When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
Hope is having positivity, belief and faith — in yourself. Hope is perseverance, because it doesn’t give up. With a little practice, you can make hope a habit. Not only will you improve your health and fitness, but you also will improve your life.
6 ways to make hope a habit:
1. Change your thoughts. Change your thoughts and you can change your world. How you feel every hour, every day, every minute is directly related to your thoughts and how you silently talk to yourself. If you let your thoughts run negative, your mood will go right with it. Have you ever heard that the quality of your life will be measured by the quality of your thoughts? It’s true. Positive thoughts lead to positive change and a positive life. If your mental ticker scrolls negativity, tell it to stop and replace it with positive words. Don’t kill your hope with negativity.
2. Be on your own side. If other people could hear your thoughts, would they think you are a person of hope? It’s amazing how many people are self-critical and put themselves down left and right. Sure, we can all point to something about ourselves that we don’t love, but that doesn’t have to be your focus. Focus on what you do like about yourself and your strengths.
3. Be self-nurturing. Sometimes people seek out a personal trainer because they need the support. While I am all for that, your support should begin with you. Be your own coach first. Give yourself a nudge on days when you need extra encouragement to exercise. If you get off track by skipping workouts or eating too many cookies, skip the guilt and just make better decisions going forward. There’s nothing hopeful about beating yourself up.
4. Take yourself off automatic pilot. If you think your role is to run around doing things for others while never doing anything for yourself, a dark cloud could be blocking your hope for your future. Ignoring yourself for the sake of others may seem selfless, but it can leave you feeling invisible. Consider what ignoring your own needs tells other people: It says you don’t think your needs are important. Remember, you can’t take care of anyone else effectively unless you first take care of yourself.
5. Notice little signs of hope in your life. One way to naturally increase your hope is to live more mindfully, focused on the present moment. Try to notice everything you love — the beautiful colors of spring, the smell of your coffee brewing, a delicious and healthy recipe you just tried, a friend who’s amazing, or how accomplished you feel after a tough workout. You can teach yourself to live in a state of gratitude just by paying attention to everything you enjoy and not letting it all fly by you. You may even surprise yourself with all the things you love about your life if you just tune in!
6. Realize that your health and hope are connected. Your one body is the only place you have to live. If you aren’t healthy, it’s difficult to truly connect to your joy and your hope for the future. Make daily decisions that invest in your health and you will have more than hope for your future; you will have excitement too!
Hope really is a choice. How you feel on the inside determines what happens on the outside. You have a choice between feeling hopeful or hopeless. With hope you are living an empowered life and you are in the driver’s seat. You will be happier. People will want to be around you because you exude positivity. Your positivity will be contagious (meaning you will spread your hope). You will believe in your ability to bounce back from challenges and setbacks. You won’t dwell on negative things beyond your control. You will be less stressed. You will believe in yourself and your ability to succeed. Why not choose to empower yourself with hope?
“Practice hope. As hopefulness becomes a habit, you can achieve a permanently happy spirit.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.
Fitness Expert Chris Freytag motivates and empowers you to lose weight and live healthy. Find out more about Chris Freytag or contact her at chrisfreytag.com or Facebook.com/ChrisFreytagpage or on Twitter as @ChrisFreytag.