1. Replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can.’
Whenever you feel limited, hesitant, or incompetent, or when there’s an obstacle standing in your way, replace your no with a yes. Replace your can’t with a can.
Far too often we hold ourselves back by listening to our doubts and fears. Who cares if you try and fail? That’s life. You’re going to fail sometimes. But you’ll never know your abilities, your strengths, your outcomes if you don’t take a chance. So instead of shooting yourself down before you even begin, tell yourself you can.
2. Count to five before you speak (when you’re angry).
The active action of counting in your head can eliminate knee-jerk reactions that you might regret later. You may be mad, and you may be rightfully mad, but blurting out words you can’t take back doesn’t solve anything.
Take a deep breath. Count. Refocus. And approach the difficult situation with a clear head.
3. Listen before you say, ‘but.’
How many times have you interrupted someone? How many times have you been forming your rebuttal before the other person even finished their thought? How many times have you protested without trying what they suggest, or giving something a chance? (I’m guilty).
Hear a person out before you interject. And think, ‘Is this comment worthwhile, positive, or beneficial?’ in your head before you speak. If the answer is no, then perhaps it’s better to bite your tongue.
4. Say one nice thing to a stranger every day.
Think of all the people you walk by on a daily basis—the mailman, the girl from apartment 4H, the guy walking his dog on the corner of Bell Street, the bus driver, cabdriver, Uber driver, the woman you sat next to on your commute, the secretary at your office—there are so many souls you see each day. And yet, how many do you actually interact with?
Take a moment each day to be intentional, to spread love. Give a stranger a compliment. And watch as that simple gesture brightens both their day and yours.
5. Say ‘no’ to unhealthy, painful, or upsetting things.
What do you deal with that you’ve been pushing aside or ignoring, rather than handling? Who has been violating your space or privacy, treating you like absolute crap but you were afraid to stand up to them?
6. Say a nice sentence before a bitter one.
We can all get suckered into gossip from time to time. People, frankly, suck sometimes. But if you find yourself in a gossip-filled conversation, instead of continuing or supporting the negative banter, say something nice first.
The nice words that leave your lips will cause a ripple effect, and they’ll make any meanness feel sour on your tongue. You can easily shape the direction of your conversations by being positive first.
No matter what pain you’re going through right now, whenever you can, find a reason to smile. Maybe it’s a silly picture on the internet, a trip to your favorite coffee shop, a walk outside, a dog—whatever makes you happy, indulge and celebrate that thing.
You can’t always be smiling, but pursue things that make you feel lighter, and that energy will spill into your life, and the lives of those you love.