I was thinking about how I could make 2020 my most positive year yet. I realized I need to be surrounded by things and people that will help me stay in a positive frame of mind for as long as possible — especially on those days when everything seems to go wrong, no matter what you do.
I don’t think you or I can avoid those days but we can react more positively to them. Here is my toolkit for doing so and for maximizing happiness on days when things do go well!
1. My Happiness and Positivity Desk Calendar
When I was out Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, a little desk calendar caught my eye. It’s called “A Daily Dose of Happiness & Positivity”. It contains a positive quote for every single day of 2020.
It now has pride of place on my desk, so that I can read and re-read the quote of the day as I work. It’s inspiring me to focus on the all the positives in life and to choose to be happy, because happiness is indeed a choice.
2. 366 Positive Words — One for Every Day of the Year
After buying the desk calendar, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of 366 positive words to guide me through 2020. I published the list in the hope that it would also help other people.
I keep the positive word of the day in my mind as I go through my day. I will also use the words in other ways, such as finding quotes containing the words and writing blog posts on them. The first one I wrote was Start Something New Today. I know these words will help me infuse my life with positivity in 2020.
3. Calendars from Action for Happiness
At the beginning of every month, I download a new calendar from Action for Happiness¹, a UK-based charity that aims to increase happiness throughout the world.
There is a theme for each month, and there is a little daily task that will make you feel happier. Today, for example, the task is: “Spread a bit of happiness by doing kind things for others”.
I print out each month’s calendar out, place it on my desk, and keep the daily task in mind throughout the day. So, today, I’m looking out for opportunities to be kind to other people. It definitely helps you focus your mind on positive action.
As the Dalai Lama said, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
This ties in with today’s quote on my desk calendar, which is from Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
4. Writing in My Journals
I have two journals. One is a personal journal. The other is a gratitude journal.
In my personal journal, I write about whatever’s on my mind. It’s for my eyes only, so it’s an outlet for all the stuff that’s in my head.
I always feel better after I’ve put my thoughts into writing. It’s especially helpful on those days when similar thoughts go round and round in my head over and over again.
Sometimes, while writing, a solution appears, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I feel better for having confided in my journal.
I also write down inspiring quotes I’ve come across. If I’ve read something useful in a book or article, I make notes on it in my journal, so I remember. Occasionally, I’ll flick through my journal and come across something useful that I’d forgotten about.
I aim to write in my gratitude journal every evening. I simply write down at least 3 things I’m grateful for.
They’re usually things that happened during the day. This means I’m looking out for positive things on even the most mundane of days, so that I’ll have something to record in my gratitude journal. That in itself makes me more grateful and positive.
Some days I’ll write down more than three things I’m grateful for. Other days, when it’s a struggle, I’ll think of all the people in the world who may not have what I have and write how grateful I am for clean water, enough food to eat, and a flushing toilet.
5. Writing and Repeating Affirmations
Writing and repeating affirmations is something I used to do quite a lot but have got out of the habit of doing recently. I’d like to get back into this habit in 2020.
Louise Hay, in her book You Can Heal Your Life², advises writing an affirmation ten or twenty times in your journal at the beginning of the day and then repeating it in your mind or out loud several times during the day.
This is a powerful technique to use, which really does help you feel more positive if you practice it each day. Some affirmations that you can try include:
- I approve of myself.
- Today is an awesome day.
- Opportunities are everywhere.
6. Practicing Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation give me breathing space. They stop me from taking my negative thoughts too seriously. They remind me that my thoughts are not always true and are not always based in reality. After practicing yoga and/or meditation, I can always concentrate better.
Recently, I’ve been trying to meditate daily and practice yoga weekly at a class. Although this is beneficial, I’d like to practice yoga daily — or almost daily — in 2020, even if it’s just a few gentle stretches before bed. I find that I have more energy to get more things done if I do some yoga every day.
Sometimes things other people say or do can upset us very quickly and spoil our day. I used to be quite susceptible and sensitive to this — and I still am to an extent — but I’m learning that I don’t have to accept other people’s words as true.
I have a choice — I can ignore them or walk away. I’m going to try and remember this throughout 2020!
However, this doesn’t mean I should ignore constructive criticism, which is delivered in a calm and respectful manner.
8. Keep My Intention in Mind Throughout the Day
My intention for 2020 is to be kind to myself. I’ve written it in large letters on a piece of card and placed it by the side of my bed, so that I see it when I wake up every morning. That reminds me to set it as my intention for the day.
I’ll remember my intention when I take a break from work, during lunch and in the evening. It will be my guiding light for the day and the year.
9. Meeting Positive People
Last but by no means least, it’s important to meet other positive people. I attend a women’s circle every month, which gives us all a chance to:
- meditate together
- take it in turns to share what is on our minds and/or going on in our lives without judgement and without trying to fix each other
- sharing useful, insightful and inspiring things we’ve come across
- drinking a cup of tea, eating snacks and just enjoying one another’s company.
My weekly yoga class is also a good place to connect with positive people.
I go to business networking meetings and workshops to meet other small business owners and exchange ideas. At these events, I always learn something new, meet new and inspiring people, and come home overflowing with new ideas to try out.
Sometimes working from home on your own business can be quite lonely, so it’s very important to find the time to go out and meet other people, especially those who are further along the road than you are.
So, that’s my positivity toolkit for 2020! I’m sure there are more things I can add and I’ll be looking out for them during the year.
Do you use any other tools for leading a positive and happy life? Please share them in the comments.