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29 Positive-Thinking Tips from My 29 Years

It’s my birthday week. Yay!

I’m turning 29 on Friday, and man, am I gearing up for a stellar year! I can’t wait to tell you more about my plans as they’re coming to fruition quite quickly here.

Last year, I posted 28 Trainer-y Tips from My 28 Years, but this year I wanted to go in a different direction. Since Strong Inside Out is no longer strictly a fitness site, I want to incorporate more of what the last year has involved.

Today, I’m going to give you the best of the best positive-thinking tips from 29 years of implementing them all myself. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me in my life!

1. Breathe. No matter how tough the situation, breathing is the best way I’ve found to ground myself back in the present, and calm even the harshest emotions.

2. Take time for yourself. If I don’t get at least one day a week in silence, just to sit and recharge, I get super stressed out. I get anxious and even a little panicky. Even if you don’t feel this way when you spend time alone, it’s important not to spread yourself too thin. Choose the things that are most important to you and concentrate on those; give those things your all. It’s better to be fully committed to a few things, than half-assing your way through a lot.

3. Comparing yourself to others is wasted energy. You are unique. Comparing your being to others’ in beauty, brains, fitness, or anything else is a losing battle. You will never be like everyone else because you are not meant to be. Trying to be “normal” is a waste of the awesomeness that you are. Embrace those quirks that make you different and stop should-ing your life away!

4. Don’t be afraid to be excited!!! I’m an enthusiastic person. I get excited, I strike random poses, and I laugh loudly. When you enjoy life and allow yourself to show the happiness you feel when you’re feeling it, it becomes contagious. Your enthusiasm could brighten someone else’s day.

5. Reach out. Feeling down? Talk to someone. It helps soooo much. I don’t know what I’d do without my support system. If you feel guilty for reaching out for help, please know that your cheerleaders want you to feel better. They’re here for you because how you feel and who you are is important to them. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to them, talk to a professional who is qualified to help.

6. Keep your eyes on the prize. If you’re having a hard time achieving your goals, take a step back and remind yourself why you’re working so hard. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture if our present is a struggle. Remembering that there is a light at the end of the tunnel–that this struggle is for a reason–can help get us through even the darkest times.

7. Don’t be afraid to give up a dream. Giving up my “dream” of acting was one of the best things I did on my journey to finding happiness. Sometimes, old dreams become nightmares, causing much negativity that can tear your life apart. Let go of your stubbornness and have the courage to look at the endless mud you’re trudging through from the outside. Is what you’re fighting for worth it?

8. Give yourself a break. You are not perfect. No one is. But that’s ok because perfect is quite boring if you ask me. :) Don’t be so hard on yourself for failures; realize that they help you grow stronger and move on.

9. Be ok with not being ok. Everyone has times of weakness. If you resist them, pretending like it’s not happening, it’s bound to get worse, festering away inside of you. Feel the pain and know that you’ll come out of it stronger.

10. Prove it to yourself. Nothing solidifies the belief that you can overcome anything like going through it. Those tough times are a chance to prove to yourself that you’re a fighter. Make each time after this easier to get through by showing yourself that you can now.

11. Get creative. I write. Others draw, play music, assemble collages, act, paint, knit, etc. Having a creative outlet is a great way to get all those pent-up emotions out of your system so that you have the space to become more positive.

12. Make a mantra. Mantras help me through so much of my day. I use them in workouts, in trying situations, and even in the ones where I just really want to do well. Mantras serve as highly personal reaffirmations to get you back on track when you start to veer off. My favorite? “I am strong enough.”

13. Keep score of your wins. When I have my clients keep food journals, I ask them to write down all the exercise they get in as well as their “opportunity meals,” because I want them to be able to look back and see how they’ve progressed. Keep a record of all your accomplishments so that, in those times you’re feeling stalled or like you’re back-tracking, you can look back and see your achievements on paper.

14. Be grateful. For what you have. For the potential to have what you don’t have. For the lessons you’ve learned. For the strength you’ve earned. For the life you have.

