“Today is the day you swore was going to be different — yesterday.”
Nick Murray, financial planner and author
In my seminars, I’m fond of saying that “Attitude is the fuel that drives the car.” In other words, you can buy the best, most expensive car in the world, but the car won’t go very far without the proper fuel.
And people behave in much the same way. You can have the best upbringing, the most opportunities, and even the greatest education in the world, but without the proper attitude, you won’t be totally successful in your endeavors.
Unfortunately, most people have a less than positive attitude — because they tend to be their own worst enemy. They’re engaged in negative self-talk throughout the day, telling themselves such things as, “I’ll never get this right … I can’t lose weight … I’m not that smart … I can’t quit smoking … I’ll never have any money … I don’t have the energy I used to have” and on and on.
Such negative self-talk CAN and WILL sabotage your best intentions and most vigorous efforts each and every time … because you perform exactly as you see yourself. In fact, you literally cannot outperform your own self-talk.
That’s why Kate Larsen, author of “Progress Not Perfection” says, “When you monitor your self-talk, you unleash your greatest potential and shut down your most severe critic — yourself.” In fact, the book is excellent. Check it out at www.expertpublishing.com.
To make significant changes in your attitude and your life, Kate recommends the use of affirmations or the repetition of key phrases. She’s right. When you tell yourself an affirmation over and over again, it eventually takes root in your mind and bears fruit in your behavior.
Taking a hint from Kate, I would suggest you start with these affirmations.
=> 1. I make small choices that make a big difference.
It’s good advice. Too many of us focus on the big win or the great accomplishment, but we overlook the little things. And the little things count — big time.
For example, the small choice of skipping an afternoon snack may not seem to be all that big of a deal — until a few pounds drop off. Taking ten minutes in the morning to plan your day may not seem very important — until you notice your stress level going down and your sense of accomplishment going up.
Larson quoted Ann, one of her workshop participants, as to how this “small choice-big difference” concept worked for her. Ann said, “I have made my office space into a place I really like. I listen to good music; I have a warm old lamp, flowers, plants, pictures of friends and my kitty, pretty rocks I collected on vacations, and colorful art pieces that make me feel good. I spend a little money and get good pens and pencils that feel good in my hand, a good stapler, and hole puncher.” She enthusiastically went on to say, “They make a huge difference in my sanity, as I use them a lot.”
Ann continued, “I eat a good breakfast every day, and try to plan a day each week to go out and eat with coworkers — and not talk about work. I try to take a walk around the building (outside) at least once a day. I smile a lot, which is selfishly motivated because I like to get smiles back, but it works!”
Notice all the small choices Ann made, but they all added up to a better day and a changed life. There is power in the small choices you make each day. So I challenge you to take a few seconds to think about the choices you make throughout the day rather than go through your day on auto pilot.
=> 2. I make choices that do not lead to regret.
As you go through your day, you have to make a lot of decisions. So how do you know which choice might be the best one? Simply ask yourself, “Which choice will lead to the least regret?”
For example, you get to choose between a healthy breakfast or a quick grab on-the-run bun. Which choice will lead to regret? Which choice will make you feel badly about yourself? If it’s the bun, then don’t eat it!
You get to choose between calling up the customer or waiting for him to call you. Perhaps you have some bad news to tell your customer about his order getting messed up. Would you feel better being proactive and calling him as soon as you learn about the screw-up? Or would you feel better putting it off, dreading his phone call, getting uptight every time the phone rings, and having him chew you out because you didn’t tell him about the problem yesterday when you first learned about it? If putting off the phone call would lead to more regret, then don’t put off the phone call. Do it now!
So once again, tell yourself, repeatedly throughout the day, “I make choices that do not lead to regret.” The more you say it, the more you will think and act accordingly. It’s a powerful affirmation.
Let’s say you’re confronted with a choice — to eat or not eat that piece of praline pecan cheese cake. If you’ve been saying your affirmation, you’ll start to ask yourself, “In ten minutes, when this cheesecake is gone, will I feel better about myself, or will I feel regret for having eaten it?” You’ll know exactly what to do and the chances are better you’ll do what makes you feel better about yourself.
Larsen gives several examples of how you could use this affirmation. When it comes to a work project, you may have to ask yourself, “If I take on this work project, will it be worth it next month, for all the juggling I’ll have to do to make it happen?” Trust your gut instinct.
Maybe you’re in bed, reading a great book, but it’s already an hour past your bedtime. Ask yourself, “How will I feel tomorrow morning if I read one more chapter? Will I feel good about that choice? Or will I feel sleepy all day tomorrow and regret my loss of sleep the night before?”
From my research, it’s become clear that attitudes are one of the most powerful forces — for good or evil — in your life. And the most successful people take control of their attitudes by affirming the right kinds of things — such as the two affirmations I’ve given you today.
Action: What small choices can you make today that will prevent regret tomorrow?