uncovering the difference between cheerful and positive
5 tips for trumping tragedy with positivity

the to-do list for living a positive life

"Yeah, It's been a ride...
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there..."

"Not Afraid"

Next month it will be Positively Present's two-year anniversary and thinking about that has made me pause and reflect on how things used to be and how they are now. Before I started this site, I was in a particularly low place in my life. I didn't think I would ever come out of it, and most of the time I didn't even care. But, for whatever reason, two years ago something inside me demanded a change and I started working on living a more positive and present life. I knew I needed to be living my life differently and, in order to do that, I knew a lot of things about the life I was living would have to change. 

It has not been easy -- at ALL. Since I started this site, I've made a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of changes in my life in an attempt to make every day more positive and to live more in the present. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be living the life I currently am, I never would have believed her. So much has changed but, oddly enough, all of these changes have brought to a place where I am more of who I am. It has taken me awhile to get out of the place where I was so unhappy, but I've made a lot of strides in the right direction and every day I'm making process. 

If, as Eminem's quote implies, you find yourself in a place where you're not living a positive life, where you're unhappy and wanting to get out of where you are and into another place, take a look at the To Do list I've created below for living a positive life. These are the things that I've done to get to me to where I am now. Some days I'm still struggling, still seeking something, but when I reflect on how far I've come, I can't help but give credit to all of the changes that have made my life so much better. If you add these items to your daily To Do list, I can guarantee that you'll find your way out of a negative place and into a positive one. 


Top 10 To-Do's for a Positive Life


1. Stop doing the things that make you unhappy. This is number one on the list for a reason. Too often we spend time and energy doing things that make us unhappy and too often we don't make the connection between what causes our unhappiness. Look at your life carefully. Are you doing anything that makes you unhappy? When you find yourself at your lowest points, is there anything you can pinpoint that has caused the low point to occur? Often there are patterns that we just don't admit to. Take an extra close look at any alcohol or drug use because these are too often the cause of serious unhappiness and negativity. 


2. Surround yourself with people who bring you up -- not down. Just like you must look at the actions your taking and choose not to do things that cause you unhappiness, you must also choose not to be around people that cause you to be unhappy. Sadly, too many people surround themselves with individuals that don't bring them up. If you find that people in your life are bringing you down -- yes, even family members or significant others -- you have to find a way to separate yourself from them. If you want to live a truly positive life, you must be surrounded by positive influences. 


3. Invest some serious time in self-love and soul searching. If you want to live a positive life, you must know what it is that you stand for and what matters to you. The only way to go about learning to love yourself is to invest time in it. It might sound silly to some, but finding true love for yourself and really knowing who you are is essential for living your most positive life. Before you can love anyone or anything else fully, you must first love yourself. Don't ever think about self-love or soul searching as a waste of time because, honestly, it is such a valuable asset to living life positively. 


4. Spend your time doing the things you love to do. Once you've rid your life of doing things that make you unhappy, you'll suddenly have a lot more free time on your hands. What to do with that all that free time? Spend it doing things you absolutely love to do. Take a moment to think about the times you are the happiness. What are you doing during those times? It doesn't matter if it's a silly thing or something that other people don't quite get. What matters is this: if something makes you genuinely happy, you should spend time doing it. 


5. Revise the way you look at the world around you. When going from a negative outlook to a positive one, I really had to spend time thinking about the way I was looking at things. The way you see the world around you is a choice. You can choose to look for the good or you can choose not to. It's completely and entirely up to you. Once I realized this, I understood that it didn't make much sense to focus on the bad things in life. Sure, I had to acknowledge them, but I certainly didn't need to dwell on them. Change your point of view and your whole life will change too. 


6. Be open-minded to new (or old!) ideas of living a positive life. I used to be the kind of girl who would scoff at an article like this, thinking these kinds of ideas were pretty much bullshit. However, the more I started opening my mind to new ideas, the more I started realizing that there are a lot of awesome people out there in the world living positive lives and, really, why shouldn't I listen to them? If someone has been successful with an idea for living a positive life, it's at least worth considering. Every idea might not work for you, but having an open mind really helps lead to a positive life. 


