15 Ways To Create A New Attitude

Image via Flickr/ Robert Couse-Baker

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or frustrated with the status quo, no matter where you are in life. And it’s also easy to fall prey to the idea of quick fixes — that is, short-term solutions that too often are the unrealistic equivalent of slapping a coat of Spackle on a gaping hole in a wall. Popular things like New Year’s resolutions, detox diets, juice cleanses and lists of mindless goals aren’t necessarily going to help you become a better person; what can help is taking stock of yourself inside and out and figuring out what — and how — you can change for the better. Here are 15 ways to help you on your way toward thinking in a whole new direction.

1. Do A Life Evaluation

Take stock of where you are now and where you want to be. What’s most important to you? Everyone has goals, dreams, etc., but have you ever actually written them down and prioritized them in order of importance? Looking at physical pieces of paper and figuring out what you want most and what you actually don’t care about can be hugely helpful in figuring out how you want to tackle this new year.

2. Be More Mindful

Mindfulness helps you live in the moment and be more accepting of the things that happen in life. It’s also been linked to less stress and anxiety, as well as better emotional wellbeing. Improving your health will make you feel better, and becoming more aware of the world you live in will open up new avenues of thought that can spark creativity and contentment.

3. Think About All The Things You Don’t Have…

… like a civil war raging in your backyard, or secret police spying on your family or no access to clean water. (Hopefully you do not have any of these things.)

4. Look at the People Around You Who Seem Happiest

Learn from those closest to you. How do they stay focused and positive? How do they accomplish so many things? What motivates them? Emulate their best qualities and you might find yourself becoming more satisfied and productive. Looking at things from a new point of view is a good way to encourage your brain to develop fresh perspective.

5. Go Somewhere

Whether it’s a short vacation, a roadtrip or an extended stay, seeing another part of the country can often be a real eye-opener. There are two ways to jolt yourself out of a rut: either take a vacation somewhere relaxing, which will recharge you mentally and emotionally, or simply go somewhere for the purpose of getting out of your familiar surroundings. Seeing an area that is different from your own will make you see your old comfort zone with new eyes.

6. Figure Out What Makes You Feel Trapped And Depleted

In addition to identifying positive life goals, work on identifying things you want to eliminate. Whether it’s a toxic friendship, a demanding job responsibility or an unhealthy food addiction, figure out the things that are making you miserable and do your best to free yourself.

7. Prioritize Relationships

Do you feel like you never have enough time for the people that are the most important to you? Figure out a way to make more time for them. You’ll not only feel like a time management wizard, you’ll also be happier because you’re not constantly feeling guilty about blowing people off and you’ll have more time to do what you want to do.

8. Try Something New If You Want To; If You Don’t, Don’t

Goals and resolutions are all well and good if they’re things you actually want to do. However, if you feel pressured to lose weight or start an Ayurvedic diet or take up CrossFit classes just because other people keep telling you that you should (or constantly tell you all about their own goals until you pick one just so you can stop feeling like a slacker), those goals are most likely not for you. Do nothing and rejoice in your assertiveness. On the other hand, if you’ve been dying to start taking pastry or painting or martial arts classes for years but always make excuses about time and money and every other thing standing in your way, try making the leap and just doing whatever it is you want to. It may be a totally pointless thing that you do purely for pleasure or learning, but that’s totally fine. Do it because you want to do it.

9. Do Things Even If You’re Not Good At Them

Afraid to take that yoga class because you think you’ll look stupid? Take it anyway. Even if you do look stupid, you’ll still be doing something you enjoy, and you’ll get better at it with time. You won’t get better at things if you never start them.

10. Challenge Yourself

Nothing makes people feel more boring and same-y than continuing the same old routine every day. You don’t have to challenge yourself to climb Mount Everest, but throwing something interesting and new at your routine (like learning a new language or running an obstacle course… or even doing some serious spring cleaning) is a great way to surprise yourself by seeing what you’re willing to try — and what you can actually accomplish once you give yourself the chance.

11. Do Less Multi-Tasking

The experience of giving your full, undivided attention to one thing is an experience that’s slowly becoming lost in a sea of smartphones, Internet tabs, fitness trackers and personal guilt. It’s also an experience that can make you feel more grounded and accomplished, because instead of stressing about finishing the eight things you have to do in the next two hours and doing a crappy job on all of them, you can instead relax and devote yourself entirely to one thing, and will probably do it well.

12. Clearly Define The Things That Energize You

Stress often leads to more stress because we don’t prioritize our wellbeing. Sometimes, we don’t even know how. Making a list of the things that rejuvenate and recharge you, such as taking a walk or talking with a friend, will allow you to set parameters so when you’re feeling stressed, you know what the best outlets are and can more easily recapture your energy without milling around aimlessly.

13. Take Charge

Just to be clear, you can’t take charge of the entire universe… but you can make the decision to be in charge of your life. Instead of feeling like life is something that happens to you and you are at its mercy, look at everything that you have control over. When you feel like things such as stress and your future are manageable rather than being overwhelming, out-of-control beasts that will eat you alive, you’ll feel calmer and more easily able to handle life’s curveballs.

14. Don’t Think In Black And White

When you’re faced with a choice, try to prevent yourself from immediately freaking out about which choice is right and which one is wrong. Rather, think about the actual consequences and results each choice will lead to. In many cases, one won’t be any better or worse than the other; they’ll simply have different outcomes. Decide which outcomes you prefer and roll with them.

15. Ask Yourself Why You Think The Way You Do

Take some time to explore your beliefs and opinions. If you often have knee-jerk reactions to things, ask yourself why that is and how you might go about changing that. Self-awareness leads to self-improvement, because the better we know ourselves, the better we understand how to challenge our own beliefs and act on that information.