I intend to have only positive thoughts from now on. Such a simple statement and yet it is the root of my entire “Changing my life in 90-days” self-set programme: put bluntly, I am choosing to be happy. For I firmly believe it is a choice. In any given moment or situation you can indulge in a positive or a negative response and from now on I intend to consciously choose positive. I believe the effects will be immediate as the very act of deciding this has made me painfully aware of how many negative thoughts I inadvertently have. This was sobering. But crucially also enlightening. And so, as I believe it takes 90 days to thoroughly embed any new habit, we begin. But, in order to help myself accomplish this, I’ve listed a few tools to help myself…
1. I will stop reading the London Evening Standard on my train journey home from work. It is resolutely downbeat. Every headline seems to scream of death, murder or unhappiness. By not partaking of this catalogue of misery, I don’t believe I’m ignoring the difficulties of the world, I’m choosing to concentrate on sending out compensatory love instead.
2. I will only watch a minimum of deliberately selected television. Nothing arbitrary. And with a tendency towards the romantic or comedic.
3. My body is my most precious asset. I will treat it with the absolute respect it deserves; fuel it with the healthiest foods, and keep it honed and toned with regular exercise. Cycling for cardiovascular health (Boris bikes to/from station to work!), Pilates for strength and suppleness (signed up to a course in January). No sugar. Little salt. Plenty of water. Confirmed now as a non drinker, constant sobriety is intoxicating! I’ll not go mad though, treats are permitted from time to time eg chocolate, but it has to be really good artisan chocolate which I’ll eat slowly and savour.
4. At the end of every day I shall give thanks for all that I have to be grateful for. It’s always way more then we think as we tend to take so much for granted. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
5. No more procrastination!
Even as I write all this I have a few concerns.
1. I will lose my “fun” chip.
2. No one will invite me to parties.
3. I’ll start to bore myself.
4. It could all be a bit Pollyanna-ish and I’ll become supremely irritating.
Uh oh, that was four negative thoughts in a row!
But then, first you have to notice what it is you wish to change, this is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy. In other words, once you are conscious of something, you can affect it. So, I’ve also started a list of the things that make me happy, or smile, and if I feel my mood is slipping, i can think of them and nip the negative in the bud…
1. Stanley Basset.
2. Jackie Wilson’s original, “Your love keeps lifting me higher”.
3. Back to back episodes of David Suchet’s Hercule Poiret
4. Heated blankets and hot water bottles.
5. Proper chocolate.
6. Baking bread.
7. Throwing things away.