Look on the bright side.


When I was younger, I was an overwhelmingly negative person.  I generally thought the worst would happen, assumed other people would rip me off, and I said "I can’t" more than I’d like to admit.  I held a lot of grudges.  I was actually pretty mean to a few people.  I was bitter when I was wronged.  I couldn’t forgive or forget.  I was a half-empty kind of person. 


My attitude didn’t stop me from making really good friends and having excellent life experiences in college, but I always felt like something was holding me back. 


Then one day, it clicked — the only thing holding me back was ME! 


I realized that I could CHOOSE to look at life like it was half-full…. or even totally full!

(In London in 2006, right around the time I started to change  my thinking.)


I’ve actually transformed myself into a happier, more positive person.  Here are my Happy Habits:


  • Count your blessings.  Even on your worse days, there are things to be thankful for.  Got both legs?  A family who loves you?  A dog that licks your face when you come home?  A job?  A car? I used to get caught up in what I didn’t have, but now I focus on what I do have.
  • Never say "I can’t."  You can do anything. Really.  But you’re never going to accomplishment a single thing if you think it’s impossible.
  • Be quick to forgive and forget… the first time.  My issue was that I never cut people slack.  I never put myself in their shoes.  Being more apt to consider the other person’s perspective has drastically reduced the number of arguments I’ve gotten into (I’m a little hot-headed).  That being said, don’t turn into a doormat.  Being walked all over is never good for the soul.
  • Pretend like every conversation is your last.  Per the hot-headedness, sometimes I really want to kill the Husband for little things.  Whenever I start to get worked up over something small, I fantasize what I would feel like if it was our last conversation.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Do nice things for other people.  And don’t expect anything in return.  You’ll get your due karma, I promise.
  • Fake it until you make it.  Even if you have to "pretend" to be positive, do it. Because eventually, it will become true.
  • Ignore Negative Noise and Energy Vampires.  Because it isn’t worth your time or energy.
  • Re-assess your thinking from time to time.  There’s a positive way to approach every situation.  Life is hard enough without beating yourself down mentally.


Is there a part of your personality you’ve changed?  How did you do it?


Check out the rest of the Things I Need to Do More Often series here!



  • Courtney September 30, 2009, 1:31 pm

    I really like that one about “think if this was your last conversation.” That is how I live my life..I never want things to end on a sour/bad note, so I always make sure to make things right if I’m having a disagreement with someone I love.
    Adventures in Tri-ing

  • Naomi (onefitfoodie) September 30, 2009, 1:41 pm

    what a great post and you are so freakin gorge!!

    I like teh tip that you pretend every convo is your last, this will help to not flip out at the other person esp if you have this mentality!

    great healthy habits!!

  • Brooke September 30, 2009, 1:43 pm

    Caitlin I feel like you’ve just read my mind by posting this. I am the same way now, and I have really been trying to work so hard on it! Thank you for your wonderful tips! I am glad to know with a little work I can get there! :0)

  • Leah @ L4L September 30, 2009, 1:44 pm

    “Be quick to forgive and forget… the first time. My issue was that I never cut people slack. I never put myself in their shoes. Being more apt to consider the other person’s perspective has drastically reduced the number of arguments I’ve gotten into (I’m a little hot-headed). That being said, don’t turn into a doormat. Being walked all over is never good for the soul.”

    I feel like you are speaking directly to me. I am TERRIBLE with grudges and NEVER cut anyone slack, mostly because I don’t expect people to cut me slack. I have pretty high standards for myself and those around me.

  • Marisa (Trim The Fat) September 30, 2009, 1:44 pm

    I’ve changed my personality a lot in the last ten years. I used to be negative, but try to do it in a “funny” way. Funny or not, it was still negative. I was surrounded by some people that were big-time energy vampires. Always complaining, always doom and gloom. How exhausting! I realized that I never want to be that way and if I didn’t stop my own negativity, I knew I would end up to be just like them.

    Now, whenever I may have a negative thought, I say “cancel, cancel”! I truly believe thoughts become things. I get a daily inspirational email of positive sayings and my favorite is just that, “thoughts become things. Choose the good ones!”

    • Caitlin September 30, 2009, 4:43 pm

      i love the idea of “cancel, cancel”!!!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is September 30, 2009, 1:51 pm

    Great, great tips. I always feel so much better when I think positively!

