I considered myself a glass half-empty kind of girl. A pessimist. Positivity was never a factor in my life. I lived off the “it is what it is” philosophy. That was me… until this year. My new year’s resolution was to stop with the negativity. Stop with the pessimistic attitude. Stop looking at my life as half-empty rather than full.

However, you don’t become an optimist or a happy-go-lucky person overnight. I thought I could just wake up one day and be this bundle of joy and sunshine, but instead, I felt sadder. You think therefore you are, or so they say. I felt sad because I thought, “This is supposed to work.” I felt sad because it all seemed fake. I would tell myself to smile and be happy on the outside, but I knew what was really going on inside. I knew I was faking it – and it sucked.

Until one day, I woke up and somehow managed to make it to my class, which I am always late to, with enough time to grab breakfast! I went to class with a full belly and a smile on my face.

When I went home that evening, I was still in a great mood. I realized that waking up early enough to get breakfast and make it to class on time made me happy. It was an accomplishment. I wanted to feel like this every day, so I decided to write it down on a little piece of paper and put it in a jar.

The next morning, I woke up and looked at the little slip of paper in my jar, and instantly smiled. The feeling from the day before came back full throttle. At one point in the day, a random guy walked up to me and said, “I always see you around, and I just wanted to tell you, I love your style. It is so unique!” I was in shock. This stranger made my day!

Once I got home, I wrote down what the guy told me on a little piece of paper and put it in my jar.

From then on, I began writing down everything that made me smile whether it was something that someone said, or something that happened. It has become a habit and I haven’t stopped. I like to call it my “positivity jar.” Whenever I’m feeling down, or retreating back to my negative ways, I read one, or two, or even five of my little pieces of paper and those feelings come rushing back.

All those times I smiled, I get to feel them all over again.

My positive attitude has grown so much in doing this. I learned that being positive takes time and effort. I learned that life is what you make it. I learned to appreciate the little things because they can save you in the future.

Whether you’re a pessimist, an optimist or somewhere in between, it is always nice to remember the times you smiled.