The Power of the Upbeat: Strategies for Positivity in 2021 and Beyond

power of upbeat

As we get settled into a new year and new routines, you have two options:

  1. You can tiptoe into the year, getting deeper into the water, inch-by-inch.


   2. You can jump right in, feet first, and embrace this opportunity for change and renewal wholeheartedly.

I encourage you to choose option #2.

Take the lessons you learned from facing and overcoming the challenges of 2020 and look forward to the future with anticipation for a brighter future.

People around the world have made resolutions for what they want to do or accomplish this coming year. The problem, however, with new year’s resolutions is that most people do not follow through and achieve their goals. 

Here’s a Solution

Instead of focusing on the what, focus on the who

Who do you want to be in 2021?

  • Our thoughts are our upbeats to our actions. 
  • We choose our thoughts.
  • We choose our attitude.
  • Our thoughts and attitude lead to actions. 
  • What we repeatedly do determines our habits. 
  • Our habits create who we are. 

Use the power of the upbeat to believe, imagine, and visualize who you want to be. Put a note on your bathroom mirror or your computer monitor, in your wallet, in your phone, or on your car’s dashboard to remind yourself daily who you desire to be. Then, make decisions based on who you want to become. 

Want to know how choosing who you want to be leads to success? 

I am healthy. 

Believe that you are already healthy, energetic, fit, and alive. Now, act in a way that a healthy person would act.

  1. Make smart food and drink choices.
  2. Sleep Well.
  3. Exercise.

I am grateful. 

Imagine the feeling of gratitude. No matter how difficult our lives are, we can always find something or someone to be grateful for. Here are action items that support your desire to be grateful.

  1. In the morning, take stock of all the things and people you have to be grateful for.
  2. Smile often.
  3. Share your gratitude and lift other peoples’ spirits.

I am connected. 

Visualize the feelings of friendship, love, and community that you experience when you are connected. Now, take action to foster these feelings.

  1. Take the first step to reach out to friends and let them know that you care about them.
  2. Reach out and connect with new people.
  3. Be curious, fascinated, and interested in the people you meet.

Want to know 2 strategies to stay motivated throughout the year? Look below:

  1. Attach your TO BE resolution to your personal mission or purpose. How will your decision to be something align with your sense of purpose?
  2. Think about WHO ELSE you are making this resolution for, so you recognize how raising your personal bar makes a difference to someone else.

I’ll close this section with this poem from my beautiful wife, Merilee. May it bring a smile to your face as it did mine.

In with the new,

Out with the old,

We mined our struggles

And found the gold!

You may have been bruised,

But accept no defeat.

Let’s begin 2021 

With a thundering UPBEAT! 

Lastly, here are 6 simple strategies that have changed my life:

  1. Wake up every morning to your “opportunity clock” instead of your alarm clock and focus on joy, gratitude, comfort, or what you are looking forward to that day with eager anticipation. 
  2. Focus on a positive thought for 17 seconds in the morning so that the thought becomes a sticky thought and attracts more positive thoughts.
  3. Visualize the day you want to create in your mind. Imagine your day with energy and enthusiasm. See yourself making a positive difference in someone’s life today and then take action and follow through.
  4. Choose to focus on what you get to do and what you can do rather than on what you can’t do. Focus on what you enjoy rather than on what you don’t enjoy. Focus on the goodness in others rather than on what annoys you.
  5. Write down three things or people that you are grateful for. You can do this on your computer, phone, or in a notebook. Review your gratitude journal at the end of the month. 
  6. Share your appreciation and gratitude for someone with them. It will raise both of your spirits!

Wishing you peace, health, and serenity as you take a leap of faith and plunge into 2021. 

Together, let’s make a BIG SPLASH OF POSITIVITY!

Matthew Arau

Dr. Matthew Arau, founder of Upbeat Global, is the Chair of the Music Education Department and Associate Director of Bands at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. In addition, Dr. Arau is on the graduate faculty of the American Band College of Central Washington University and VanderCook College of Music. He also serves as a Conn-Selmer Education Clinician and as Member-at-Large on the NAfME Council for Band Education.

Dr. Arau has guest conducted and presented on student leadership, mindfulness, growth mindset, rehearsal techniques, and creating positive cultures in over 25 states and 4 continents. He has presented at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Western International Band Clinic, the NAfME National Conference, numerous State and Regional Music Education Association Conferences, and the Conn-Selmer Institute. He has conducted honor bands in Australia, Greece, Cyprus, and Malaysia, and All-State honor bands across the United States. More information and resources from Dr. Matthew Arau can be found at

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