  • Aimee September 30, 2009, 1:53 pm

    I never would have thought that about you. Thank you for sharing. It is as though I was reading about myself. It’s definitely a work in progress for me, but reading your tips puts it in a new light. I really like the one about pretending every conversation is the last. One mantra that has been resonating in my head recently is, “I can’t control others behavior, but I can control my behavior.” I can choose how I respond or don’t respond to other people’s negativity as I work towards living a positive, healthy life. Great post.

  • Lindsey (Mrs. LC) September 30, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Love this. Totally need it today, too.

  • Evan Thomas September 30, 2009, 2:20 pm

    Great post! I just realized something I want to change about myself earlier; I made a joke to my friend about how he shouldn’t have been wearing sunglasses because it isn’t sunny out and he took them off and appologized. I really was just joking but I cant tell if he took offense or felt bad. I should try and be more clear both in person and online when I’m just being honest and when I’m (trying) to be funny

  • Shelly September 30, 2009, 2:44 pm

    I used to be a total pessimist because I felt that it would somehow protect me- kind of a cross between the ideas that if you don’t get your hopes up you won’t get let down, that if you anticipate all the bad stuff that can happen you can prepare for it, and that it’s bad luck to count your chickens before they hatch. Ironically it took a really negative life experience to teach me that what goes on in this world is out of my control and I can live my life worrying about it or I can live my life being as happy I as I can and while it doesn’t really affect the outcome that much in the end, it does affect how happy I am on a day to day basis. Since then I’ve chosen to be a happy person and it has made a huge difference in my level of day to day satisfaction. Optimism rocks! 🙂

    • Caitlin September 30, 2009, 4:44 pm

      soo true about building up a wall of protection! i felt that way too.

  • Laura from Pgh September 30, 2009, 3:22 pm

    Perfect post. And fabulous picture of you in London! You look so happy! Thank you for reminding us to stay positive … i really needed this today.

  • EatingRD September 30, 2009, 3:31 pm

    So true!!! You just rock. I myself find negative thinking creeping in every so often and it can wreak havoc on me. I tend to think too much. It’s amazing what positive thinking can do even when everything isn’t perfect. I really like the reassessment tip, that’s away important to keep me in check 🙂 Thank you for these reminders

  • Jenna September 30, 2009, 3:50 pm

    interesting post! i would have to say i must believe in myself more 🙂

  • Matt September 30, 2009, 4:00 pm

    Great post 😉

    I used to be a pretty negative person as well. I think I have changed over the years A LOT because I have become more independent and I am in control of my life.

  • christie, honoring health September 30, 2009, 4:05 pm

    Wow, that picture of you is so pretty!

    This is a great post and really, couldn’t be more right on time. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 30, 2009, 4:12 pm

    I often sweat the small stuff and get easily stressed or worry too much. I am trying to change this right now!

  • Sally September 30, 2009, 4:35 pm

    I saw your tweet about your halloween costume…that is going to be so awesome!

    Thanks for the reminder, sometimes I forget how amazing life truly is when I’m running around, worrying, and creating stress!

  • Weekly Bite September 30, 2009, 4:40 pm

    Great post! That’s what I love about life… all the life experiences!

  • Bronwyn September 30, 2009, 4:55 pm

    Wow. Is there something about me I’ve changed?

    yes. yes there is.


  • angieinatlanta September 30, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Love this post!

    I agree with what you said, especially fake it until you make it. I struggle with confidence sometimes but I’ve noticed that if I just act confident, I will actually start to feel confident! Cool, right?

  • Maria September 30, 2009, 9:16 pm

    Caitlin, I have been a quiet stalker to your blog for a long time but I wanted to come out and say your blog has helped me tremendously in recognizing how self deprecating I am. I have decided to conquer this behavior starting now. I have spent the last 3 years eating disordered and that is three years to long.

    I also mentioned your name on my not very tended to blog, but being as how I am fairly new to this I couldn’t figure out how to link you!!!!

    Love your blog and look forward to your book!! Congrats!!

    • caitlin October 1, 2009, 3:46 am

      🙂 thanks maria!! you CAN change the way you view yourself and the world… it makes life so much easier to be positive. and really, there’s no reason not to be!! good luck.

