New Year’s Day is a day of hope. When we open our new calendars and planners, we look at the blank pages and see endless possibilities. What if you did that with your attitude and life too? What if each week, each month in 2011, you planned one slight change in your perspective? This month, I am going to offer you five ideas that you may wish to try in order to develop a “New Perspective”.

1. You can only change yourself. In 2011, make the decision to abandon thoughts of changing anyone but you. The only control you really have is over your own response to a given person or situation. You do not have to let another person’s dysfunction cause you distress. When you release your illusion that you can change another, you will have more energy, time and attention to focus on improving your own life.

2. Practice an attitude of “Reframing”. Since we are human, there are going to be times when we are not pleased about a situation or a person. Rather than give a lot of energy, say the least negative statement that is still true and you will find that it will bother you less. For example, instead of using the phrase “I hate”, substitute “I don’t care for” or “I don’t like”. They are gentler words that are still true but evoke less intensity. Two other phrases that I often hear are “this is killing me” or “it is breaking my heart”. What if they were replaced with the phrase “this is challenging”?

3. Make neutral statements about challenging events. Try this exercise. Think about something that you are going to do tomorrow. Put the activity into a sentence and say “I have to __________”. How does your body feel? Burdened or stressed? Now try repeating it using the phrase, “I am going to________”. Notice how much more relaxed your body feels about the same activity.

4. Create a list of “Touchstones”. Write a list of hobbies, places and people that fill you with joy or that you find intriguing and would like to explore. Pull out your new calendar and make a date to do at least one. Keep the list of touchstones handy and choose to do another one on a day that you are bored or sad.

5. Discover your passion. What fills you with enthusiasm? What would you love to do? People rarely excel at tasks they do not feel passionate about. When you attempt to follow someone else’s idea of your “passion”, you produce results but they take more time and energy. When you are living your passion, and doing what God has called you to do, you will find that you excel more effortlessly and elatedly.
You are embarking on a “New” year. It is filled with endless hope and possibilities. What if you were too? I do not believe in New Year resolutions. I think they are unrealistic and burdensome. What I would like to propose is that you take one of the tips above, or write one of your own, and explore it or incorporate it into your life for the next thirty days. See if it helps you develop a “new perspective” and embrace your life more fully.

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses

Author's Bio: 

JoAnne is a sought after and experienced lecturer who believes in the connection of emotional health to body, mind and spirit. She has integrated clinical counseling with holistic techniques and has formalized her knowledge by creating the Journey Back to Self program, a lecture Series which has been adapted for different venues. Her presentation assists individuals in decreasing stress and learning to live a calmer, happier life. Her universal appeal has recently expanded her listening audience to include church groups, yoga studios, women’s groups the corporate world and school systems.