7. Stop beating yourself up about the past. For too long, I spent way too much time thinking about, revisiting, and quite literally going backward into the past. It was pointless and painful, but for years I did it and caused myself (and others) a great deal of unhappiness. Hard as it is to admit sometimes, the past is over. Going back to it or fretting about it or beating yourself up over it does absolutely nothing. Yes, you can look at your past and learn from it, but you do not need to continue to blame yourself for it or revisit it constantly in your mind. What's done is done. The sooner you learn from it and move on, the better. 


8. Don't seek happiness outside of yourself in things or people. One of the things I always used to do was seek happiness outside of myself. If I was feeling unhappy or drowning myself in negativity, I would look outside myself for a solution. But, ultimately, no matter what I turned to, the negativity within me remained. It might be tempting to rely on other people for your happiness or turn to habits like shopping, eating, or drinking to quell your negative state of mind, but, believe me, those outside things never do the trick. You must seek happiness and positivity within yourself. It really is the only way to truly live a positive life. 


9. Believe you have the ability to change your own life. This can be a hard one for many people. Over and over again they think or say the worst two words I used to be so familiar with and now dread: "I can't..." The second you let yourself think that way about changing your life, you're setting yourself up for failure. If you don't believe you can change your life, then it's going to be pretty hard to actually do it. Believing in yourself sounds so cliche, but there's a reason that concept has stuck around for so long. Without it, you'll paralyze yourself and living a positive life will be pretty darn impossible.


10. Refuse to give up, no matter what happens or what people say. A lot of people look down on those trying to better their lives. Perhaps it is jealousy or fear or just plain ignorance, but for whatever reason, people may judge you. When you strive to change your life -- even if you do only one thing on this list -- there may be people that criticize you or attempt to stand in your way. Don't let them. Don't let anyone or anything come between you and living the life you want to be living. Remember that, no matter what, this is YOUR life. If you want to live it positively, do it and don't let anyone or anything stand in your way. 


As much as I'd advise you to do every one of the things on this To Do list, I know from experience how hard even one of these things can be. It takes a lot of hard to work to live a positive life, especially if you're struggling with negativity. But know this: even if you do one thing on this list, your life will improve. And you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. If you want to live a positive life, do it. There may be obstacles and it may be hard to get from that negative place to a positive one, but, believe me, all of the work will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it because nothing is better than loving the life you're living. 


How do YOU live a positive life?
What would you add to this To Do list? 



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Thanks for sharing this. Making huge changes in our lives can be scary and intimidating. I think that's why we sometimes stay stuck where we are. But once we get past the fear we can move on to a happier place. Your tips are wonderful. Simple but profound. Thank-you!


Dandy - Thanks for your comment! Life changes can definitely be intimidating and I hope that sharing my story and offering some tips will help some people make positive changes in their lives. Thanks again for reading Positively Present!

Number 9 is so important. You really can change your life. Just don't be afraid of change. It can be intimidating but can end up being the best thing you've ever done for yourself!

Molly - Yes it is! Too often people don't believe they can change and it's that not believing that holds them back from making any progress at all. Change, as I know all too well, can be a very scary thing, but it's often the only choice when it comes to living the life you want to live.

> Every idea might not work for you, but having an open mind really helps lead to a positive life
Well put, and so true.

We have to find our own paths, but learn and draw from others.

love 8 and 9. very important.

J.D. - I'm glad you like that line! I've had a lot of experience with that because I read a lot of books and articles on positivity, but not all of them are easy for me to relate to. It's important for people to find what works for them and not try to adhere to every single belief others have. Thanks for your comment!

Reka - Thank you! I agree that those are two of the most important aspects for living a more positive life.

Number 10 is the one to me that really count. Refuse to give up. Of course the other 9 tips are right one, but if you want to make changes in your life you can never give up. Giving up only means you will never know.

Debbie - #10 is absolutely essential if you want to live a positive life. We're all faced with obstacles when it comes to positivity and it's crucial never to give up. Thanks for your comment!

Yes you have summed it up nicely! The list goes on and on. I like to say "stop and return" the minute my mind wanders from the present. This way every aspect of life comes into changing my way of living. The real "me" comes to the surface in a seemingly effortless manner. I love the refernce to Eminem!

