Focus on the Good

January 14, 2020

Happy 2020 lovelies!

For months in the spring of 2019, I noticed a poor mindset becoming a block in my ability to overcome adversity (ICYMI - my job hunt). When this happens, minor inconveniences would ruin my day. Living my life like this felt like there was nothing to be celebrated. I felt like things in everyday life were not meant to be appreciated or if something didn't go my way, why would I express gratitude from the situation. It seemed like grandiose acts of God (aka getting an B in my MGT 4002 class) or milestones were the only extents of appreciation I could have. 

As I began to become aware of this, I adopted the mantra, "It's a bad day, not a bad life," and turned it into, "It is not a bad day or a bad life, it is a bad moment over-shining a million reasons to live happily." In other words, it's a mindset. 

I wanted to change and start focusing on the positives in my life. I wasn't sure how to go about it this transformation, but I soon realized I wrote about writing things I am thankful for on a piece of paper when I felt down. Instead of waiting to feel crappy, why not write it down no matter my mood?

Since last August, I have taken time out of my mornings to write something I am grateful for that day. I thought this would be easy. However, as I sat at my cubicle at 7:30 AM and had nothing written down in the cell of my "weekly gratitude" excel sheet, I realized that I can be thankful for anything in this world. I just had to pick something. Therefore on Monday August 12th, 2019, I was thankful for Asiago cheese bagels from Panera. 

Yes, this cell containing my guilty pleasure is what started my journey to a new state of happiness. Becoming thankful and gracious started out slow. In fact so slow, I wasn't sure if what I set out to do with this spreadsheet was working. At first, I would just put a bullshit answer like "having a safe commute." In reality, I was writing that down but pissed off it started raining and the traffic added an extra 20 minutes to my already long commute. 

Clearly continuing that way was not going to help anything. I was frustrated and counted the many cells containing "a safe commute" in it. For three weeks, I had this answer multiple times. Disappointed but not discouraged, I thought to myself, "what does this mean to me?" (Some of you at this point might be thinking, "this girl needs to leave earlier so she isn't late all the time." Yes, I realized that point as well and have gotten better).

Pondering the three weeks of arriving safely to work changed something for me. While it started out as a quick superficial answer, I noticed that having a safe commute became something I've been privileged with every day since starting my job back in June. Yes, I am thankful for getting to work (mostly on time). 

My quick fill in answer became real when I was late to work one day and wasn't stressed out. Being late would normally put me in a mood, but on that day, I was thankful for the extra stop light and the commuters who decided to leave at a different time. In short, I became thankful for my day starting out normal.

My point is, it's easy to focus on the good when you force yourself, but you won't see progress if you continue to let the nuances of life affect you. Much of my life that I used to take for granted like being able to see my best friends or getting extra sleep fills my sheets with every day moments. Now, I see these as focus on the good, large or small, and you will create good. 

In this new year, I encourage you to dig in to your life and find your "Asiago cheese bagels" to start. Don't put too much pressure to find something good in your life if it's hard at first. Look around. What is something you hardly notice throughout the day, but if it were gone you'd be lost? 

I've been thankful for crunchy leaves, pretty sunsets, a good workout, my parents being excited to see me, getting a cookie from a coworker, work lunch, going home early, air conditioning, wine nights, charcuterie boards, my health, and funny moments. 

As you progress, what is your "safe commute?" Are you masking your negative mindset and not making any real changes?

Need other tips for focusing on the good things in life? Keep reading!

Every morning, say something you love about yourself. A habit that helps confidence and set the right tone kills two birds with one stone! When you start feeling comfortable with this, expand to parts of yourself you don't like and encourage yourself to try something new to improve it (if it's mental/a flaw) or view it differently (if it's physical).

Another tip is thinking about a failure you had a few times a week and reflect on what you can learn or learned from it. I saw this tip from a LinkedIn post about Sara Blakely's dad having his family do this every day at dinner. She's a billionaire now so there could be a correlation?

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