Challenges positive thinking

Attitude of Gratitude

My family has a tradition to go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and say what we are grateful for from the past year. We all hold hands and take turns sharing our joys and blessings. My nephew usually just says he’s grateful for pizza, but most people say they are grateful for friends and family, careers, our homes, and time that we have with each other. There are usually a few tears as we deeply feel how much we love each other, and as we remember the people that are no longer with us.

Thanksgiving may be over, but an attitude of gratitude is in season all year long. One of the most powerful things in the world is to be grateful for all of the positive things in your life. At different points in my life, I have used a gratitude journal to keep me focused on what’s really important. I am a strong believer in the concept that whatever you focus on, is what grows in your life. If you focus on the negative, the negative grows, if you focus on the positive, the positive grows.

The challenge I present to you is to focus on gratitude for the next 21 days. Here are some ideas for focusing on gratitude.

  1. Sit down with your family each day at dinner and take turns saying what you are grateful for from that day.
  2. Tell someone each day (could be the same person or a different one each day) why you are grateful for them.
  3. Thank the people that serve you for helping you out. This could be the grocery store clerk, the waitress, the bank teller, anyone that does something for you.
  4. Write a thank you note to someone that you appreciate. A handwritten note is great, but an email will do.
  5. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile and tell them why you are grateful for them.
  6. Tell the people that you work with why you are grateful for how what they do makes your life easier.

I challenge all of you to keep a gratitude journal for 21 days. Nothing fancy is needed here. Just get a notebook of some sort, and start focusing on gratitude. This may be difficult at first, and you may not know what to write. That’s OK. It gets easier. At Thanksgiving we tend to think about the big things we are grateful for, a gratitude journal is a chance to notice all of the little things.

A gratitude journal tends to be written at the end of the day. Before you retire at night, think of all the things that happened throughout your day. Write down all of the things that you are grateful for. If you can’t think of anything that happened, you might even write down something that didn’t happen. For instance, “I’m grateful that I didn’t have to do any laundry today.”

It might also help to focus on specific areas each day. Thing of the major categories in your life, and write about what you are grateful for in each area. An example would be:

  • My husband went to work late today so I got to spend the morning with him
  • My dog is getting more and more used to going outside at our new house
  • My son said the words “eight” and “nine” while we counted to ten today
  • My family: My mom helped out today while we finished up moving to our new house.
  • My job: Today was Saturday so I took the day off to enjoy our new home.

This method really helps on days when for instance, I might be frustrated with my husband, and I can refocus on why I am really grateful for him.

I have to admit that I haven’t kept a gratitude journal in a long time. I’m looking forward to doing this again, and want to hear from you about how things change in your life when you commit to an attitude of gratitude.


Starting Over

BooksI used to loved to have books read to me when I was a little girl. I never grew tired of Dr. Seuss or Where the Wild Things Are or any of a dozen of my favorite books. I’m sure many people have the same sort of memories.

I also remember not liking anything to interrupt having a book read to me. Sometimes the phone would ring or my dad needed help finding something or my sister would otherwise distract my mother while she was reading to me. My mom would go take care of the matter at hand and return to finish the book. Only problem was, I didn’t like having my special reading time interrupted. As my mom would start to pick up where she left off reading, I would turn back to the beginning of the book and demand that she start over again. It just wasn’t the same to start and stop over and over again. Those little books were meant to be enjoyed in one sitting.

When I was a bit older my mom and I would read longer books together. I learned to look forward to the next daily installment of Annie curled up with Mom on her water bed.

Now here’s the truth: Life is full of distractions. As a mother of a six-month old, I know this all too well. As I write this post I’m sitting in the dark nursing the baby to sleep and “typing” with my index finger on my Droid. I’ll publish the post in the morning. My life is in chunks now instead of a continuous stream. When my son was born my mother told me, “You’ll never eat a hot meal again.” I’m OK with that.

The purpose of this blog is to make positive changes one habit at a time. This latest challenge: Write 1,000 words/day for 21 days is a big one for me. I believe that writing is a key to unlocking many of my dreams. That shelf of books I want to write will not happen without a lot of 1,000-word days. It’s not just about writing books for the sake of writing books. Writing serves many purposes for me:

  • Journaling is a tremendous emotional release
  • Gratitude lists keep me positive
  • Blogging gives me a chance to help others
  • Writing articles and books can do all of the above
  • Thoughtful emails and notes (even text messages and status updates) keep me connected to people I care about
  • Writing can even sometimes bring me money (especially if it’s an invoice or a proposal)

There are tons of reasons to write.

