We can all learn from those who have served, dedicated their careers to helping others, and remained optimistic during the transition to their next opportunity. Whether drawing inspiration from career soldiers, veterans transitioning from active duty to the reserves, or reservists considering retirement, these individuals often model a positive mindset that we can all take inspiration from.
Veterans still serve their communities as they embrace the next chapter in their lives, much as parents continue to care for their children even after they’ve grown up and moved out. A soldier’s legacy is as consistent as a mother’s love.
We can all learn to embrace transitions with such optimism. For example, while a veteran may have retired from the military, they’re still committed to the betterment of our country when they put energy into their own personal and professional development. By embracing that same optimism through these four tips, we can also support the improvement of our communities as we transition into the best versions of ourselves.
Step One: Create an Optimistic Vision
It’s natural to feel a bit pessimistic about the future when we think about all the work we have ahead of us, but if we can visualize our next chapter with a positive mindset, it becomes so much easier to take the necessary action steps. Whether transitioning back to work after raising kids, transitioning from years of volunteering toward newfound careers, or transitioning to retirement, by spending some time clearly defining just how you want your future to unfold, you make it that much easier to face.
Instead of being a passenger, get in the driver’s seat and define the next phase of your life. Ask yourself: What does my ideal lifestyle look like? What goals will help me make this lifestyle a reality? A strong vision can turn an otherwise unsettling transition into a purposeful path toward success.
If you’re not sure where to start, a vision board can be a great way to capture images that display what you would like to attract into your life. Basically, a vision board is a collage that pulls together images that appeal to you and your goals, whether cut out of magazines or printed from the computer. Even if you aren’t 100% clear on the particulars, your vision board will provide you with a picture that lifts your vibration and allows you to become excited about the future.
Step Two: Set Optimistic Goals
Cleaning out your closet may be a great small goal for the day or week, but think beyond what you know you can easily achieve. Think bigger! Often, by setting larger goals ahead of us, we inevitably serve others and ourselves better than when we keep our goals small. So, really think about what you want to accomplish in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships in the long term. Then, allow yourself to enjoy the process of getting there; make goal setting fun but not too easy.
For many of us, shifting from helping others to helping ourselves can take some work. So, remember that you’re still serving others by setting an example and thriving.
Ask yourself what you want for your health in the next 90 days. By really going for it, you can compound interest, creating an overall better version of you that translates into success in the other areas of your life. You may even want to post your three-month goal above your desk for inspiration. This image can be especially motivating when completing your weekly planning and committing to your daily action steps.
Step Three: Surround Yourself With Other Optimists
Military transitions are difficult for the entire family and positive results can take more time and effort than initially predicted, but there are lots of successful veterans and military families out there. This is why hanging out with people who encourage rather than leave you feeling unmotivated is so important. If you’re spending time with people that are angry about the lack of services for veterans, their pessimism may just rub off on you.
Luckily, there are also many veterans and military spouses out there who are optimistic. And surrounding yourself with these positive people can be just as contagious. It’s easier to believe that you can improve your health, increase your wealth, and attract positive relationships when you spend time with healthy, career-minded, and loving friends, especially when going through a major life change.
That said, this doesn’t mean that you yourself need to be one 100 percent optimistic all the time. It’s perfectly okay to vent and put your problems on paper by journaling at night or in the morning. Just acknowledging that your subconscious can work on solving things while you sleep or go about your day can be cathartic.
Take this time to reflect on your day and notice who feels supportive and loving. Then, maybe think about trying to set up a weekly coffee date or walk with that positive person. Clients who keep up with their journaling practices often tell me they have big “aha” moments during this daily ritual. Try to integrate it into your routine.
Step Four: Take Optimistic Daily Actions
I’ve also found that my most optimistic clients are those who have an energizing morning routine. In the service, our loved ones may start the day with a run, but having an uplifting conversation with your spouse over coffee can also provide you with all the energy you need to face your daily hurdles. The particulars of your routine may change over time. However, finding that hour or so to prepare yourself for the day often makes it easier to tackle your to-do list.
When you start the day with positive expectations and goals, it becomes easier to keep pessimism at bay as you shift from thinking to actually doing your daily action steps. Even tackling tasks that aren’t necessarily related to your long-term goals can shift your mood and help you attract success more effortlessly. Listening to a podcast, joining a Toastmasters club, or going for a morning walk can help people feel uplifted and ready for challenges.
Many of my life coaching clients have asked me how to start moving toward long-term goals. I often suggest tackling a big, medium, and small goal each day. Ideally, it’s great to write your goals down, but just checking off a simple small, medium, and large item from your to-do list each day can lead to positive change. After all, you’re already making a significant change by turning action steps into habits.
Try starting each day with an “eat the frog” task (a big step), a task correlated with a longer-term goal (a medium step), and some small life annoyance each day—we call this “zapping a toleration” (taking a small step forward). Taking these simple three steps a day toward success helps people feel balanced without getting exhausted. It’s like a bicycle that stays on its path through a combination of peddling uphill, shifting gears, and, best of all, coasting.
Surround Yourself With Optimism
The more we surround ourselves with positive thoughts and people, the easier it is to overcome stressful life changes. Trust that, as you train your brain to focus on positivity, a positive life outcome will surface.
So, regardless of the particulars, as you picture your ideal future self, just keep peddling. Think back to your vision. Try to identify one small action step that you can take today. That will help you become instantly more optimistic about life’s next chapter. Keep a positive attitude and soon you’ll find yourself becoming a more positive person overall.