Sustaining a Positive Attitude

I recently wrote one of these Weekly Insight articles that suggested that the attitude we woke up with in the morning did not have to define our day. In the article, I indicated that we can make the decision soon after we wake up whether or not we are going to approach our day with a positive attitude. I proposed that, on those days that we wake up with a bad attitude, we can quickly make the decision to change that attitude and take on the day with a positive attitude.

This article was well received and several people commented that it helped them realize that just because their day started off poorly, it did not have to stay that way. Included in these comments were requests for more assistance in sustaining a positive attitude on a daily basis.

Before getting into specific things you can do to improve your attitude on a daily basis, let’s revisit the importance of attitude and its relationship to success.

One of the best predictors of success over the long haul is the ability to maintain a positive attitude. Any credible book on self-improvement will point out the need to develop a positive attitude as a critical element of achieving positive change in your life.

The fact is that most of us were either raised in an environment where negative feedback created negative thoughts or we have accumulated some negative self-perceptions as a result of bad experiences earlier in life. The result is that, by the time we reach early adulthood, our ability to achieve is less constrained by talent than it is by having the courage to attempt something new.

The courage to try something new is directly related to our level of self-confidence. So, our success in any new endeavor, as well as our peak level of success in our current situation, is directly related to our ability to develop and maintain a positive attitude.

How do you get past the small voice in the background that keeps telling you that you will fail? The only way is to reprogram yourself to not listen to that voice. Instead, you must believe in your talent. Belief in your talent, coupled with hard work and discipline, is an effective formula for success. As a result, developing and implementing a positive attitude in your life is essential to your ability to achieve consistent success both in your existing situation as well as in new ventures.

From this it also follows that, once you have developed a positive attitude, the next challenge is to maintain it. Here are several things you can do to sustain a positive attitude on a daily basis.

  1. Take responsibility for your attitude. This point was at the heart of my previous article on approaching every day with a positive attitude. The reality is that the attitude that you wake up with is irrelevant with regard to the attitude that will dominate your day. Your attitude on a daily basis is the result of taking responsibility for your attitude. If you decide to get rid of your bad attitude – whether in the morning or any other time of the day where you have gotten off track – and consciously change your attitude, you can change the rest of your day.
    1. Some people question whether or not we can really do this. Others may question why it is so hard to do. The fact is that it is possible, but it can be a challenge. Yet it’s only hard to do because we make it hard. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after having an enjoyable time with a good friend? The fact is that no matter how you felt before you met with your friend, the positive experience with that person sets you up for a positive experience for the rest of your day.
    2. The point of this is that you can become your own best friend with regard to attitude. You can personally take responsibility on a daily basis to reprogram your attitude any time it gets off track. You can take a personal “time out” and change your attitude as well as the trajectory of your day.
  2. Evaluate your present attitude. When you catch yourself with a bad attitude, evaluate it. Take time to reflect on what is dragging you down. What event or situation has caused you to feel negative? What has caused you to lose your confidence? Often our negative attitude comes out of feelings in one of the following areas:
    1. A subconscious feeling about something related to us personally. Has some incident brought up old issues that haunt you off and on?
    2. Problem feelings related to others. Has something related to your relationship with someone else impacted your attitude? Has someone made a comment that reopened old wounds or that caused new doubts?
    3. Negative thinking. Have you unintentionally allowed yourself to go back to thinking negatively? Did something cause you to act like a victim and stop taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions?
  3. Make a decision to change. As soon as you become aware of the problem, accept responsibility and make the decision to change. This means that you are going to decide to immediately take action to change your attitude. It can often mean getting away for fifteen minutes or so while you get refocused.
  4. Change your thoughts to change your attitude. Thoughts drive attitude. Change your thoughts and your attitude will change. By reprogramming your mind with positive thoughts, you can quickly change your attitude. This can be done by using positive affirmations and by taking the time to read positive material.
  5. Invest in sustaining a positive attitude. Your ability to quickly get your attitude back on track will be directly related by how diligent you are in developing good habits. One of these good habits should be to read positive materials every day. Out of this you can develop a list of positive phrases and quotations that can be used daily as affirmations to program your mind in a positive manner. In addition to the many positive-thinking books that are available, you can also get affirmations from the Bible and other spiritual materials.