I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. (And when I say lucky, I mean fortunate.)
I have a career I love, one with purpose and meaning and serves God in a way I was created for, people I love working with, and enough income to not stay up late at night worrying about how we are going to pay the bills (most nights, that is).
But let’s be clear… my life was not always this way.
I spent most of my twenties and thirties living paycheck to paycheck, in a job that had no potential, loving some of my coworkers but barely tolerating some of the people I worked with.
Some of that was just finding my place in the world – it’s what a lot of 20 and some 30-year-olds do. But part of it was not really believing I could be successful in what I wanted to do in my life. It was easier (and safer) to just do the day to day and survive instead of having a hope for a better, more successful future.
When did things finally begin to turn around for me? Was it a job promotion or a new opportunity?
No – it was a planner.
It was a simple, paper planner that, for the first time, I actually used to plan what I was going to accomplish instead of using it like a calendar.
I started to write down my dreams and started turning those into goals.
And this is what I’ve noticed with every successful woman I’ve ever worked with:
Most of them have great teams of people.
Most of them get up early to attack their day.
Most of them have supportive family and friends to encourage them.
But all of them take time away from their crazy, busy, jam-packed days to pull back and plan for what they want.
How to Pull Back and Plan
I call it Pull Back Planning because I have to be intentional about pulling back from my regular life and setting that time aside to plan for my day, my week, my month, my year, and yes, my whole life.
Each day, before I end work, I take a look at what is coming tomorrow to see what I need to plan for, pray for and do. I apply the same principle to my week, month and year.
I love what Dave Ramsey says about budgets: “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” It’s the same with a planner – a planner will help you tell your time where it goes instead of wondering where it went.
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) says:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
I love that verse. But we have to know what we are planning to do in order to pray about it and commit it to God.
I want to give my readers the opportunity to try this out.
My favorite planner this year is Valorie Burton’s The Successful Woman Planner. I love the motivating, clarifying quotes placed throughout the week-at-a-glance page layout, and that Valorie (one of the most successful women I know) has shared her wisdom throughout those pages. It is my go-to planner for 2019.
In order to be entered to win a copy of Valorie’s planner and a $50 gift card to Office Max, simply comment below and tell us the next step to success you want to take.
Offer open to US residents only.
Deadline to enter: January 30, 2019.
A bestselling author and Certified Personal and Executive Coach who has served clients in over 40 states and eight countries, Valorie Burton has written nine books on personal development, including Successful Women Think Differently and Happy Women Live Better. She is the founder of The CaPP Institute, providing tools and training that build resilience, well-being, and productivity for life and work.
She has been a regular contributor on CNN, HLN, and the Today show, where she gives practical career and life advice. She has also been featured in and on The Dr. Oz Show, NPR, Oprah Radio, Ebony, Essence, “O” The Oprah Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, and hundreds of others. Valorie’s corporate clientele includes multi-million dollar businesses such as Accenture, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Deloitte, General Mills, McDonalds Corp., and many more.
Join 25,000 subscribers to her weekly e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com and visit her company site at www.cappinstitute.com.
When the situations of life don’t “feel” positive, it’s often hard to think positive. But fortunately, it’s not impossible.
Being a positive thinker doesn’t mean living with a Pollyanna/rose-colored glasses mentality. It simply means choosing to intentionally look for the best in things, and find reasons to be positive, rather than intentionally, or even inadvertently, focusing on the negative aspects of people, life and situations.
We can’t control our circumstances, but we can always control our thoughts about them. And when we change the way we think, we in turn change the way feel and live. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (NKJV) Our thoughts determine who we are and how we live our life.
If you have found yourself becoming a negative or pessimistic thinker lately, even if you have lots of reasons to justify that type of attitude, or if you feel like you’ve always been a negative person and think it’s impossible to change, might you consider incorporating a few of these tips into your everyday routines?
6 things positive people do every day
When you invite God to start helping you change the way you think, you’ll notice your perspective and outlook and the way you feel inside will begin changing too. A happier life with more peace, joy and happiness – despite the adversities life – could be as close as one positive thought away.
Express gratitude. Ask God to help you live with an awareness of your blessings. Notice the little things that bring a flutter of joy to your heart – a butterfly, a streak of warm sunshine, the laughter of your child, the hug from a loved one. Try to focus on the things you have, rather than the things don’t have.
Look for beauty. Life can be ugly, and at times we get so caught “seeing” the ugly, we neglect to notice the beauty around us. Take time to really look out the window as you drive today. Notice the blue sky, the green trees, the bunny hopping across the field. Smell the flowers, savor the aroma of dinner on the stove, and feel the softness of your baby’s hair. Beauty is all around us in a million different forms, if only we choose to not overlook it and miss out.
Don’t compare anything to anyone else because doing so not only feeds your insecurities, but because comparison is the thief of joy. You are you, and God made you unique in every way; gifted with abilities, traits and talents that nobody else has. Rather than focusing on how you don’t feel you measure up in some way, most likely against some standard you were never meant to meet, focus on your positive attributes alone.
Don’t overthink problems. The more we overthink a problem – letting our imaginations run wild with worry and fear and stress – the bigger those problems become. Instead of thinking the worst, try to think the best. Instead of focusing on the negatives of a situation, try to think of some positives that might come out of it. If you’re prone to overthink be overly positive. A little too much optimism never hurt anyone.
Change the way you typically think by asking God to help you begin recognizing each negative thought that pops into your mind. Reject that thought, and then think of a more positive true thought instead. Simply put, cultivate optimism in your patterns of thinking. Instead of seeing the glass half empty, intentionally tell yourself to see the glass half full. If you tend to think the worst when a problem arises, intentionally decide you are not going to do that, and try to think of the best case potential scenario instead. Making these practices a habit in your everyday life helps foster an amazing transformation in your brain and thought patterns.
Invite God to be a part of your day, your life and your mind makeover transformation. When we ask for His intervention in our hearts and minds, we open the door for Him to begin an work in us that we could never accomplish on our own. Through His strength and perseverance, we overcome the pull towards negative thinking and retrain our minds to think optimistic, instead of pessimistic. After a few weeks of implementing practical thought control and intentional efforts to be positive, new habits will form are good for us and our lives!
If you want to be a more positive person and live a more positive life, consider trying to do each of these tips every single day. Think positive, be positive, live positive. It’s a lifestyle that’s possible for everyone which always ushers in more peace, more joy, and more happiness!
Tracie is a monthly contributing writer for the Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today daily devotions, which reach nearly one million people per day around the world with encouragement from God’s Word. Tracie has three children and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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