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4 tips for staying present on new year's eve

  happy new year ()

"New Year's eve is like every other night;
there is no pause in the march of the universe,
no breathless moment of silence among created things
that the passage of another twelve months may be noted;
and yet no man has quite the same thoughts
this evening that come with the
coming of darkness on other nights."  

Hamilton Wright Mabie


As the quote above says, New Year's eve is a night quite unlike the other 364 nights of the year. It's a night that, no matter where you find yourself, you're much more likely to find yourself reflecting on the twelve months that came before you -- and to wonder about the next twelve months to come. If I had to guess, I'd have to say that New Year's eve is probably one of the hardest days to stay present. With the dawn of a New Year comes the desire to look both forward and backward, making it very hard for anyone to stay in the moment. 

But just because something's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't try! This New Year's eve I challenge you (and myself!) to stay in the moment, to stop reminiscing about the past and pondering the future and to just live 100% in the present. I doubt I've ever had a New Year's eve where I focused on the moment and I'm hoping this year will be the first. Here are some words of wisdom I'm going to give myself as the 31st of December approaches... 


4 Ways You Can Stay Present on New Year's Eve


1. Notice the tiniest details around you. When your mind starts to wander and you cannot possibly believe that you're going to be able to spend an entire night living in the present moment, take a deep breath and look around you. Don't look at the big picture of what's happening but, instead, focus on the tiniest details. What does the floor beneath your feet look like? Who are the people closest to you? What are they wearing? What are you wearing? What does the cloth feel like on your skin? Use your five senses to really take in all of the things happening around you and you'll be instantly be brought back to the present moment. 


2. Acknowledge thoughts of the past and future. Okay, so your mind has made it's way back down the winding paths of the past and the future and you can't seem to bring it back to the now. Everyone around you is talking about what happened over the past year or sharing their New Year's resolutions with you and staying in the present seems next to impossible. Here's what you need to do: acknowledge the past and future thoughts in your head. Give them a moment to shine in your mind. Then imagine them floating away from you, like fast-moving clouds in a summer sky. Having given your mind a chance to process these thoughts briefly and imagine them leaving, you'll be much more able to focus on living in the now. 


3. Find a staying present partner-in-crime. If you're surrounded by tons of people talking about what they hope for next year or what they went through this year, it's going to be really hard to get through an evening where you keep your own mind in the present. So, what you need to do is find a staying present partner-in-crime, someone who, like you, wants to stay focused on the now. Having this person by your side will help you both make the most of the moment. When you find your mind wandering, you can ask for reinforcement from your partner and, likewise, you can offer support to him or her. No matter what the goal, doing anything difficult is often best done with a partner. Knowing you have someone else who wants to stay present too will help you both make it through the evening. 


4. Partake in enjoyable activities with loved ones. Staying present is hard enough, but imagine trying to stay present while you're doing something you don't want to be doing! For that reason, it's imperative that you plan a New Year's eve activity that will bring you joy and make you happy to be in the moment. Give some thought to what you'd really, really like to be doing when the clock strikes midnight -- and make plans to do it! Also, do what you can to surround yourself with people you love. Nothing pushes your mind to the past or the future more than being around people you don't like. Do what you love with who you love and your goal to stay present on NYE will be a success! 


Before reading the quote above, I never gave much thought to how hard it is to be present on New Year's eve. While I believe, to some extent, it's healthy to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come, I also believe that, in order to live a truly positive life, you need to do what you can to live in the moment. The customs and culture surrounding New Year's eve makes the goal of being present increasingly difficult to achieve -- but it's not impossible. This New Year's eve I'm going to strive to live in the present and make the most of the last day of the year, and I hope you'll do the same. Remember: the now is all we ever have so we might as well make the most of it! 

Thank you for reading Positively Present this year. 
Your support means the world to me, 
and I hope each and every one of you have
a very positive, very present New Year! 

positive change: operation beautiful

operation beautiful

It wasn't long ago that I came across the website Operation Beautiful and was inspired to make my own inspiring notes (see above). If you're not familiar with the site, it's a great one. Operation Beautiful's mission is to post (and inspire others to post) anonymous notes in public places for other women to find, highlighting the very positive point that we are all beautiful.

