve heart health; weight work to tone and strengthen your muscles and elevate metabolism; and flexibility work to stay loose and limber. Exercise more. Exercise a lot more! Face the facts. When you’re in terrific shape and feel better about yourself, you feel better about your life and more optimistic about your future. You’re positioned to live U.P. to your full potential.
5. Break U.P. the Big Four
Negative thinking leads to negative emotions, which in turn trigger more negative thinking. The vicious cycle becomes engaged. The top four negative emotions include fear, worry, blame, and guilt. These terrorize your potential and immobilize your efforts toward becoming Ultra-Positive. When you begin experiencing results you didn’t want or expect, it’s easy to get scared and start thinking more about potential losses than potential gains. This mind-set triggers worry or what I call reverse goal setting, where you vividly imagine what you don’t want. To transfer the burden of worry, you will often blame someone or something outside of yourself. Alternatively, you may exaggerate your role in the negative events and experience guilt. Consider negative emotions to be lies from the enemy. Deal with them directly by refusing to entertain the thoughts that fuel them. This is a point very much worth reinforcing: Invest your time thinking about what you want instead of what you don’t want.
6. Forgive Someone, Including Yourself, Daily
Harboring grudges and hostility against anyone, including yourself, tends to attract more circumstances to be upset about. Practice forgiving somebody every day for real or imagined transgressions. The better you become at forgiveness, the more positive you can become as a human being. If you skip this one, I’ll even forgive you.
7. Quarantine Negativity if You Can’t Dissolve It
Carve out a particular time and place to worry (worry time) and to complain (issue time) each week. This is extremely effective because then the rest of your week isn’t diluted with the minority of negative circumstances that can infect otherwise healthy days. When you cut the spontaneity out of negativity, you severely weaken it.
8. Focus on God. He’s U.P.
Remind yourself of everything you know to be true about God. God is all-powerful. God is love. God is sovereign. God is always with us. God is absolute truth. God never changes. And so on. Thinking about God is good, really good! And the bigger you make God, the smaller your problems become.
9. Schedule Four-Minute Positive Injections Every Two Hours
Think of these as Positive Pit Stops. Review your goals or mission. Practice affirmation or visualization. Pray. Read the Bible. Relive a positive memory. Write a thank-you card or send an e-mail of appreciation to someone important. Ask 4:8 Questions. (See page 33 in that smiley face book)
10. Simplify and Declutter to stay U.P.
Complexity is negative. Simplicity is positive. Room by room, drawer by drawer, try tossing one tiny item of clutter every day for thirty consecutive days. My 1% clients love this one and so will you, because doing even a small task will help you to feel more positive. Break your jumbo-sized goals into sub-goals and milestones, and then splinter them into even smaller pieces if necessary to spur you into action. Renegotiate or downsize existing commitments to lighten your load a bit for the next thirty days.
11. Get to Bed Sixty Minutes Earlier for Ten Straight Days
Fatigue, especially chronic fatigue, invites negativity and cowardly thinking. During periods of intense or prolonged stress, extra sleep will help your brain remain an ally in the war against mediocrity. Cut something out of the evening schedule (maybe the bad news) and drift to sleep with visions of victories dancing in your head. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.
12. Take a Twenty-Four-Hour Mental Fast
Become Ultra-Positive one day at a time. You can rid your attitude of toxic thoughts through the practice of mental fasting. Read and reread The 4:8 Principle if you want to master this simple, relevant, powerful and biblically-based mental technique. During your fast, abstain from all complaining, fear-mongering, criticizing, excuse-making, gossiping, and worrying whatsoever! Start with a twenty-four minute fast and gradually discipline your mind to repel all negativity for a whole day. Focus on progress. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
13. Stay U.P. and Watch Your Favorite Funny Movies
Laughter is fabulously positive. Research indicates that people who laugh more actually have more fun. Isn’t that surprising? Consider building your own comedy library on DVD. Save funny movies on TIVO. Watch often. You’ll stay healthier, more creative, and less stressed–and that’s a great alternative to the medicine cabinet.
14. Have a Counter-Attack Plan U.P. and Ready
Become hypersensitive to your thought life. Since you can be negative only when you’re thinking “8:4 thoughts,” you can quickly become positive by thinking “4:8 thoughts.” This is called the Principle of Substitution. The split-second you notice any negative thought running through your mind, replace it emphatically with something like, “I am responsible” or “I trust God” “God is with me” “This is temporary” or “I can do it.” Repeat, repeat, repeat! Be ready with your comeback before the heat of the moment. Make negative, limiting thoughts unwelcome in your mind.
15. Re-Engage an Old Hobby to Stay U.P.
Involve yourself in a positive activity that used to be important to you but may have gotten squeezed out of your life due to other priorities. This will be both therapeutic and rejuvenating. Consider it a gift to yourself.
16. Intentionally Cultivate Ultra-Positive Company
This one is mandatory. It’s next to impossible to become or stay U.P. when the people you live and work with are petty, “8:4 thinkers.” Nothing equals the influence of your habitual associations. Especially now, be purposeful about which people are close to you on a regular basis. The people you hang out with influence your outlook on life. As you become more optimistic, you will attract more optimistic people in your life, and that’s good.
17. Help Someone Else U.P.
Donate your money. Donate your time. Volunteer. Simply serve someone less fortunate (and there are a billion or so to choose from) or contribute your talents and gifts to a worthy organization. Helping those who need help reduces self-centeredness and puts your own challenges into a much more positive perspective.
The key to staying U.P. is to remember that every situation can indeed be positive when you view it through the lens of Philippians 4:8, as an opportunity for spiritual growth, character refinement and the redistribution of joy.