I realized after I posted my series on New Year’s Resolutions (you can see those posts here, here, and here) that sometimes when we’re focused on what we want to fix or improve, it’s easy to forget what has actually been working well.
I was reminded of this when a friend of mine told me that her strategy for writing New Year’s Resolutions was to imagine what she’d see in her notebook if she was sitting at her kitchen table on December 31, 2010, writing down all the good stuff she had accomplished over the last 12 months. I love that approach, because it helps us not only identify goals, but visualize what it would feel like to have already accomplished them.
And then I realized that sitting down now and writing out what we had accomplished in 2009 could also be a powerful exercise — a way, that is, of affirming what progress we’ve already made, not just what we need to do to improve. When I tried it myself, I realized I had made considerable progress in my own professional life over the last year, including attracting new clients, increasing my revenue, paying down some business debt, making a clear plan for where I want to be, professionally and financially, in five years, and joining a new professional organization.
Plus I learned how to knit.
Just one day later, reader Mary Anne Thomas sent me a note explaining that one way she and her husband combat the emphasis on doom and gloom that can arise when a business, an economy, or a family hit hard times, is to keep lists of the “good news.” In a column for the Black Mountain News, Thomas describes how to create and use a “Good News Board” on which workers write down everything positive that’s happening with the company. “It’s infectious,” she writes.
I like that idea a lot — and like the idea of keeping a more personal list of good things that are happening in your personal life, too. So try taking even five minutes to list out some good news in your life. It could become a powerful new habit this year.