As creator of the site Caitlin says, "The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or 'Fat Talk.'  If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is  — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Through my own experiences fighting Fat Talk, I’ve realized the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful.  When I post a note, I’m saying, 'I CHOOSE to be positive!'"

And positive Caitlin is! She's so positive, in fact, that she recently won Amway's Positivity Project. (Though the contest is over, you can still submit your story to the Living Library of positive stories here. And if you're looking for additional inspiration, check out Caitlin's story here and others' stories here.) As the winner of the contest, Caitlin was given $10,000 to pay-it-forward to any organization and she chose Girls On the Run because she believes it "is an amazing, proactive charity that teaches 8-10 year olds how to be in charge of their thoughts and actions.  GOTR really instills a sense of confidence and purpose into young girls, and I love that it helps them realize that exercising can be fun."

After Caitlin's big win, I was lucky enough to get an interview with her to learn more about how she's spreading positivity through Operation Beautiful. Check it out here...

An Interview with Operation Beautiful 

On your website, the stated mission is "to end negative self-talk." Why did you choose to focus on is this issue rather than, say, negativity in general?
  I think the inner voice is so powerful.  It determines how successful and happy you ultimately become, and I believe negative self-talk is something well within each of our control. 


Choosing to be positive is something I am to do on a daily basis. What advice would you offer someone who is striving to be positive?  It's important to replace negative thoughts with something positive but realistic -- this is key. You have to believe yourself!  

If you could choose the most important message to focus on when trying to live positively, what would it be? I think it's important to compare what the media tells us is important (outer beauty) with what we each know is true (that inner beauty is the most important thing). 

You've recently written a book. What can readers expect to find there? The Operation Beautiful book contains 125 really unique and creative notes as well as tips on how to lead a more positive, healthier life.  You can buy it here at Amazon -- it really makes a great gift. 

If you could go back to your younger self, what would you tell her about being positive?  I would tell her that being positive doesn't cost a thing, and its the best thing in the world!


What positive people have inspired you to live a more positive, more beautiful life? I am inspired by Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run. She is so loving and thoughtful and has grand visions for changing the definition of beautiful in our society.


Why do you think a note from a stranger can have a positive impact on a person's esteem? I think it makes people smile when they realize how much goodness there is in the world. The idea that someone would do this for a stranger is so uplifting. Also, people place these notes in locations where negative self-talk often occurs, such as the bathroom mirror, the scale, or the changing room at the gym.  


What's your favorite Operation Beautiful note story? My favorite story is Vit's.  A teenager in Canada, Vit was in a treatment center for severe anorexia.  Her doctors were concerned that it was going to eventually kill her.  -She slipped into the bathroom to throw up her lunch and found an Operation Beautiful note on the stall.  The simple message -- "You are good enough the way you are" -- made her pause and reconsider her destructive behavior. She followed up with me a few months later and said she was out of the hospital and healthier than ever. 


Why do you think so many women struggle with self-esteem issues?  These is a lot of negative messaging in our society, and the issues start young -- did you know the average girl goes on her first diet when she's 8 years old?  The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. It's time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn't even exist in the real world. It's OK to look like a human!


Do you think the media will ever change their attitude towards promoting healthy body image? I think society needs to ask them to change, and then I hope they will listen to consumers. 


What do you hope for the future?  There is a lot of negative messaging in our society.  The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. It's time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn't even exist in the real world.  It's OK to look like a human!


How can readers learn more about Operation Beautiful and become involved in making the world a more positive place? Head over to for the latest and greatest notes, as well as information on how you can send in a note!

If you enjoyed reading this interview with Caitlin feel inspired after visiting her site, I'd highly recommend buying a copy of the Operation Beautiful book here. I was fortunate enough to win it in a giveaway and I've enjoyed the inspiration from it ever since. And, of course, if you haven't already checked out Operation Beautiful you should do so to find out more about how you can be part of this beautiful, inspiring movement! 


words to live by: christmas spirit


christmas spirit()


 “The Christmas spirit that
goes out with the dried-up Christmas tree
is just as worthless”



Though Christmas 2010 is officially over, I hope you remember to keep the spirit of Christmas with you all year long. "Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter