Every morning I make a list of five things that went right the day before.
I do this the “old school” way with a pen and notepad. It only takes about 5-minutes and it has made my life sooo much better.
I started doing this a few years ago when I realized I had become a grumpy, young man. At the time, I was focusing on everything that went wrong. I noticed problem-after-problem. I was so negative that I actually starting saying…
Everything is always ten times harder than it needs to be.
As you might expect, this thinking became a vicious loop replaying daily.
The reality is that this wasn’t true; however, I started to believe it.
One morning while on vacation at Disney with my family, I was reading a book titled “Triumphs of Experience” about a long-term study of success and happiness. I wrote about this book here.
One of the most successful and happiest people in the book was extremely optimistic. His name was Charles Boatwright, and his optimism permeated every area of his life. His optimism actually seemed to grow as he aged, despite the various challenges of aging. “Gratitude came naturally to him. He found meaning and success in whatever he undertook.”
Mr. Boatwright’s happiness came from what he chose to see. No matter what difficulties he encountered (and there were many), he minimized them and continued focusing on everything that was going well in his life. This seemed to be the key to his success and happiness.
SO I began copying him by making my little list of what went right the day before each morning.
I did this consistently and it had big impact. It literally FORCES you to look for things that are going right in your life. The reason why this is important is because we have tendency to take good things for granted. In fact, we hardly even notice many of the good things in our lives.
I’m sharing all of this because of what happens when you do this exercise consistently for longer periods of time.
Let’s say you decide to start doing this today. You list five things that went right yesterday and you continue this for the next 30-days. At the end of 30-days, you’ll have a list of 150 things that went right in your life.
Now consider how powerful it would be to read this list of 150 things that went right in your life.
Imagine having a horrible day and then reading this list. How quickly would your day shift from bad to good?
The cool part is that this little exercise only takes a few minutes and it compounds very quickly.
The little exercise is incredible in-and-of itself; however, the compounded consistency is where the real magic can be found. You end up creating a little book detailing how amazing your life really is.
Give it a try for the next 30-days and see what happens.
Yes, it is a little ironic that I was reading a book about happiness while vacationing at Disney! It’s really not the happiest place on earth. For the first part of this trip, I was complaining about the long lines, the high-prices and the massive amount of people!