Lists are great. No fancy writing skills required, which also mean they make for great journaling exercises. You don’t need to worry about what to write, or how to write it. You just jot down bullet points, and make a list, as you no doubt often do in your life.
It’s important to mix positives and negatives. Especially when you are talking about negatives, because the last thing you want is your mind to keep dwelling on everything that’s depressing, or not-quite-right, or things that make you unhappy. A large part of sustaining positive mindset is about teaching your mind on how to focus on the good stuff.
It’s not rocket science, but it does take some work, particularly if your natural/habitual inclination is to focus on the negatives. So for today’s exercise, I would like you to make a list.
Make a list of things you love
These can be anything from big things like loving your home, your relationship, being a mother, God….to other things like when you have seen particularly bright side of humanity, or the kindness of your neighbour, or technology, or the colour red, or your football team, or travelling, or spending a Sunday morning having a leisurely breakfast with your journal.
You get the gist. Don’t limit yourself by scope. All things you love – big and small are allowed. Spend at least 10 minutes on this list, and as much as possible, keep writing, and keep writing fast.
This is about finding positivity in everything that’s good in your life, in your mind, and in your surroundings. So don’t be stingy.
Make a list of things you would like to change
There is absolutely no point just whining about things you don’t like and can’t/won’t do anything about. Instead, I want you to spend time thinking about things you would like to change.
Again, make a quick list. Perhaps you would change the government of your country, or perhaps you would change how the public transport is run. Perhaps you would change something about your child’s personality, or perhaps about your own. Perhaps you would change how you look, or perhaps you would change where you live. Don’t limit the scope. Everything that you would like to change, should be included, regardless of how big or small it is. If it matters to you, it should be on the list.
If you have a quick answer as to WHY you would like to change any particular thing, add it on, but don’t spend ages thinking about it.
The key here is to keep writing, and keep the flow going.
24 Hours After Writing the Lists
Once you’ve completed both lists, leave them alone for a day. Let it sink in. Don’t dwell on it. Don’t read them. Just ignore them, and go about your business.
Then the following day, first go through the list of things you would like to change. Now pay some attention to it. Try to write down WHY you would like to change them. And then, HOW. Actionable steps, as much as possible. You don’t need to have answers for everything, but at least make an effort to justify your reasoning.
Once you have been through the “Things You Would Like To Change” list, then go through the “Things You Love List” – and simply take a moment to appreciate it. To be happy. To be pleased that you have those things. Those are the things to dwell on!