Thanks for sharing so honestly about your journey - I can relate for sure.

I especially like the part in #10 about not listening to others. I think it's critical we listen to our own inner voice, to follow our the passions in our heart, to do what's right for us, and to walk our own path. Too often we listen outside of ourselves instead of what's inside. Takes courage but boy, it feels good!

that's quite a motivating song, i listened to it, thank you for the inspiring post :)

Derrick - I like the idea of "stop and return." That's a really great concept when it comes to living in the present moment. I'm so glad you liked the Eminem reference! That song has been really inspiring for me!

Actions for Good - You're welcome! I'm so happy I was able to share my experiences with you and that you could relate to the. As you noted, #10 is so important because if we don't listen to our own hearts, we won't necessarily be doing what's truly right for us.

Farouk - I'm glad you checked out the song. It's definitely been motivating me lately and I'm glad I was able to share it. Thanks for the comment on the post!

Greetings Dani! :)

Finding Positively Present last year was one of the best things I've found and done for myself while on the internet. This is my first comment - I'll be commenting a bit more now.

The ten to-do things are what I've been doing in the last few months. I suppose one thing to add would be to periodically laugh at things. Laughing is so lovely.

Yours truly,

This is great, thanks for the post! I stumbled across your blog randomly and ironically, I have had a very similar experience in "finding positivity" within myself and my own life. I think #8 & 9 are particularly true, as those were certainly the toughest obstacles for me to overcome in this year and a half journey. I, too, started a blog to inspire happiness and positivity and dammit it worked! I love finding other peoples success stories as well. Too cool!

Below is a comment V.E. attempted to leave on the blog:

I have a question about #2, which is: how do I do that? I have a couple close best friends who are, plainly put, total downers. The first is the kind of guy who would refuse to let me go if I said I wanted space. Luckily for me, I guess, we don't currently live in the same state, so I really only have to deal with him when he's in town, but he's threatening to move back home, something which I REALLY do not want because it would mean fielding his calls and advances that much more often.

The other guy is... also a downer. But in this case, I promised him I would never abandon him. If I pull back from hanging out with him (which is a drain on me at the moment), he will see that as an indication that I'm about to stop talking to him altogether (a worry probably not that unjustified), which would be exactly what he feels everyone else in his life has already done.

I love both these guys like brothers, but they complain almost nonstop and are generally difficult to be around. It's been at the point of "ugh I just can't hang out today" for months (maybe years?) now, but neither of them have ever gotten the hint. So my question is, how do I do #2 without hurting someone else? Or should I just accept that, when I do #2, I'm probably going to hurt someone else and start the extraction process now?

Thanks for your blog,

Debbie - Yay! I'm so happy you found Positively Present and you enjoy reading it! Thank you so much for reading and stopping by to leave a comment. :) Laughing is a great addition to that list. Thanks for bringing that up.

Candice - So happy you randomly stumbled across the site and could relate to what I've been going through. Living a more positive life is tricky, and it's great to know I'm not the only one out there trying to do it! It's amazing how much blogging can help with positivity. I'm looking forward checking out your site.

V.E. - Thanks so much for your comment. You bring up a great point and are in a situation that I'm sure a lot of people are struggling with -- how to deal with negative people you don't want to completely get rid of. It can be really hard to deal with this situation, but it's possible to make the best of it. Check out this article for some ideas: http://www.positivelypresent.com/2010/08/6-tips-for-staying-positive-around-negativity.html.

This is important guidance for anyone who wants to feel better about their life and their situation.

SEA - Thanks so much for your comment. Glad you found this post to be useful!

Really loved the first one.Stop doing things that make you unhappy.I used to be a chain smoker few months back i promised myself every morning that i will quit.Never kept the promise and trust me it feels like hell when you break promises every day.Fast forward 2 months ,I am smoke free and it feels great.Really liked your post.

Dev - Thanks! I'm glad you could relate to #1 on a personal level. Good for you for quitting smoking! I know how hard that is, but it's an amazing accomplishment!

These are fantastic tips. I hope you don't mind that I've shared these on my FB page "The Journey of Living Deliberately' at http://t.co/lhLb9MT.

Wenny - Thank you! I don't mind at all. Thanks so much for sharing them!!

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