A Goal of Optimism
by Tamara Martfeld
This is New Year’s Eve, the day many people make New Year’s Resolutions. As I have stated in the past, I think that New Year’s Goals are more effective and likely to be accomplished.
I suggest optimism as a goal for this year. If you are like the average person on New Year’s Eve you already have a good start. Many look to the start of a new year as a clean slate where anything is possible. They forgive whatever has been done to them in the past years and start fresh. They look at any non-successes (many call them failures) of the past year, find the lessons in those experiences, and then move on. They look to the new year with hope and optimism that it will the be best year of their life. If you are not already looking at the new year with these actions, this can be your first step – to embrace these actions as part of your new year.
Starting tomorrow, look for at least one good thing in every day. This one good thing can be something fantastic such as winning the lottery or as mundane as recognizing that the sun came up, even if it is hidden by some clouds. Ideally, get a calendar and write down that good thing on that day on the calendar. Try not to repeat the good thing that you observed. For example, if the good thing was the sun rising, try to find something else for each of the days for the rest of the year. You can still have something mundane and routine, just no repeats. Other good things you might notice are your good health, having a job or being able to obtain some sort of assistance if you do not have a job, having food to eat or a place to stay, or the fact you are even alive.
Once you are in the habit of finding one good thing in every day start to find the good in some of the not-so-good things in your day. The car did not start? Perhaps you found a new way to work, discovered a support network you did not know you had, found a new friend (the one who helped you out), or avoided a major accident on the route because you were not at that location as you would have been. Bad day at work? Perhaps you found a friend in a co-worker who gave you sympathy or an outlet for your frustration, learned a new way not to do something, or found relief that every day is not like this one. The weather not your ideal? Remember that rain washes everything, helps things grow, and brings rainbows; wind clears the air and spreads seeds; sun helps things grow and warms the earth; and snow covers the imperfections of the landscape making everything beautiful and gives kids a reason to stay home from school. Of course, each type of weather also has its drawbacks, but we are focusing on the good.
Once you have mastered finding the good in the not-so-good things in your day, focus on finding good in the absolute worst thing that happened in your day. Unfortunately, to do this you need to temporarily focus on everything that was bad in the day to find the worst thing that happened – fortunately it won’t be that obvious every day. However, once you master finding the good in these situations and get into the habit of doing so you will find yourself becoming more optimistic overall. Bad situations happen to everyone, but it is how you look that those situations that determine your outlook on life.
If you do the exercise finding the good in every day and in many situations and write them down on a calendar or other type of journal, at the end of the year you can review your year and find that it was truly a good one in spite of anything bad which happened. As a matter of fact, unless something traumatic happens to you this year you will find that you will have trouble remembering the bad things which happened.
As you can see, this is not a resolution but rather a goal to reach – the ability to see the good in every situation. When you can see the good in every situation you have taken a huge step in becoming more optimistic. Optimistic people tend to find the good side of whatever is happening. If you miss a day, so be it. It is not a tragedy. Start again the next day, or if you can, go back and fill in the blanks.
If you really want to enforce this habit and make it even better, once you find the good in each day be grateful for it. If you believe in a higher power, thank that higher power for the good you have been given. A habit of gratefulness also leads to an optimistic outlook because you recognize the things in your life for which to be grateful.
Also remember that January 1 is not the only “New Year’s Day” – every day starts a new year. Whether you make resolutions or goals, you can always start again if you are not successful the first time.
I wish you a wonderful and optimistic new year, and I hope your goals, resolutions, and dreams for the next year all occur.