A little while ago, I started getting obsessed with all the ways I wasn’t meeting my own bar. When I mentioned this to a friend, he suggested I start focusing on the ways I was doing well rather than torturing myself with the ways I was failing. I thought that was a grand idea and set about designing a practice to get it done.
What I came up with was a definition of what achievements constitute a victorious day for me and the practice to record these victories on a daily basis. Since I was already playing with mini-habits, I simply tweaked and expanded the ones I was already doing to ensure I logged daily victories in each of the four domains: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
And what do you know? It worked! In fact, it has been tremendously successful in three ways:
One: It keeps me focused. If I’m not sure what to do with myself at any given moment, I can ask myself if I’ve been all the way victorious yet and if not, get on one of the tasks. If I already have, know I can relax. Two: By writing down my victories from the day before, I experience the twin benefits of buoying my spirit and motivating myself to keep kicking ass. Three, and perhaps, most importantly, my victory practice means that everyday I’m moving forward, little by little, on the things that matter most to me.
This new practice, I’m happy to report, has been working like a charm! As long as I get my four tasks done, it means I had a pretty good day, even if everything else has gone to hell. And even if I only did two, I’m going to be happier than if I did none of them (but I’ll tell you, four still feels a heck of a lot better).
In case you were wondering, here are the things I picked to focus on. Each one aligns with one of my key values: staying fit, connecting spiritually, getting creative and staying emotionally level. Hence, if you decide to pursue your own victories, it may be helpful to ask yourself what *your* values are and build from there.
- Meditation. With all those studies coming out that say how very, very good the spiritual practice of meditation is for you, how can I not? I’m adding 30 seconds per week. At the end of the year, it’ll be 13 minutes, but right now it’s a very manageable 90 seconds.
- Exercise. All I must do to be physically victorious is the Beach Body series warmup: two minutes of stretching, yoga, and a teeny bit of strength work. If I’m feeling it, I can go running or keep plowing through Beach Body routines according to their handy chart, and if I’m not, I still walk away a champ.
- Nature. My rule is to get out for at least two minutes and smell the air. I do this because nature is really good for humans. If I’m housebound or time crunched, getting out might just mean a spin around the open space in my backyard for a couple of minutes.
- Fiction writing. This is toughtest victory to attain — if I leave it to the end of the day, I won’t have the gumption to make it happen. But it feels awesome when I do it and so, more often than not, I’m getting it done. Not that it is all that big of a deal: All I have to do to meet the bar is one sentence of fiction and one paragraph of editing. More and more, I’m getting lost in the flow of telling the stories. It’s an awesome thing!
Good luck and stay happy!
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