I came across some really good advice a week or so ago and would love to share it with you. Prosper where you are planted! Basically in order to succeed we need to start from where we are right now, not where we used to be, where we think we should be or where we want to be, but from where we are.
The problem I had was I didn’t really know where I was. I sat and reflected on my life as it is now (maybe you’d like to take some time to do the same) and what I found was I had a long list of negative points, all the things I would like to change about my life: I’m overweight, suffering from chronic pain and recurrent depressing, I’m in a dead-end job which may not even exist in two years time … (it was a long list). I hadn’t listed one positive thing! That made me think, was I really that bad, was I totally hopeless or was it just some sort of twisted thinking. Did you do the same?
I sat down to reflect again, only this time I was determined to find some positive points. That was quite difficult and very uncomfortable as it’s not something I’m used to doing. I did manage a small list: I’m determined, I’m a good problem solver and I enjoy learning new things. If you took the time to reflect on your life and like me found yourself listing only negative points I would really like you to think of some positive points.
It occurred to me after doing this exercise that the first thing I need to work on to improve my life is my habit of focusing on my failures. I decided that I will focus on every tiny little success. For example, instead of mentally beating myself up for not completing all my ironing I praise myself for completing half my ironing. I am being kinder to myself and I am starting to feel more positive and in control. Admittedly it isn’t always easy and I find myself annoyed because I haven’t noticed any successes. I remind myself to be gentle, that I can’t change the habits of a lifetime in a couple of days. I have started to create the successes, instead of feeling horrible because I haven’t done any exercise, I get up and do a single yoga pose, admittedly a very small success but its better than doing nothing.
I have also committed to list all the things I have achieved no matter how tiny and all the things I am thankful for each night before I go to sleep. The list normally begins with being thankful for a nice warm bed. Instead of lying in bed thinking of all the things I haven’t done, needed to do or shouldn’t have done, over and over, I think of what I have achieved and what I’m thankful for, if it’s a short list I just repeat it. Admittedly I often find myself slipping into my old habits but each time I notice I’m doing that, I just let the thought go and return to thinking about what I have achieved and what I am thankful for. Thinking over and over positive things certainly makes for a better nights sleep than thinking about all the negative things over and over. If you are feeling down or overwhelmed I would urge you to try this, it takes practice but it is simple and I have really noticed I feel better about myself and my life.
I have resolved to do this each day for the next year, to focus on my successes and be thankful for what I have, no matter how small. If I can change my thinking I can change my life. If you give this a try I would love to hear about your experience.