  • Trish (girlatgym) October 1, 2009, 7:39 am

    Thanks for posting the Happy Habits. Love this!! I have the spent the past couple of days thinking I couldn’t do work I needed to get done. But wait – yes I can do it! And so now, thanks to a little boost from you, I am filled with a new attitude and am digging back in. 🙂

  • Melissa October 1, 2009, 11:50 am

    I love the power of positive thinking! I can going to try to use your habits in my own life.

    Several years ago, I was told to wear a rubber band around my wrist. Every time I had a negative thought, I was supposed to pull the band and give myself a little snap on the wrist. A literal sign to SNAP OUT OF IT. :o)

  • Taysa October 1, 2009, 11:57 am

    This is a great post! I feel like I’m going through this transition now. I have always been a pessimistic person and I used to never feel satisfied. Even when something good happened, I couldn’t appreciate it. I always expected MORE so I was always dissatisfied. Now I’m trying to appreciate things, even the littlest things, and be grateful for what I have rather than envious of what others have. I feel so much better, though I do honestly still deal with bouts of cynicism, but I guess there will always be that part of me.

  • Aynsley - WrenLife.com October 1, 2009, 12:55 pm

    I used to put things off. I don’t mean procrastinate…I’d always get things done when they needed to get done. However, when it came to my own goals, I’d just say ‘there’s next year’ or ‘I’ve got plenty of time’ or ‘it can wait’. That’s changed. Now I focus on where I want to be in the end and what it takes to get there and put things off that aren’t important.

  • Jenny Eastwood@ JennyLikesToRun, Healthy living blog :) October 1, 2009, 4:10 pm

    Its great to hear that you were able to completely change your way of thinking 🙂 I love positive people and sometimes I struggle to be positive, so thank you for posting this, because now whenever I feel negative thoughts coming on, I’ll think of this blogpost 🙂

    Something about my self that I have change dramatically this year, is how relaxed I am. I always use to get so incredibly wound up and stressed out by every single little thing and it would affect my health. I suffered insomnia for many years, depression and I had nasty back problems from tension. It was only when I met my boyfriend (we started out as friends), that I started to realize how bad this was for me. He’s the king of chill, so after I hung out with him more and more I became more and more relaxed. Also, by running, I was able to release stress in a healthy, productive way. And it’s stuck 🙂 I am able to truly enjoy life now because I can just kick back instead of stressing to the max about everything. I’m so glad I made those changes to my lifestyle. I love life now! 🙂

  • beerab October 1, 2009, 5:42 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for your post on negative people and energy vampires- there is one here at my work and reading your blog made me feel better about how she’s acted towards me lately. I do read daily though I don’t post. 🙂

    I plan to kill her with kindness despite the negativity she’s brought to me. 🙂

    • Caitlin October 1, 2009, 5:43 pm

      yesssssss! kindness = stake thru the vampire’s heart!

  • Julie @savvyeats October 1, 2009, 5:46 pm

    This is all good advice. Reading your blog, I would never have guessed that you used to be a negative person!

  • Charli B October 2, 2009, 3:03 am

    This is an awesome list! I also used to be a Gloomy Gustine all the time (no one believes me either!) One day, I decided it just wasn’t worth it! From there I started my Journey UP! I Love/Like myself much better now, and I find that people who have a Can-do, positive attitude are naturally more drawn to me. It’s great to be in a “GREAT Space!”

  • Sydney April 8, 2010, 9:57 pm

    I just recently started reading your blog a month or two ago, and really love it. I found an Operation Beautiful note on the bathroom mirror at school several months ago. Then recently through another health blogger, I found your blog and I am so glad I did. This post was really cool to me because I am sometimes more negative than I would like to be. But, like you said, being negative about everything is only going to make things worse for yourself. I really appreciate all that you have done with Operation Beautiful and all that you say and do on your blog. I entered my first 10k race for May, and I can honestly say that your blog helped me make my decision and enter. Seeing all the bike and running events you have entered is really really cool and inspiring. You are definitely an inspiration to me. Keep up the great work!

    • Caitlin April 8, 2010, 10:25 pm

      Thanks for the sweet comment and best if luck on your 10k!!! You’ll do great!

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