Why I Am Optimistic About 2012 (And How You Can Be Too)

Seattle is about to enter what I call ‘The Long Slog’.  As in, the long slog to summer.  And since summer doesn’t really start until after the 4th of July (you know what I’m talking about), we are talking 6 months from today!

I have had to train myself to be an optimistic person.  It does not come easy nor naturally.  But it definitely is a better way to live this life than one of focusing solely on what has, or is, or might yet, go bad.

Economy: While it’s hard to say with certainty what the year will be like, why not just assume it will be good?  Really, think about it: What do you have to lose by just looking forward and hoping that it will be a good year for your industry and for you personally?  Nothing stays bad permanently, and we have already been through 4 bad years of this economic cycle. True, it may continue to be dampened, but why not look at this with optimism and say ‘I am going to continue on my path of saving for my future and view it as buying stuff (e.g. assets) on sale’.

Caveat: This is not me advocating that you not pay attention to your asset mix and set accordingly for the year; this is me focusing more on the psychological component of being optimist about the economy.

Year of Being Happy: Actually, that’s misleading since I don’t believe in focusing on happiness. I believe in focusing on purpose.  I believe in finding how I can be useful to other people, and that happiness will flow from that.  This doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes old behaviours or old ways of thinking crop up, but I honestly feel that meaning doesn’t come from happiness, but from purpose, and that happiness will flow from it if I am just patient enough.

Our Government Will Start To Take All These Entitlements Seriously: And they will actually start to do something about it, regardless how painful! This is criteria #1 in my book. This really needs to get addressed NOW. It probably won’t happen though because it’s an election year. Hopefully that’s not me being a pessimist.

Less News and Less Internet: My husband bought me an iPad for Christmas.  I had been holding out because, really, do I need to spend yet more time wasted online?  And while I like the accessibility it affords, I found myself glued to it last weekend for several hours, just looping and wasting my time and getting sort of depressed.  I am not going to do that anymore.  I already spend my working day in front of a monitor, I don’t need it sucking up my evenings and weekends.  And while I don’t watch any TV except when I am at the gym (exception being DVDs of my favourite shows), I am intentionally going to stay away from any news shows online. 98% of it doesn’t add to my life in any quality way, so why am I wasting my time with it? So, no celebrity crap, no news (ok WSJ but only for 5 minutes) and limited internet activity.

Shake Up the Routine! No Coffee Until After 12: I have been drinking coffee every morning for so long now, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.  So starting this week I stopped.  I allow myself to have some decaff in the afternoon, and that’s it.  Guess what? I found that I enjoy coffee again! I  look forward to it, I savor it now, and it lifts me in the afternoon when I really need a mental boost.

365 Opportunities To Get It Right: We all have things we are improving on and striving towards.  Some of these things might be discouraging, because maybe we have been working on them for years, or as long as we can remember. But don’t give up, ever! You have a clean slate every day, a new opportunity To Get It Right.  And if you slip, don’t lose heart: Sometimes there are things we are meant to learn to live with, that might be with us our whole lives.  But learning to live with it is a way To Get It Right.  Just try every day and cut yourself some slack when you fall down.  But be sure to pick yourself back up the next day and try again.

I hope you are optimistic about how you envision this year for yourself.  Even though I am a huge goal setter there are things I too get discouraged about and lose heart over.  But every day is a new day, just like every year is a new year.

Why not expect great things to happen?