Stop Whining and 3 Other New Year’s Attitude Shifts

There’s a lot of talk about the ineffectiveness of New Year’s resolutions. Nothing new. Making personal changes is not easy any time of the year! A couple years ago, I was having a rough time personally. I wrote down 4 New Year’s attitude shifts that I wanted to make. It was life-changing.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was on the road to burn-out. The coaching training business I led was booming, but the actual day-t0-day work I performed didn’t align well with my passions and gifting. Life circumstances with my family, a disruptive remodel, too much travel, and stale spiritual habits all conspired against me.

At the beginning of that year, I was fed-up with my state of being. Sure, I had a lot of pressures, but I didn’t like my reactions to them. I was negative and unhappy much of the time. I felt trapped. What I wanted was to:

…live out my calling.

…stop procrastinating.

…stop making excuses.

…get out of my rut.

…avoid a mid-life crisis.

…live cynically-free.

…move forward.

I knew many of the solutions were up to me. Everything started with my attitudes. I wrote out 4 attitude shifts I wanted to make for the new year.

4 New Year’s Attitude Shifts

  1. No whining. I complained a lot. I complained about having too much work. I complained about too much travel but I went to fantastic places to with work with inspiring people. I complained about a disruptive remodel that transformed our home. (I shake my head as I write this embarrassing description.) I replaced whining with gratefulness. Choosing to not be negative was a huge challenge. Whining gives me some insidious satisfaction. Instead I choose to either say (and think) nothing negative or to recognize the positive in people and my circumstances.
  2. Get something out of it. I attended too many meetings, events, kids sporting events, and church services that didn’t scratch where I itched. Following the first attitude shift, I determined that I wouldn’t complain about them. If I choose to attend these things, I would find something to take away. (I wasn’t looking for more ways to give. When you’re burnt-out, giving more of yourself doesn’t help. You need rest and renewal.) This was me choosing to take personal responsibility for my attitudes, and not playing the victim by making others responsible for not delivering what I needed.
  3. Do something to move forward. My mind quickly analyzes a potential solution to determine if it will work or not. If I think something won’t solve the problem completely, my tendency is to not do anything until I see the full solution. This goes against my coaching philosophy of small wins. But I was tired and discouraged. Instead, I choose to do something to move forward. Even when that something was insignificant. Even when it wasn’t going to fully solve the problem. I found that after doing something, the next step of the solution often presented itself to me.
  4. Finish it. I have a lot of ideas, half-finished projects, and a number of “coming soon” books and courses. I’m busy and that busy-ness became the excuse to not finish things. I wanted the project to be different or better in some way, so I kept waiting for the right time. I changed my attitude. When I worked on something I kept going on it until it was finished. At least for now. I shipped it, got it out there, and moved it off my to-do list.

I’m more than a little embarrassed with myself as I think back to how I was behaving!

The good news is that these 4 attitude shifts transformed my thinking. I was still burnt-out but these attitude shifts built a foundation of positive and constructive ways of being that allowed me later that year to get the additional help I needed.

It’s been 2 years since I began these New Year’s attitude shifts and I’m still finding them helpful to live by.

Question: What attitude shifts have you most benefitted from? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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