"I know most people resist the fact that constant practice is required, or we would all be positive thinkers. It might help to remember that your shower, your makeup, and your shave also don't last, yet you don't have any resistance to starting your day with showering, shaving, or putting on new makeup. These are refreshing activities — and so is positive thinking. In fact, it feels wonderful!

"So here you are, a blob of negativity. How do you even begin to turn around those miserable thoughts that take away your power? You begin by doing the same thing you would do if your body were out of shape. You create an exercise program — in this case, to retrain your mind. To do so, you must take action.

"Before giving you a suggested action plan, I recommend that you have on hand the following to make your daily routine more efficient and certainly more pleasurable:

"1. A small audiocassette or CD player, iPod, or all of the above . . . whatever suits you best for 'portable' listening.

"2. Positive audiotapes and CDs. We are so fortunate in today's world to have such an array of audio material available to us for creating a positive view of life. These include affirmation, relaxation, meditation, motivation, visualization, and inspirational tapes and CDs. Also, many uplifting books are now available in audio format. Once you realize the benefits you'll receive from such listening material you will take joy in building an extensive audio library.

"3. Positive books that inspire and motivate. I suggest that you buy your books instead of borrowing them from the library. The reason for this is that you will want to underline and write in the books and reread them over and over again. You will want to 'own' these books in every sense of the word. They provide an incredible support system that is there for you at all times. You might feel that buying these books and audios is a costly proposition — and you're right. Yet I can't think of a better investment to help you create a better life. If money is a problem, start slowly. The important thing is: BEGIN!

"4. Index cards or Post-it notes.

"5. Positive quotes. Find those that really touch you in some way. Some very effective quotes for me are:

" 'Ships in harbor are safe, but that's not what ships are built for.' — John Shedd

" 'The best way out is always through.' — Helen Keller

" 'I'm not a failure if I don't make it . . . I'm a success because I tried.' — Unknown

" 'Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening!' — Gertrude Stein

And how about:

" 'Feel the fear . . . and do it anyway!' — Susan Jeffers

"Write each quote on an individual index card or Post-it. Then put them all over the place — on your mirrors, your desk, the refrigerator door, in your car, your diary, and so on. You may want to put one quote that really 'speaks' to you on many cards, so that wherever you turn, it's there as a reminder.

"If you are artistic, make a decorative poster with your quotes to hang on your wall. Or buy one of those wonderful posters with inspirational sayings on them and use it to decorate your wall.

"You will find that your quotes will change often as you move ahead with your life. Different ideas are meaningful at different times. Just keep changing the quotes. Be creative; try to bring some lightness to the task. As humorist Jan Marshall said, 'Not a shred of evidence exists that life is serious!' Go overboard and be outrageous until friends ask you what's going on. Really have fun with this.