COMING CLEAN: The Power of Positivity

As I get older, I’ve found the last few days of each month to be a time of regret and guilt. It’s generally the busiest time in publishing, and I tend to be so wrapped up in my work that I completely neglect my personal goals.

That 10 pounds I planned to lose last month rolls over into my goals for next month, only to make me realize that if I had accomplished that weight loss — or close to it — each time, I could’ve lose 20, 30 pounds by now — or more! Compound that with how fast time seems to fly, how it’s spring when it was just winter, how each year seems to be speeding up, and the feelings of fear seem so overwhelming that only some chocolate or a nap will mask it until the next month. Hence, the regret and guilt (and clearly the reasons why I’m not losing weight).

But not this month. I started out with a great workshop on Saturday led by Maryanne O’Brien, founder of Live Dynamite. I’ve been curious about life coaching, but slightly resistant to the idea. I feel like a knowledgeable woman who can easily create goals and visualize what I want to accomplish, but I’ve only had success with my business. My weight, my diet — I understand what needs to happen, yet I can’t seem to take those steps. There’s only so much you can do on your own: Live Dynamite is a network of like-minded, positive thinkers all working to create change in their lives. You know that feeling when something magical happens in you, your creative spark is lit and you start to make something wonderful? Maybe it’s cooking a great meal for your family, writing several chapters of a book, or finding a solution for a client — those times when you see the possibilities and feel inspired and empowered to create something you are proud of are really exciting. Now imaging arriving at the moment with a group of equally enthusiastic people — you’ve just re-created my Saturday.

A lot of Live Dynamite’s principals are based on positive psychology and the study of positive thinking within the neurons of the brain. (If you’re a longtime reader of Experience Life, you’re no doubt familiar with this term. If you’ve just discovered the magazine, search “positive psychology” in the archives for several stories to enlighten you, or check out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi groundbreaking book, FLOW: The Psychology
of Optimal Experience
.) The biggest take-away for me (because I think I have been such a pessimist for so long — without even realizing I was one), albeit simple as it sounds: When you are positive, good things will happen, and when you’re negative, just the opposite. There’s power in positivity; defeat in negativity. Any time you tell yourself, either by writing it down or saying it aloud or both, that “I will” or “I am” you can take charge and motivate yourself to realize your potential. So it was easy to see all the times I say “I’ll try” or “I’ll see if I can” as statements that allow room for me to fail. I’m not committed, and I don’t believe that I will, so why would my mind think otherwise? As I start to change my language, write my goals down and check in regularly (versus the end of the month, or whenever my deadlines have passed), I can make sure I’m staying on course to work toward my vision.

After the workshop, I checked my email and was reminded of another great motivator: Our Take Action Challenge starts today! I’ll be checking in to tell you how I’m doing each Wednesday on my blog before you get your Thursday follow-up emails, and you’ll find me in the forums at community.experiencelifemag.com. With these weekly challenges — and each other’s support — I can see flipping the calendar as a marker of my improvement instead of lost time.

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