15. Eat clean, think clean. Whenever I eat like crap, I feel like crap. My head gets all muddy and I have trouble redirecting my thoughts in a positive direction. I’ll spare you all the chemical and hormonal details of why eating is directly linked to cognitive function, and I’ll just tell you that, well, it is. If you ingest over-sugared, processed, chemically crap, you’re going to have trouble focusing on the positive (or focusing altogether). Instead, aim for a diet of foods that are as close to the source (ground, tree, sky, ocean, etc) as possible.

16. Surround yourself with people you want to be like. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Make yourself awesome by hanging out amidst awesomeness! Supportive, encouraging, and loving friends and family will help you be a more positive person. With their help, you’ll surely become the person you want to be.

17. Cut the cads. If you’re hanging out with people who drain you, tear you down, or just don’t value your friendship, you’re being influenced by their behavior whether you like it or not. These people can drag you down and try their hardest to keep you from living the positive life you deserve… if you let them. Don’t let them. Fire them before you get dragged too far down the wrong hole.

18. Tell yourself you’re worth it… and believe it! Now, I’m not talking mirror work here. I’m talking just straight believing that you deserve happiness and positivity in your life. You are worthy of the life you want simply because you are here fighting for it. Never forget it.

19. Make a vision board (aka join Pinterest). I have been making vision boards for years! Not only are they fun to make, but looking at them is a surefire way to bring me up if I’m feeling down. Gather together a bunch of magazine pictures, words that inspire you, or even little souveniers (such as key chains, coins, or toys) and post them all together to illustrate how you want to live your life. Want an easier, more portable version? Join Pinterest! It’s an awesome resource for us and you can bring it with you everywhere! If you need some ideas, check out my boards by clicking here.

20. Commit to change. Change is hard. It gets uncomfortable at times because we are only comfortable with what we know. In order to achieve change, we must push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Know this going into it, and you’ll save yourself a lot of anguish.

21. Perform a RAoK (Random Act of Kindness). You can talk all you want about being kind, but do you walk the walk? When was your last random act of kindness? I’ll tell you right now that these RAoKs are instant mood-boosters. You can’t give selflessly without feeling a ricochet of positivity right back at you. Pick a small RAoK and do it today.

22. Don’t be afraid to accept kindness. Many of us are afraid to accept help because they see it as a sign of being weak (me included). We must realize that no person is an island. This life thing is a team effort at times and we need others to help us get through it! Accept the gift of kindness from others; let them help you grow stronger.

23. Replace the negative with the positive. I went through years of cognitive behavioral therapy to rewire my thoughts in a more positive direction. One of the key lessons I learned in all that time was to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, instead of simply trying to push out the negative. If I subtracted a negative thought without replacing it with something, my mind would obsess over what I was trying to block, often worsening the situation. Give your mind something else to focus on that is more helpful in nature.

24. Expect less. If you expect a lot from people who just won’t give it to you, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Learn to expect less from certain people, and find other sources to get what you need.

25. Turn off your serious face and get silly. You know what one of my biggest problems used to be? I took myself too damn seriously. When I started being able to make fun of myself in a non-self-deprecating way, I loosened up a lot, stopped getting so stressed out when things didn’t go my way, and started enjoying life a heck of a lot more. Play!

26. Dream big. If you don’t dream big, you can’t live big. Allow yourself to imagine and want lofty goals. Open your life up to the possibility of achieving them and allow that into your life!

27. Sweat it out. You knew I was gonna throw it in here somewhere, right?! I can’t tell you how much fitness has helped me overcome all my obstacles. It’s not just me, either. There’s tons of research that proves that exercise helps combat depression, stress, anxiety and a host of mental disorders. It’ll also help you focus, so you can be on top of your positive-thinking game!

28. Enjoy Life. This may sound simple, but it’s often harder than it seems. Allow yourself to enjoy your life. Be in it. Feel it. The purpose of life is to BE IN IT.

29. TAKE ACTION. You can think as positively as you want, but if you don’t take action to accomplish anything, you’re going to stay right where you are. Talk is cheap. Be the change. Make this your moment.

Woo! That’s a lot of tips! ;)

Thing is, I know there are a ton more out there that aren’t covered here. Could you help me out here?

