Many self help trainers will teach you all sorts of ways to be more positive… affirmations, motivational techniques, how to avoid negative thinking, etc. While this is certainly something worth achieving, it’s a mistake to completely avoid looking at the negative portions of your life. In fact, sometimes you want to really get upset at yourself! This is what it takes for many of us to finally be willing to make a change in our life, we need some unhappiness to move us towards action. While positive reinforcement (e.g. looking at what we want) may sound better than negative reinforcement (looking at what we don’t like), it’s the negative that often carries stronger motivation.
For example, let’s say you’re finding it difficult to keep on a workout routine. Look for ways that will drive home a call to action, here’s some examples:
1. Get your cholesterol checked… get worried about heart problems if it’s too high
2. Look at yourself in the mirror undressed, are you disgusted with any excess fat?
3. Do you tire too easily, can’t keep up with friends and family? Get upset!
4. Are you paying for a health club and not going? Get upset that you are wasting money and not following through!
If you’re going along through life with only positive thoughts of “everything is wonderful”, then you are not giving yourself the motivation to change something that should be changed.
However, don’t make the mistake of creating motivation without taking a first action step towards that change. Using the example above, go do a workout ASAP. Even better are actions which show more commitment to the change. For example joining a health club, joining a sports team, or even better scheduling something with a partner (e.g. a daily walk) who can help hold you accountable to your goal.
The key is to sometimes set aside the happy feelings you want to have 99% of the time and just get mad at yourself and make a tough decision to do something about it. Take an introspective look at something about something you don’t like about your life, I think each of us has something we could find to improve. But once you set the course towards positive change, by all means stay positive about it and take pride in the fact that you are improving yourself for the benefit of not only yourself, but others in your life.