I’ve written a lot this past year about goal setting and the proper way to create New Year’s Resolutions, but the most valuable advice I have to give you is yet to come.
If you’re into personal development and positive thinking as much as I am, I know you’ve heard that age-old axiom of surrounding yourself with people you want to be like or become. It’s a very good idea, but if you have lofty goals and big dreams, it can take a while before you are comfortable approaching a particular group of potential friends or associates. So what is a highly motivated person to do in the meantime? Try this instead.
Surround yourself with a positive environment. This means that you must take control of all sources of stimulation; what you see, what you hear, what you taste, what you smell, and what you feel, both physically and emotionally. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
“What you see.” This involves surrounding yourself with motivational images or, at the very least, neutral images. It amazes me how many people like to watch television shows and/or movies about death and violence. I know it’s just supposed to be entertainment, but studies have shown that when children are allowed a steady stream of stimulation to this kind of “entertainment,” they become more violent in real life. I personally can’t stand to watch anything that is intentionally designed to bring attention to the negative aspects of life. I like shows (and music) that are upbeat and positive. If you are having trouble achieving your goals or keeping New Year’s Resolutions, take a good look at the stimulation your eyes get and see if there are changes that need to be made.
“What you hear.” Television, movies, and music certainly apply here as well, but also the comments and language of the people with whom you spend your time have a tremendous effect on your environment and psyche. If you’ve ever had a boss with a negative disposition, you know what I’m talking about. In a work environment, it’s easy to make the excuse that you have no control over superiors and co-workers who make negative comments, but actually, you have a lot more control than you think. One method that I have found to work when people around me are talking negatively is to hum one of my favorite tunes, or a song that I’ve heard recently. My favorite is Al Jarreau’s “Boogie Down.”
If you want to set an example for fellow employees, or even a boss that you know pretty well, just start discounting their negative comments and make positive comments instead. You can, for example, say, “That’s not true. We are actually living in the most prosperous times ever recorded in history.” I have found that when you start refusing to accept everyone’s negative, “woe is me,” attitudes and replace them with the attitudes you desire, they will either shut up and leave you alone, or they’ll join your bandwagon which means you’ve actually made a difference in this world.
“What you taste.” I know you’re thinking I’m way out on a limb with this one, but give me a chance to explain. Imagine for a moment biting into a sour lemon. I bet just reading those words made your mouth water and your nose pucker. Now imagine taking a bite of your favorite dessert. Better? Now, I’m not saying avoid fruits and eat all sugar, but the things you put in your mouth do affect your feelings, emotions, and therefore, your attitudes. Take a moment to really think about this. How do you feel when you have a very nice, tasteful meal at a nice restaurant? How do you feel when you eat while pulling out of the drive-thru at McDonald’s? Naturally, there are times when quick-service establishments are necessary, but eating properly and treating yourself well, giving yourself time to relax and eat a healthy meal, is very important to creating a positive environment for yourself. Your taste buds are a source of stimulation for your brain, as is the very food you choose to eat, so take care and pay attention to what goes in your mouth.
“What you smell.” Considering that there is an entire discipline based on the study of how the sense of smell affects our brains and our moods, aromatherapy, we should be less surprised about the effects of smell on our environmental well-being. While there are times when we truly have no control over what we smell, like being on a long stretch of highway and forced to stop and use a gas station bathroom, we can usually get out of the situation or find a way to rectify it. I have personally found that purchasing a chocolate bar at the gas station helps me quickly forget the unpleasant experience! How does it smell where you are right now? There are plenty of methods at your disposal to correct it if necessary; personal cologne or perfume, candles, air fresheners, potpourri, etc. Just don’t go overboard. This is one area where a little goes a long way, and if you’re in a work environment, remember that some people are sensitive to strong odors. Use just enough to make your environment pleasant.
“What you feel – physically.” No one likes or deserves to be physically hurt in any way. If you are in an environment where someone is physically abusing you, tell someone you can trust and seek help immediately. On a lighter note, feeling too hot or too cold can affect your mood, your attitude, and therefore your productivity as well. So make sure your physical environment is pleasing and take the steps necessary to correct it as necessary. You might need a better chair with back support, a higher or lower desk, or you might need to move your computer monitor. Take a moment right now to assess your physical comfort level. What changes do you need to make?
“What you feel – emotionally.” This is the most important aspect to control regarding achieving your goals and keeping your New Year’s Resolutions. (Don’t you hate how writers and speakers always save the best for last!) Have you ever noticed how when you’re feeling good, everything seems to go your way, and when you’re feeling bad, it seems as if you just can’t win? Your emotions have a direct impact on your ability to create success. When you feel good, you feel like carrying out the tasks required to accomplish your goals. When you feel good, it’s easy to keep your New Year’s Resolutions. When you feel good, you feel good. When you feel bad, everything is a chore, you become depressed and pessimistic, and often, you just stop trying.
How do you control your emotions? With your thoughts. Remember the day your dog died. How do you feel? Sad? Now remember a day when you won some money or a prize you weren’t expecting. How do you feel now? Happy? Your thoughts affect your emotions, which affect your success.
How do you control your thoughts? With your other senses and outside stimulation. See how it’s all connected? If you think you need to laugh, watch a comedy. If you think you need some creative stimulation, watch some kids at play. If you need serenity, take a walk in the park or listen to soothing music. If you just need to get down to business and do some work, listen to some upbeat music, get on the treadmill for a few minutes, (an object in motion stays in motion), or write out a list of everything you need to do. Get the idea here? Use the power of all your senses to create your positive environment. While it takes a little effort, it’s easier than you think, and the payoff is huge!
Posted under Motivation
This post was written by Debra Moorhead, Motivation, Education, Inspiration on December 29, 2006