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The first month of any new year can be a tricky time for many of us. Once we’ve had a few days to rest and recuperate from the exuberance and energy of fall and winter events and celebrations, the new year arrives with promises and expectations that we made to ourselves at the end of the previous year. For some of us, following through on those resolutions, or lifestyle adjustments as I like to call them, can be exciting at the start, but as January drags on into February, a lot of us begin to lose steam and start slipping into old habits that we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do again.
I’m a big fan of Chinese New Years. My usual tradition is to celebrate at a massive banquet hosted by two very dear friends, Emilya and Jim. They’ve been hosting this dinner for almost 30 years, and I’ve attended each year, with the exception of one, since 1999. There are usually 100+ people and it’s a wonderful celebration. Depending on how my year has gone up until the Chinese New Year, I sometimes use this holiday as a reset button. A time to start anew, so to speak.
Given how this January has gone for me — challenging, to say the least — I think I’ll be taking that reset option. Sometimes, even a life coach needs some coaching. And so for you as much as for me, I’m bringing you an enlightening article about attitude by Keith Harrell that I found on the success.com site. I hope you find it helpful!
Why Your Attitude Is Everything
By Keith Harrell
“One of the most important steps you can take toward achieving your greatest potential in life is to learn to monitor your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships, and everyone around you.
I generally start my workshops and seminars by asking a fundamental question: What attitude did you bring into this meeting? Often, this brings puzzled looks. In truth, people generally don’t have a high level of attitude awareness. They’ll know if they are hungry or if their feet hurt, but they usually don’t have a good handle on their attitude. That is a mistake because attitude is everything. It governs the way you perceive the world and the way the world perceives you.
We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond.
Your mind is a computer that can be programmed. You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.
Many of us have behavior patterns today that were programmed into our brains at a very tender age. The information that was recorded by our brains could have been completely inaccurate or cruel. The sad reality of life is that we will continue to hear negative information, but we don’t have to program it into our brains.
The loudest and most influential voice you hear is your own inner voice, your self-critic. It can work for or against you, depending on the messages you allow. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear you down or cheer you on. You control the sender and the receiver, but only if you consciously take responsibility for and control over your inner conversation.
Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. Common causes include low self-esteem, stress, fear, resentment, anger, and an inability to handle change. It takes serious work to examine the roots of a harmful attitude, but the rewards of ridding ourselves of this heavy baggage can last a lifetime.
Here are 10 strategies from my attitude toolkit to improve your attitude:
1. Self-Coaching Through Affirmations
Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day, serve to reprogram your subconscious with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction, and faith. You send a positive response to your subconscious, which accepts whatever you tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action.
2. Self-Motivation Through Discovering Your Motives
Discover what motivates you — what incites you to take action to change your life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain, and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology (walk faster, smile, sit up), and a belief in yourself and your God-given potential.
3. The Power of Visualization
Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers, and artists use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years. “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualization works well to improve attitude.
4. Attitude Talk for Positive Internal Dialogue
Attitude talk is a way to override your past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps you face new directions. Your internal conversation — that little voice you listen to all day long — acts like a seed in that it programs your brain and affects your behavior. Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself.
5. The Power of Words—WOW
Once released to the universe, our words cannot be taken back. Learn the concept of WOW — watch our words. What we speak reflects what is already in our hearts based upon all the things we have come to believe about ourselves. If we find ourselves speaking judgmental and disparaging things about our circumstances or those around us, we know the condition of our hearts needs to change. You can create a direct path to success by what you say.
6. The Power in a Positive Greeting
When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “Super-fantastic.” Most people enjoy working and living with others who try to live life for what it is — a beautiful gift.
7. Enthusiasm: Vital Tool for Staying Motivated
Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life. Enthusiasm enables you to apply your gifts more effectively. It’s the burning desire that communicates commitment, determination, and spirit. Enthusiasm means putting yourself in motion. It’s an internal spirit that speaks through your actions from your commitment and your belief in what you are doing. It is one of the most empowering and attractive characteristics you can have.
8. Connecting to Your Spiritual Empowerment
The ultimate level of human need extends into the spiritual realm. Just as we feed our bodies in response to our primary need to survive physically, we need to feed our spirit because we are spiritual beings. Many people find powerful and positive motivation in their faith. I happen to be one of them.
9. Lighten Up Your Life with Humor
Humor is a powerful motivator. The more humor and laughter in your life, the less stress you’ll have, which means more positive energy to help you put your attitude into action. There are also health benefits to lightening up.
10. Exercising Will Help Keep You Motivated
One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise. A regular exercise routine can provide relatively quick positive feedback in the form of weight loss, muscle development, and a sense of doing something positive for yourself.”
Your attitude is key to living a fulfilling and wonderful life. Is it time for an attitude adjustment? There’s no time like the present to get started!
Cooking for Joan
Given that the theme of this post is about how January can be a tough month for people and we’ve made it into February, I thought it would be nice to provide you with some liquid encouragement to make this winter the best ever! I found three perfectly delicious and different cocktails that you can shake up.
One, in actuality, is called “The Resolution” — I just had to include it. Two highlight rosemary syrup — I provide the easy instructions — which is a perfect winter spice. The other highlights an old standard bourbon drink with a New York twist. Now, get that shaker out and whip up some wintry libations!
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Splash of Prosecco or Champagne
Combine gin, rosemary simple syrup, and lemon juice into a shaker with ice
Shake, then strain into a martini glass
Top with champagne
Garnish with rosemary sprig
A Clementine Winter Cocktail
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed Clementine juice
- 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz rosemary simple syrup
- sugar and lemon zest (for garnishing the rim of the glass)
Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice
Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed low ball glass with a few cubes of ice
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a lemon twist
To make the rosemary simple syrup:
Heat 1 cup water to just under a boil
Pour into bowl along with a few sprigs rosemary (bruise first)
Allow to steep for 10 minutes
Strain water back to the pot and add 1 cup sugar
Heat over medium heat, stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved
Allow to cool
This can be stored in fridge up to 1 week
New York Sour
"It's a traditional whiskey sour, but to make it a New York sour, you float red wine—Côtes du Rhône or Beaujolais, something with a backbone to it—on top. The rich aromatics push it into winter."
- 2 oz bourbon
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- Red wine float
Shake the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice
Strain into a low ball glass with a few cubes of ice
Top with a red wine float