Have you had a nice day? A few weeks ago I was reading an article by Terri Levine about self-sabotaging behaviours and what to do about them. I was embarrassed to find that two of them seemed to apply to me.
Here are the relevant sections of the article.
Focusing on what is not working or not right
Problem: Finding that you think a lot and speak a lot about what is going wrong can make you dissatisfied and can quiet your sense of purpose and ambition. Notice how often you speak about things not working.
Action: Ask yourself a new question: “What’s going right?” or “What IS working?”. Begin to notice all the things, no matter how small, that are working well. Keep an evidence journal and each write down everything. I do mean everything, that is working. Change your way of thinking
As I read this I thought: “Ooops, I do this sometimes”.
Feeling you have no value
Problem: Do you forget all of your accomplishments and lack pride in who you are and what you have accomplished? If you stew and obsess about the past or your lack of success or lack of goal achievement, then you’ll be stuck in noticing how much you lack as a person. If you often criticise yourself or can’t accept compliments, you aren’t allowing yourself to love yourself.
Action: You can choose to notice what you do that is good and that you can be proud of, no matter how small it may seem. Each day you keep a log of what you are grateful for about YOU. When you hear your inner coach or inner voice telling you what you haven’t done right or well, turn down the volume on in and turn on the volume to hear the voice that knows the TRUTH about who you are and how you add value to the world. Acknowledge yourself for at least 5 things each and every day that you did well. Each day compliment yourself on something you did that you feel good about. Notice your small successes and let compliments others give you flow into your bones.
This only fits me on bad days and in mild ways, but I have done this from time to time.
I took the references to ‘evidence journal’ and ‘log of what you’re grateful for’ from the ‘Action’ steps and combined them into a little evening routine. Every evening I write in little notebook:
- A list of things that went that day.
- At least 5 things I did right
- A list of things I was grateful for in the day.
None of these have to be particularly dramatic or exciting. I haven’t yet written “Successfully scaled Everest” or “Found cure for cancer before lunch” and I probably never will. Ordinary stuff is good enough.
- Excellent session with client.
- Cooked a nice lunch.
- Enjoyed reading the book on the park bench.
The point is not so much the content of the list but directing your awareness to what is working. Your awarness is going to go somewhere it may as well be used to help you.
Maybe this little exercise look corny to you? It felt a little corny to me at first, but I have found after a few weeks of this my awareness is being automatically directed to what is agreeable and pleasant, I feel more cheerful, confident and at ease. I don’t think my world has changed that much, but the acknowledgement of the good things in the world and the good things I can do has definitely changed my focus in very helpful ways.
You might like to try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens, it’s not rocket science, all you need is a notebook, pen and a couple of minutes. I think you might be suprised by a very healthy return on your investment.