Fifteen days ago I set a goal to write 1,000 words a day. I’m here to tell you that I may have come close to that two or three times so far. I have to say that the mere fact of having the goal has encouraged me to write more (my Facebook friends can attest to an increase in my updates and replies). However, it’s not enough: not considering how central writing is to meeting so many of my other goals.

I am officially declaring a fresh start to the 1,000 words/day challenge. If you’ve already been able to stick to it, great! Leave a comment and tell us how you’ve done it so far. If not, join me for a fresh start, starting right now.

Twenty-one days of 1,000 words/day starts now.

Although I did enjoy reading a little bit of Annie every day with my Mom, I don’t think we ever finished the book. I know that life has to be taken in small pieces most of the time. Writing 1,000 words/day (minimum) is going to mean typing in the dark or with a baby tugging at my hands as I peck at the keyboard. It’s worth it. 1,000 words/day is the small bite. It’s also sitting down and reading the little book  from start to finish because that’s how it’s meant to be done.


21 For 21 Toss

garbageEver heard that in order to get something, first you must let something go? If your hands are full, you are not open to receiving. That is the idea behind this 21-Day Challenge. Let’s get rid of the clutter so we can be open for wonderful, new things to come into our lives.

Get those garbage bags, recycling bins, and give-away boxes ready! For the next 21 days, I challenge you to throw (or give) away 21 things each day.

I don’t care what you get rid of. It could be anything! Think of this as a head-start on Spring cleaning. Go through your kitchen cabinets, bathroom or bedroom drawers, boxes in the basement, you name it. Pick up a garbage bag, and walk around the house until you’ve placed 21 items inside and then throw it away. Do this everyday for 21 days.

I want to hear back about how it’s going. What did you get rid of? What new surprises have come into your life as a result? How does the 21 For 21 Toss make you feel (anxious, exhilarated, hopeful, what else)?

I have to say that my idea for this challenge is inspired by Fly Lady. Want some more help with throwing things away and cleaning up? Check out the Fly Lady 27 Fling Boogie.

As you unclutter your house, watch as your mind and spirit also become ucluttered. Here are some quotes to inspire you to get started:

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
~Hans Hofmann

Clutter is Postponed Decisions.
~Barbara Hemphill

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris

How many things are there which I do not want.

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.
~Elbert Hubbard

No go on, get tossing!

Challenges positive thinking

21 Days Starts Now

Green Light

Positive change can start any time. Creating a new habit or breaking an old one can start now.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided to start a new behavior on a Monday or the first of the month or the first of the year. Often it never starts at all.

If you’re waiting until you mind is ready, you may never take action at all. I’ve heard it said that

“You can’t think your way into right action. You have to act your way into right thinking.”

If you see a challenge on this site that speaks to your heart, start today. You are never behind. No need to worry that you didn’t start a challenge at the same time as “everyone else.” You are starting exactly when you are supposed to start.

What are you waiting for? 21 Days Starts Now! Go!


Do it Now!

Try It For 21Is there something you’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet? Procrastinate no more!

The next 21 days are about ACTION! The challenge: Do something you don’t want to do (or that you think you don’t have time to do), that will ultimately improve your life, for 15 minutes each day.

Some examples might include:

  • Exercise
  • Call an old friend or family member
  • Clean the basement, closet, garage, or other area
  • Write out your goals
  • Write a book
  • Balance your checkbook
  • Try a new hobby
  • Pamper yourself
  • Have fun

The point is that when you want something done, you don’t have to do it all at once. Just take 15 minutes/day for 21 days. At the end of 21 days, you will have spent 5.25 hours improving your life. If your new habit continues, by the end of one year, you will have spent 91.21 hours moving closer to your goals. Sounds much better than where you’d be if you spent no time (which is nowhere).

Challenges positive thinking

The First 21 Days

Try It For 21Please join me in my first challenge to *not complain or gossip* for 21 days. I recently learned that 90% or more of our thoughts are negative. What if we could change that by even a little bit?

By not complaining or gossiping, I hope to begin to talk and think more positive, thereby fostering positive thoughts and actions from myself and those around me.

I got this idea from a book I’m currently reading called “The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity: A Simple Guide to Unlimited Abundance” by Edwene Gaines.

Are you up for the challenge?