Many people look at January as a time of renewal. It’s a time to make resolutions and to think about how you want this year to look different from last year. If you are thinking about changing some things in your life, you’re not alone. One way to start off 2018 on the right foot is to start with a positive mindset. Here are some ways to keep your thoughts positive as you jump into the new year.
Look Back With Rose-Colored Glasses
Before you start making lists of things to change about yourself this year, think about all of your accomplishments from the previous year. Did you improve your grade in a subject that’s difficult for you? Maybe you joined some new clubs or tried a new sport. Did you make any new friends? Start a part-time job? Make the effort to get along better with your siblings? Maybe you started a new hobby, managed to keep your room neater, or learned some new skills.
Chances are good that even if you can’t think of anything particular that you accomplished, you actually achieved quite a bit. If you can’t remember, try looking back at your social media posts or ask your friends or your parents. Knowing what you did well last year will give you a little bit of a push and help you keep a positive mindset.
Make New Year’s Affirmations, Not Resolutions
Rather than making a list of ways you’d like to change in the new year, try making a list of affirmations in order to keep a positive mindset. Speaking aloud positive words about yourself can help you fulfill whatever it is that you’re saying. Just as negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem and low levels of achievement, positive self-talk can do the opposite!
Think about ways that you are strong, capable, and hardworking. Saying out loud each day, “I’m a strong person who can handle challenges in my life,” can help that affirmation remain true. You can also use affirmations to encourage yourself to develop character traits that you wish you had. For example, if you wish you didn’t procrastinate so much, you could try saying, “I am a person who gets things done on time and is able to handle deadlines without putting things off.” Over time, you just might see that you’re heading in that direction!
Consider Choosing a Word for 2018
Many people choose one word to focus on for a set period of time. You could try choosing a word for January or for the whole year. Focusing on one word frees you from trying to stick to resolutions that you might or might not keep. Instead, that word will apply to various areas of your life and will guide you toward making positive changes toward becoming the kind of person you want to be.
How does it work? My One Word recommends thinking about the characteristics of the type of person you’d ideally like to emulate. Then narrow down those characteristics to just one word. For example, if you would like to be the type of person who is a dependable friend and always keeps their promises, you might choose the word “trustworthy.” As you make decisions throughout your year (or month), you can simply circle back to that word. Is what you’re doing something that a trustworthy person would do? Choosing one word for a period of time can help you feel good about the changes that you’re making.
Start Every Day With Something Positive
By doing something nice for yourself each morning before you do anything else, you’ll be starting each day with positivity that can last for hours, if not the whole day. Doing something positive each morning doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes, making it a quick and easy way to keep a positive mindset.
You could try setting your alarm five minutes earlier and beginning the day with some affirmations or meditation. Or you might decide to get up 15 minutes earlier and get in a short 10-minute walk to start your day with some physical activity before you go to school. Rather than grab your phone to peruse social media, maybe you might like to spend a few minutes reading an inspirational book or a few pages of a novel. Think about what you’d like to do and get each day off to a better start. This will, in turn, make each week and month better as you go through 2018.
Focus on Positive Habits (Not Negative Ones)
When many people make new year’s resolutions, they often focus on giving up negative habits. For example, they might say, “I am going to stop smoking,” or “I’m going to give up sugar.” Instead of doing this, focus on creating positive habits. So you might decide to get in 30 minutes of exercise each day or to read a book before bed instead of scrolling through your phone.
If you do want to give up a bad habit, think of something positive to replace it. For example, if you’d like to stop smoking, tell yourself that you’ll drink a glass of water or jog around the block every time you have a craving. These habits can help you get your mind off of your craving and will also be adding something positive to your lifestyle.
Finally, don’t let yourself get discouraged if you backslide during 2018. It’s already the middle of January, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get the year off to a positive start. Instead of thinking about the year as a solid mass of days, consider that you have the opportunity to start each day off with a clean slate. If, if in the middle of a tough day, you realize you’d like to change things, you can even start right in that moment to turn your day around. While it’s satisfying to start a new calendar or turn the page to a new month, that doesn’t mean that you have to wait until a certain time or day to begin cultivating a positive mindset. Start right now!