“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Abe Lincoln was right. Attitude is everything.
A bad attitude is like wearing a blindfold around your face on a cruise through the French Riviera. It’s like tying your ankles together the day of the big race, after training for six months. It’s like buying expensive cookware, leaving it in the box, and just using some aluminum foil on the burner instead.
You’ll still get results. You’ll hear the waves crashing and smell the salty air. You’ll feel the energy as the crowd cheers when the gun goes off and you’ll get the bib and the t-shirt. You’ll be able to tell your friends what nice cookware you just bought and you’ll still have hot food on the table.
But did you really get what you truly wanted? Are you getting the full experience? Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Are you utilizing all your resources to their highest potential?
What does a bad attitude give us? Why do we often allow ourselves to have one?
Protection from the truth.
“No, you don’t understand, I had a blindfold on!” (who put it on?)
“Yea, I didn’t complete the race, but my legs were tied!” (who tied them?)
“Sorry the food burned, but all I had was aluminum foil.” (who left the cookware in the boxes?)
From coaching hundreds of men and women the past few years as a holistic health counselor, I would like to suggest that a bad attitude can sap us of our joy, our energy, our progress, and our ability to transform our health quicker than almost any trigger out there.
Attitude is something that no matter what has happened to us in our past, what’s happening in the present, or what we think may happen in our future, we have control over. No one controls our attitude but us.
Kevin talks all the time about mindset and psychology and our general attitude is a big part of that. If you want to get and keep a body and life you love, here’s 7 checks you should run to audit your attitude.
Audit #1: Are you taking 100% responsibility for your attitude?
As a kid I’d be sitting in the back of my mom’s van and I’d hit my little brother for something he would say or when he was purposely annoying me. “I couldn’t help it Mom!” I’d scream.
Sorry, young Zach: TOTAL B.S.
Tired of getting grounded, I distinctly remember the moment I decided to raise my level of maturity and told myself, “You know what, I am going to just smile and be kind to my brother no matter what he does, even if it kills me.”
Guess what? The fun of trying to get a rise out of me went away and he stopped bothering me almost immediately. It was one of the very first times I felt the power and results of taking responsibility for my attitude.
In health, you control whether you look at going to bed early as a good or bad thing. You control whether you believe you can learn how to cook and prepare your meals. You control how you react from a bad day at work and whether or not you’ll still complete the workout you have on your calendar.
No amount of listing out positive affirmations, journaling, or reviewing goals can even come close to the power of simply deciding to change your attitude. And yes, in many cases it’s just a decision. It’s not always an easy decision, but it’s a decision nonetheless.
Audit #2: Are you giving generously?
We live in a culture where catchphrases like “survival of the fittest,” “every man for himself,” “dog eat dog,” and “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” permeate our psyche. While there are benefits that come with statements like this, taking any one of these to the extreme is a recipe for isolation, depression, fear, and a lack of support all around you.
By giving generously, you are inviting the law of reciprocity into your life. The law of reciprocity simply explains that that when someone gives you something you feel an obligation to give back and vice versa.
The more you use the law, the more opportunities you’ll have to receive favors, random acts of kindness, and encouragement back from those that you gave it to. Nothing feels quite as good as receiving unexpected deposits in your health bank account throughout your day!
Giving is one of the quickest ways to get out of your own head and feel good. Receiving unexpected help along the way can make a huge difference in results and happiness. Cultivate an attitude of giving.
Audit #3: Are you approaching things with a happy outlook?
Happy simply means, “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” How often do you choose not to celebrate the dozens of little wins you have throughout the day? How often do you approach a day or a goal or a situation with a lack of contentment? This isn’t about pretending to be happy and pretending like life isn’t hard, it’s about choosing to give more attention to the good than the bad.
Study after study shows that while we all may have a certain “set-point” of happiness, by choosing to do things like smiling more often, incorporating mindfulness into life’s little moments throughout the day, practicing compassion, listening to positive music, and celebrating the good things that happen, we can drastically alter our life experience for the better.