In the comments below:

What’s a positive-thinking tip that’s helped you overcome obstacles in your own life?

Help a fellow SIO-er and share the wealth!

Looking forward to seeing your tips!

Pics: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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24 responses to “29 Positive-Thinking Tips from My 29 Years”

  1. giggles says:

    Thankyou!letting an old dream die is exactly what i needed to do..its not a dream anymore..but a nightmare!thankyou thankyou thankyou!!

  2. Shola says:

    Hey Amy! To be honest, since I found Strong Inside Out 6 months ago, I usually have been the guy who tends to lurk behind the scenes and quietly soak in the fantastic information here. But do you know what made me jump out of “lurker” status? The very cool fact that we have the exact same birthday (Nov 2nd!) I’ll be 38 on Friday, and I’m fully in “birthday week” mode myself!

    So many of your points resonated with me, but I’m going to narrow it down to the ones that hit me the hardest.

    #3: YES! I believe that the greatest source of unhappiness lies in the constant comparison of ourselves against other people. There will always be people who are smarter than us, drive a nicer car than us, looks better naked than us, (etc). Instead of comparing ourselves against those people, it would make much more sense to compare our current selves to our old selves, so that we can be the best US we can be. Even better than that, I’m all for accepting ourselves unconditionally regardless of the improvements we need to make.

    #29 (sorry, I’m jumping around a little bit): Again, YES! It’s all about taking ACTION. Life is too short to be sitting on the sidelines wishing and hoping for a better life. The key to a better life is believing that we can get it and (most importantly) taking action to make it happen. Talk is easy, but taking action (especially when that action isn’t fun) is absolutely necessary.

    #20: Strangely though, I’ve found that when I’ve been fully-committed to doing something, it has been easier than I thought it would be. I remember reading a quote that said “100% is easy, but 99% is a bitch.” Once I’ve been fully and completely committed to something, great things have happened in my life.

    #4: I’m an extremely enthusiastic guy. Life is too short not to live it fully, be completely silly, laugh at myself, and most of all HAVE FUN! I believe that energy can be contagious and the best compliment that I’ve ever received after I completed a speaking gig is that I’ve helped them to live a more “energized life.” To me, that is so awesome.

    Here are the points that hit home, that I really need to improve on:

    #15: This is a must, and I’ll admit that I’m horrible in this area. Since I look at my birthday as my personal “New Year’s,” I’m making a committment (#20) to make this change. I have a gorgeous wife and two beautiful baby girls to live for, and I really need to stop rolling through the drive-thru unnecessarily when I could easily make some nutritious grub instead. I live in West LA for crying out loud! There are more than enough healthy food choices around.

    #19: I already have a vision board (I keep it on my iPad), but I really need to check out Pinterest. All of my buddies love it, and I haven’t even checked it out once.

    #16 & #23: I’m a very positive guy, but I’ll admit that I have quite a few negative people in my life and I need to do something about this ASAP. I’ve come to the realization that in some regards, these people are holding me back a little bit and worse, in some areas of my life, I could feel my optimism slipping a little bit. I’m committed (#20) to changing this as well.

    Thanks Amy–I’m sure that you have lots of readers like me who might not comment often, but draw tremendous value from your posts, videos, and other insights. Have a fantastic birthday on Friday, and I’ll making the drive from LA to Vegas with my twin brother (yes, there’s another person sharing our birthday!) to celebrate in style.

    Happy birthday week, and thanks so much for the awesome tips!

    • Amy says:

      What?! That’s so awesome! Scorpios unite! :)

      Shola, I love all your additional tips and your courage in expressing that there are still some that you need to implement. Let’s make this year our best yet! :)

      Have fun in Vegas!

  3. Janet says:

    Great list and happy birthday! I’m just starting to get on the pinterest bandwagon. I have a board specifically for my vision board there but other boards for travel, living spaces i like, etc. I also learned to have no expectations (expect less) or even no plans, to let life unfold but its hard especially when you consider where goals would fit in and if we should still have them!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, Janet! You’re right: it’s interesting trying to find the balance between no plans and going after your goals. I think the best way is to commit fully to going after your goals, but keep an open mind to new directions and the unexpected. That’s helped me a lot!

