My daughter is a worry-wart. I don’t feel guilty saying it: she would say the same herself. But optimism is not an inherent part of her nature.
Last semester (her second-to-last in college) she was having a bit of a hard time: feeling kind of blue … low motivation … a cloud hanging over her head. We talked about what she might do to shift the energy.
She started journaling. At the beginning of each day, she set three goals: something she’d do to take care of herself – no matter how small. It could have included things as simple as “eating three healthy meals” or “going to class” or “studying for tomorrow’s test.” Then, at the end of the day, before going to sleep, she’d write down everything good that she’d done that day. It might have included the three morning goals – but it often went well beyond that.
The first night she called before bed to tell me that she’d filled a page and half of “good things” at the end of the day – andthat she’d completed all her morning goals.
Within a week, she was feeling much better – and her school performance had picked up. The structure of daily goal-setting and self-recognition was changing the way she was seeing herself, and giving her motivation to do more.
And her last two semesters at college she was a “straight A” student, for the first time ever in her school career.
It’s not unlike what happens to us at work. We get overwhelmed with deadlines and mistakes, and we forget to appreciateone another – and ourselves. Appreciation unleashes positive emotions – and positive emotions boost performance.
Take time today for appreciation. It may just change your life.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net