I must tell you, without a doubt, my clients and the Rebooters here that strive to live each day with a happy outlook get infinitely better long term results when creating the body and life they love. Think about it. Choose it.
Audit #4: Are you focusing on finding solutions or just complaining about problems?
Life is full of problems. Decide that you want to work towards having a body and life you love and those problems often seem to multiply (at first, anyway). When this happens, we have two choices: focus on the problem or focus on the solution.
An attitude of “I am finding a solution” versus “look at how big my problem is” will yield vastly different results. We see this time and time again in different areas of our life…
In relationships, people who focus on problems achieve divorce while people who focus on solutions often find healthy conflict resolution.
In business, people who focus on problems stay small. People who focus on solutions get raises, promotions, and corner offices.
It’s not always about resources. People always see a lack of resources as a problem. I’d much rather have resourcefulness so that I can win regardless of my circumstances. That’s an attitude. That’s a mindset.
Audit #5: Are you cultivating and fostering a sense of humor?
I have a pretty good sense of humor. I have always been the guy that if something that might normally set someone off happens to me, I usually can just laugh. I’m not sure if this was God-given or trained at a young age, but it has served me well.
To best illustrate this point, I want to share a quick story. I was in Boston for one of my good friend’s weddings. He was getting married at the Harvard Chapel. It was quite a “ritzy” affair.
I had missed the Men’s Warehouse tuxedo pick up from oversleeping that morning and missed my final fitting. My friend stuck my tux in our hotel room and we went canoeing in the Charles River that afternoon. We cut it way too close and had five guys who had to shower, shave, get changed, and make the 15 minute walk down to the Chapel by 5:30pm.
At 5:10pm, I pulled out my tuxedo. As I got ready to pull my pants up, I noticed a problem. They felt…off. Come to find out, these were size 48, a ways off from the size 34 they were supposed to be.
My friends all fell over crying and choking laughing. And then things got real. I had to make a decision. “What do I do? I look like a complete fool. Should I call and complain? What’s that going to do, the wedding starts in less than 20 minutes?!”
After a few seconds of deliberation, I made my choice. I could have been super upset and frustrated, but instead, I went with it. I started dancing in the pants and we ran down the street almost tripping laughing and made it into the wedding.
I was scared that people might judge me negatively, like I had done it on purpose, but I ended up being THE HIT of the wedding wearing these oversized clowns pants! The dance floor? I owned it. My friends and the bride and groom STILL love laughing about it almost 6 years later and it was a great lesson in the power of attitude.
There are countless areas of life where you might be a bit too serious. Try injecting more of a sense of humor, levity, and fun into those areas and see what happens.
Audit #6: Are you offering thanks before and after meals?
One of the practices I was most grateful to learn in my health coaching education was mindful eating. Not only did mindful eating remind me of the fact that I was putting the building blocks of my new cells in my body each bite I took, but it also put me in touch with just how fortunate I am to have food at all!
According to the United Nations, 21,000 people die every single day from hunger, mostly children. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but that realization had quite the positive effect on me. I realized that since I COULD eat healthy in this country, I probably should. I now try to actively cultivate an attitude of gratitude around my food and it helps in many areas!
Audit #7: Are you embracing change?
There are a group of researchers who promote a philosophy called “Do Something Different.” They’ve found that by asking people to embrace change in small areas of their life as a practice (such as taking different routes to work), those same people are able to embrace large changes with much less anxiety.
Trying to create a healthy lifestyle while resisting change is impossible. The goals you have for yourself require changes in behavior and mindset. The goals, themselves, are change. An aversion to change can end up sabotaging someone’s entire journey when things start to get real. In the beginning, an aversion to change creates a paralyzing resistance that makes it hard for people to simply put one foot in front of the other.
The only constant in life is change. Resistance to that means resistance to life itself. That’s not a recipe for success.
Use the comments section to tell us which of these areas resonated with you most. Which attitude adjustment will you be putting your most energy towards first?