As Mental Health Awareness Month approaches in May, I wanted to resurface this deeply personal piece around my daily attitude readjustment project that reflects on my journey of overcoming challenges and embracing a positive mindset. I’ve lightly edited the original article and updated it with additional resources to better support and inspire those seeking to improve their mental well-being. The original version was first published on October 19th, 2019.
I have a few confessions to make. I’m not always the most positive person, in fact, I admittedly have pessimistic tendencies, but it’s something I work on every day. This must sound strange coming from the creator of a fitness and wellness brand, but it’s true.
I’ve gone through ups and downs as I grow as a human, but not too long ago, I dug out of one of my deepest holes yet, and it was my attitude that saved me.
Facing Rejection and Loss
I had lost my dream job and was devastated. I lost a best friend too. And as all of this was happening a lot of my contacts were no longer there for me either. I was alone and was experiencing the most amount of rejection to date. I was very lucky to have my family, a couple of very tight relationships, and my health, but a lot of other things were completely going in the wrong direction.
I thought I had peaked out. Hit my prime and everything was downhill from there. I thought my time had come and it had passed me by. That was the cycle of thought that repeated over and over in my head. And things only got worse from there.
The Impact of Negativity on Health
I got sick more often, I felt weaker, I didn’t want to work out as much, and when I did, I was killing myself. I got very sad and ended up in a deep, scary depression. I hid it to some extent and kept producing and fighting to be an inspiration that I always wanted to be, but holding a lot of that negative just doesn’t work. Eventually, things reached a new breaking point.
I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what my wake-up call was, but I started to realize just how negative I was thinking and allowing it to spiral.
Opening Up and Seeking Help
This was one of the most difficult things for me to write and share openly because I think it makes me sound like a complete hypocrite or fraud. Then I would beat myself up even more because I would think about how I sound like a brat because there are others with far less or are worse off.
My attitude needed to change on so many levels.
“While chatting with a friend through some of these issues, he asked me a very interesting question: ‘When you’re meeting with people, what are they picking up from the conversation?’ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. He said, ‘How are people feeling after meeting you? What sort of vibe are you giving off?’ I don’t know why these particular questions made me stop and think for a minute about how I was interacting with people, but they did.”
A lot of my internal struggles and negativity were probably showing without me even really knowing it. You can only hide sadness and depression and anger and resentment so much. It comes through in some way or another. It was after that conversation that I started to seriously reassess my attitude and how it was impacting my progress.
A Life-Changing Book
“The same friend sent me a book the very next day, ‘Today Matters’ by John Maxwell. Initially, I thought to myself, ‘Oh no, I’m not a self-help guy! I’m the one who helps other people!’ What an ego, right? But the truth is, I needed help.”
While the book is loaded with ideas on how to be a better leader, one chapter in particular that stuck with me was all about attitude. As I was reading, I had to put the book down and email my friend a thank you as I held back tears. I was moved. Finally! I felt something in my bones that I hadn’t felt in many years. It was the same exact feeling I got when I decided I wanted to work in fitness, and magazines, and media, and content.
Creating a Daily Attitude Readjustment Project
I decided to start my own daily attitude readjustment project. Here it is:
- This is my daily attitude readjustment project
- My attitude discipline every day will be to read this document every morning.
- I will forget all of the bad things that happen to me.
- I will see the positive in all work assignments or projects — no matter how difficult or daunting.
- I will look for the positive in people and trust more.
- I will stop using negative words.
- I will recognize my depressive tendencies and acknowledge things I am grateful for.
While I obviously am far from perfect and can’t always shake bad or negative thoughts, at least this morning ritual got me off on the right foot. Some mornings were tough, I didn’t want to read it, I didn’t want to believe its power for some reason, but truth be told, almost immediately after putting this into place, I was significantly more productive, was far less depressed, and more and more positive things were happening in my life.
The Power of Consistency
I started working more, making more money again, and my workouts were getting back on track. Fast forward and I even derailed from reciting my daily attitude readjustment messages, and sure enough, I noticed I started going negative again. So I started back up, and felt immediately better.
It’s actually quite unbelievable how a paragraph of words can alter my perspective and as a result start moving in a positive direction again.
A Suggestion for Everyone
I highly suggest everyone starts their own daily attitude readjustment project.