1. Highlight what’s right
No matter what tough situation you find yourself in—conflicts with your teen, job worries—focus on what’s going right in your life. Perhaps it’s that your children are healthy or you own the comfiest chair in the world. Doing so causes an emotional chain reaction. When we focus on what’s wrong, we can fall into a downward spiral of negativity. But thinking about what’s working can trend you upward.
Related: Claudia Chan: This is How We Rise
2. Set up a transition
Sometimes it’s difficult to switch from a busy, stressed brain to a relaxed, happy one. Try developing a ritual that allows you to flow from crazed to calm. One of my clients looks forward to her favorite hibiscus tea at 8:30 every night. It’s how she punctuates being off the clock. When her partner asks for the hundredth time, “Where’s my charger?” she smiles and holds up her teacup as if to say, “Not now!” Perhaps you can try putting on headphones and pressing play on your favorite Spotify station or doing yoga poses before you slip into your pajamas.
3. Affirm, affirm, affirm!
Find a power mantra or affirmation you love—stay with me!—but don’t save it just for meditating. Program it as a random alarm on your phone. Put it on sticky notes around your home. Say it just as you are falling asleep at night. Need some ideas? If you want to quit your job, repeat, “New work opportunities are on the way.” If you’re hoping to shed those holiday pounds, try, “I treat my body with care. I am healthy.” You’ll see that repetition can spark a revolution.
4. Make an ask
So often we don’t request things of others because we don’t want to burden anyone or we think what we want is impossible. But in holding back, we’re not just stealing our own joy; we’re also making uninformed assumptions: that there’s no budget for a raise or that the other person won’t scoot over on the train so you can sit down. As a result, we lose before we begin. Because it’s so hard for us to do, I often describe asking for what you want as a superpower. But you can take small steps toward putting on your cape: Ask your boss about working from home one morning or see if a friend can introduce you to a mentor. The more you ask, the easier it gets—and the more great things will flow to you!
5. Just do it
Nothing in life can replace the momentum and magic of taking action. Even when we act in the smallest ways, our life can begin to transform. So check out that new local yoga studio you’ve always driven by. Send an email to that person you’ve thought about having coffee with. Research how to start a blog or a side gig. Then get busy! It’s entirely within your power to make the commitment to take one small action every single day that puts you on track toward actualizing your goals and finding more joy. By this time next year, you’ll be amazed how those 365 little actions have added up to transform your life.
Susie Moore is a life and career coach and author of What If It Does Work Out?