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How to have a positive mental attitude for the New Year

Published:Sunday | December 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Glenford Smith

Having a positive mental attitude is one of the most crucial factors in success. Yet it can be one of the most elusive goals one can have, since so many negative things can happen to us over time.

With 2012 coming to an end, you may have experienced failure in getting a job, a raise, or a promotion. You can however salvage some positives from 2012 which can empower you to achieve even greater things in the New Year. The question is, how do you do it?

Here's the secret: Don't just measure your progress in 2012 by how far you are from your ideal outcomes, but also by how far you've come since January. In other words, how you feel about your career and life achievements is relative to your frame of reference.

Suppose for instance, that your goal for 2012 was to make $10 million in profit in your business, and you made only $7 million. You can choose to focus mostly on the $3 million shortfall and feel discouraged, which is what some persons would do. Or you can focus on making $7 million, which makes you feel positive about yourself, your company, your staff and your customers. That makes a huge difference in how you'll approach 2013.

Take another example: You had a goal of getting a better paying job for 2012, yet you're still stuck in the same old low-paying, deadend one. You can focus on failing to get your ideal job, or focus on the fact of having a job. Also, think about the lessons you learned while trying to get another job during the year - those are invaluable.

This approach to assessing your progress is applicable in every sphere of your life, not just in your career. If you had set a goal to lose fifty pounds in 2012 for instance and you lost just ten, then you can choose what you'll focus on. Choose to dwell on the forty pounds you didn't lose, and you'll feel like a loser, or focus on the 10 pounds you lost, and you'll experience a feeling of accomplishment.


Now, from experience teaching lots of people this simple technique, I can tell you that most simply dismiss this as self-deception. Why should I focus on what I've achieved, when the fact is that I didn't achieve 'XYZ', they insist.

What they fail to grasp however, is that your ultimate power in life, to master how you feel, is your freedom to choose what your experiences mean and what you will focus upon. As Shakespeare's Hamlet said: "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Most people focus on what they've lost, not on what they have left; on their failures, not their successes. That's a big mistake however.

Here's why: Success breeds more success, while failure breeds more failure. By focusing on how successful you've been in 2012, you're setting yourself up for even greater successes in 2013. Have a successful 2013!

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book "From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities". Send feedback to