  4. Mom says:

    Allow yourself to be easily amused. Laugh and marvel at little things. Be amazed at the beautiful full moon out there, even if you’ve seen “a million full moons already.” Show your enthusiasms. They may just perk up someone else’s day.


    • Amy says:

      My enthusiasm and ability to delight in the little things is largely due to the example you’ve set throughout my life. Thank you, Mom! :)

  5. Kristen says:

    Hi Amy,

    Love this post! 29 no nonsense, easy to stick to, great tips! Have always enjoyed your articles and greatly appreciate what you put out there to share with everyone. You have even taken the time to respond to personal emails that are truly uplifting and motivating. Have a great 29th birhtday Amy! Thanks for all that you do!

  6. Ed Yourdon says:

    Great blog posting! I wish someone had given me this advice when I was 29, several centuries ago. Also, thanks for including my photo in the posting! :)

  7. love love love this post! very well written and packed with great advice!

  8. Benny says:

    Happy birthday Amy! I really enjoyed this post. I found myself agreeing with many of these. One tip that has helped me has been to open my mind to opportunities instead of walking around feeling unlucky in life.

    Hope you had a great birthday! Saw on FB that Rick surprised you w/ your favorite breakfast. What is your favorite breakfast?

    • Amy says:

      Hey Benny! Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      I agree whole-heartedly that being open to opportunities instead of tearing yourself down when things don’t go well is one of the qualities that separates the optimists from the pessimists.

      My favorite breakfast is at a place called Tupelo Junction in Santa Barbara. We drove an hour and a half! He’s a keeper, fo sho. ;)

  9. Simone says:

    Love it!!! I just wrote them all down on a blank page in my planner. (I’m a list nerd.) So many of these resonated with me.

    I’d add, “Love.” Just that. Love life. Love yourself. Love people. Love your dog/fish/bamboo plant. Love your morning commute. Love your crooked smile. :)

    Also, “Be aware/present/open.” We go through life not seeing so many wonderful things around us. Watch the snow fall. Look up at the stars. Smell your tea/coffee in the morning with your eyes closed. It goes along with your #14 (be grateful). Appreciate the little things!

    Happy belated birthday :)

  10. Mathew K. George says:

    Most Inspirational Post. I have saved it on my Desktop. I will read it everyday the first thing in Office…. Thank you Amy… Wish you a happy 30th Birthday

  11. Jack says:

    Hey Amy,

    How did you let the acting dream die? I’m surprised that helped, in some ways. I mean, I understand spinning your wheels doesn’t help, but that seems negative. I’ve found a balance in my dream… I don’t try to pay all my bills anymore through film/TV, but I still get jobs, and love it when I do. I’ll continue to build on it, and you know, you just never know!! Haha. What part of the country are you in, by curiosity?

    • Amy says:

      Hey Jack! Read my post on why I gave up acting and you’ll find that the “dream” ended up being quite different than I thought it would be. I was miserable in the Hollywood world, even if I did love the craft. :) I’m very happy to hear that you’re doing well with it, though! Wishing you much luck with it in your future as well! Happy New Year!

  12. […] blog titled Problems With Help?" And it was published in an Oct 30, 2012 blog titled "29 Positive-Thinking Tips from My 29 Years." It was also published in a Dec 3, 2012 blog titled "Who Are Our Neighbors?",as […]

  13. […] blog titled Problems With Help?" And it was published in an Oct 30, 2012 blog titled "29 Positive-Thinking Tips from My 29 Years." It was also published in a Dec 3, 2012 blog titled "Who Are Our Neighbors?",as […]

  14. Surinder Pal Singh Dehar says:

    nice and valuable tips to combat depression and strenthening mind

  15. Sumaira Ahmed says:

    Well I just love this blog…. Seriously…. It helped me A LOT to overcome my negativity… I really needed it… :) Thanx alot Amy… :) I am already in love with your writing…. I am going through a difficult phase of my life and reading all this has helped me so much more…. :) Thanx again…. ;)

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