In the Last 12 Months

I think we can all say “holy shit! what a year this has been!” and it doesn’t matter what your year looked like, it will be an accurate statement. For some of you, life has brought wonderful changes, and for some of you life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, and lets be honest, for some of you it’s been mostly downs. We’ve been in the middle. We had two new jobs, a move, ailing parents, healing parents, an accidental death, and tremendous growth, along with a few injuries, in our kids.

It’s easy to find the downs. They stick out like a sore thumb. Pain, misery, and feelings of defeat all blast their obnoxious airhorns making it difficult to look around them, or to even forget them. We don’t like feeling this way, so for whatever reason, our minds focus the most on them as a way of saying “hey, don’t do this any more!”

It takes focus to find the big positives, and even more looking and concentration to find the little positives. We’re not trained to find them, we’re trained to avoid the pain, so that’s what we remember. Worst of all, is that we’re sarcastic and grouchy towards our positives. We diminish them for a variety of reasons. Maybe they weren’t the absolute most perfect thing in the whole world (seriously, give that crap a break. Nothing is perfect so just don’t even go there!) or maybe something could have gone slightly better. But in reality, you’re letting the negatives overtake the actual positive.

Anecdotal time: My husband interviewed for a new job, at the same time that I was interviewing for a new job. I was miserable because I readily agreed to a terrible starting wage instead of negotiating to what I am actually worth. The Hubs, who is our bread winner and has been working and gaining negotiating experience the whole time I have been momming made the exact same mistake. While the past is set in stone, our future possibilities are not. Just because we didn’t ask for the wages we wanted at the time, doesn’t mean we can’t go in later in the interview process and ask for them. And it doesn’t mean that we let the bummer of not asking for the appropriate wages at the time diminish the fact that we got a job interview!

The whole point is, find the positives, and don’t let the negatives dim the light that they shine on you. A really easy way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a fancy-shmancy journal listed for sale. You just need a notebook. In that notebook, you’re going to write down three things. The first thing you’re going to write down is what you accomplished today. I found it a lot easier to write down accomplishments as I went about my day. When I was in a grumpy mood at the end of the evening because dinner and bedtime had gone to shit, I had a really hard time finding things that I had accomplished. So if you need to, write those things down in the moment. No matter how small. They matter – all of them!

Next you’re going to write down 3 things you are grateful for. And you don’t want to write the same three things day after day, so make sure you’re looking for the little stuff that you are grateful for, too. This can also be done in the moment, or you can do it at the end of your day. You will find that you are grateful for different things as your day goes on. And you are welcome to find more than 3 things, but if you write them all down now, then when you’re looking for something new to write down tomorrow, you might find it a little difficult. The things you are grateful for can be anything, from the biggest big, to the smallest small.

Finally you’re going to write down 3 things you want to accomplish tomorrow. And again, these can be small, or they can be big. Are you going to put world peace down as an accomplishment? No, of course not. But you are going to put something that you can do, like a load of laundry, or pick up the living room, or scrub the toilet. Maybe you want to start writing a book – Your goal is to write a few words towards your book. Want to start working out? Your goal is to do 5 squats, or 5 pushups, or 5 sit-ups. Take that first step towards what you want to do. Want to run a mile? Well you can’t do that without taking the first step. Easy stuff, smart stuff – not unobtainable stuff because whose side are you on? Yours! And who are you cheering for? You! So make sure it’s stuff you can do so that you can find, and feel the positives as you look back on your day. And honestly, I have absolutely cheated and written down something I knew I was already going to do (like give a ride to a friend) and wrote that down. It’s still something that I wanted to accomplish, and it was absolutely something that was going to help a friend out, which also made me feel good about doing it.

So go out there my friends and find your positives. Write them down so it’s easier to remember them. Don’t let the negatives rule, because it’s the positives that push us forward