Jewish Journal


November 19, 2010

A life coach’s seven key Steps to changing Your attitude and your life


Your attitude is the energy you are putting out into the world. Are you positive, upbeat and solution-oriented or negative, fearful and mean-spirited? Whatever it is, people can feel it. And what you put out determines, in large measure, what comes back to you. As you step into the new calendar year, then, changing your attitude is absolutely necessary if you want to improve your life.

Many of us struggle with these kinds of changes. We may wonder why, no matter how hard we’ve tried, our lives are still stuck. Our relationships lack real warmth and connection. Our finances never get beyond a certain level. And those big plans we have just can’t seem to get off the ground. Why? Well, changing your attitude requires some real personal growth. You cannot fake your way to a positive attitude, neither can you will yourself to be positive — at least, not for any significant length of time. But if you really want to change, and you follow the steps below, not only will your attitude be transformed, but your life also will become truly enjoyable.

Let go of the past. Whatever you may be holding on to, some idea of yourself — who you should be — or a deep-seated grudge or resentment, it doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s in the past, it’s over! Forgiveness is your key. Make a list of people in your life, going back to your childhood, and forgive every single one of them. Pay particular attention to those closest to you — parents, siblings, spouse and, if you’re older, adult children. And put yourself on that list. Forgive yourself for all the mistakes you’ve made or that you believe you’ve made. Just let it all go, and start fresh.

Face reality and accept it. You cannot change something if you refuse to see it for what it is. Observe things that consistently upset you — whether it’s your weight or how you look, someone in your life, an addiction or bad habit — small or large — some perceived failure or loss, or a relationship that is not working. Look it dead in the eye, and say, “I acknowledge and accept that __________ is what’s happening.” Once you’ve fully accepted it, you will have far more clarity on how to change it.

Take tiny steps forward every day. When the goal is far off, we can feel like we will never get there. This often accounts for a negative attitude. The goal seems impossible, and despondency can set in. This is particularly true when you are trying to change habits and patterns. The key is to break the big goal into small steps. Take one tiny step forward every day. Any right action, no matter how small, does wonders for how you feel about yourself.

Begin to trust life. Take the position that life is working out just the way it needs to, and get out of the way. This step is perhaps the hardest, particularly for those of us who are “control freaks.” But it is critical to real success. Sometimes you may be working really hard, doing everything you know possible, and things are still not working out. Chances are you’re getting in the way. Try letting go of control. What’s the saying? “Do your best and leave the rest.” Know that there is a higher power than you, who ultimately is calling the shots. And while you will do all that you can, allowing things to flow is of critical importance in making life work.

Know your value. It’s important to recognize your value. Others will not value you unless and until you value yourself. Make a list of all the special qualities you possess and the contributions you make to those around you. Remember, you’re valuable and worthy just because you exist. So take care of yourself. Do something special every day: exercise, practice yoga, eat a healthy meal, take a hot bath, get a massage, curl up with a book, meditate, write in a journal, pray.

Ask for help and be willing to help. We accomplish nothing alone. These days, perhaps more than ever, success stems from partnership, teamwork, community. In fact, in this second decade of the 21st century, it’s all about community. So become involved in your community. Find some humility. Open your heart. Offer help and ask for help. Everywhere, all the time! People are usually happy to respond to a genuine request.

Be grateful. Of all these steps, undoubtedly the most important is practicing gratitude. So, focus on the good. Make a list of all the things you have, the qualities you’re blessed with, the people you love and who love you. Keep that list next to your bed. Read it every night and every morning!

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