December Resolutions for Attitude

January 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

I decided to round out the year by working on my attitude, and all my resolutions have again been inspired by The Happiness Project. In my view, an attitude shift is a subtle yet significant way to be happier, since the reaction most people have to everyday happenings can be altered by being more focused on how you want to react. It’s definitely easier to be snappy, to be annoyed, to be rude than it is to remain calm and keep smiling – not just on the outside. I’m not saying no one should get upset ever, but I think we can control our overall attitude and the way we react. We also have some power over our outlook on life. I say some, because I think there are people who are more naturally optimistic or pessimistic, and I am not a psychologist, but I do think everyone can benefit from a lighter attitude.

Well, what am I saying? I don’t pretend to have the magic solution for everyone, and I know my resolutions wouldn’t be a good match for everyone. So I take that all back – a lighter attitude is an important trait I want to cultivate, and maybe that’s because I’m an optimist (no really I’m not a psychologist). Anyway, I did find the suggestions from Gretchen Rubin spot on, so I didn’t change them, just added my own experience:

  • Laugh out Loud – I am already aware that I feel better when I laugh, and I am grateful that M is really, really good at making me laugh, even when I don’t think I want to 🙂 But I think there are ways I can strive to laugh on my own when I am feeling particularly harried or stressed out, before I start snapping every which way. I will laugh with others, and laugh at myself, all in order to maintain positive energy and happy feelings. 
  • Good manners –  I am generally a pretty polite person (once, my friend and I went to lunch, and I just said thank you, please, etc. to the guy behind the cash register, and he remarked that I was being very nice that day or something similar – either I am really polite or he was having a really rough day…). In a similar vein as Ms. Rubin describes, many of my good manners disappear when I am overly tired, hungry, cold, etc., so making sure I take care of those things before interacting with people is important. But also, if I do interact with people in those states (it can’t be avoided altogether), I definitely need to be mindful of how I am feeling and not let it erode my politeness. I can’t be rude just because I’m cold, etc.
  • Give positive reviews – Apparently, it’s easier to point out negative things than it is to point out positive things. I am sure I am guilty of this, so I will definitely work on being more aware of it and trying to correct it so that I am pointing out the good, at least more often that I point out the bad. 
  • Find an area of refuge – This concept is interesting: just come up with things that make you happy when you think about them, and when you’re feeling bad, dwell on these good things. What would that refuge be for me? I’m not yet sure, which definitely tells me this is something I need to focus on. Well one is the walks M and I took towards the end of summer, after I had moved back to Cleveland and we were trying to decide if we should rent or buy, and then which house to buy, and then how to negotiate with the sellers. We made some serious decisions, but had fun, and walking together was so intimate. Definitely an area of refuge 🙂

And with that, the year would come to close. And it’s the last day of January, which means tomorrow starts my project off. One insight I have already is that I do really really like writing, and waking up early to do it. Here’s to a great rest of 2012 filled with even more happiness insights!

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Entry filed under: Months.

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