Many of us are waiting for joy and happiness to find us without realizing that we can create the joy and happiness we have been waiting for. We can take the responsibility for implementing practices that create joy each and everyday.
Along with Hal Elrod's quote above, Lance Carter says, "More than being responsible for the decisions we make and the actions we take, it is taking responsibility to create our reality." In his book, Live Big, he talks about a daily practice he uses to create more joy. He journals each evening and rates his day on a scale of 1-10 and evaluates why he rated it that way. This helps identify the things that make his days better, which leads to him planning the things that elevate his days and avoiding the things that lower his rating. He also uses well designed questions to evaluate his day such as, "What happened that I am grateful for?" "What can I celebrate today?" and "What am I looking forward to tomorrow?" If he can’t think of anything that he finds exciting for tomorrow, he takes the time to create or plan something to look forward to. This creates a positive mindset and changes his expectations for the coming day. Implementing this practice has elevated the joy in his days greatly and he now has continuously highly rated days as a result.
Journaling is one of my favorite tools for uplifting my own mental wellness. Here are some questions that can help frame a positive mindset before starting to journal.
POSITIVE JOURNALING QUESTIONS
- What went well today?
- What will go well today?
- What was the best part of my day?
- What I am grateful for right now?
- What can I celebrate today?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
- What will make tomorrow great?
Journaling isn't the only practice that can create a positive mindset which allows for more joy and happiness. I began writing this blog post while volunteering in a vendor booth at a conference. Putting myself out there in this manner is new for me. I don’t enjoy conferences because I am still socially awkward and the process of learning the skills to network and meaningfully connect with people is still fairly uncomfortable.
During this conference, I could have sat there and continued to think about how uncomfortable I was and how I didn’t want to be there, but instead I worked to change my mindset. First, I practiced a little smiling, then I said some positive affirmations to create new expectations and to change my mindset.
- I am going to meet and connect with multiple high performers.
- Each connection may provide great opportunity.
- Today holds the possibility of being a fantastic day.
- I have the opportunity to grow and learn.
- I will be curious and engaged when meeting new people.
- I will be present.
- I will practice mindfulness.
- Today, I am a leader.
Next, I practiced some visualizations. I asked the following questions and then visualized the result of that question. I envisioned participating in each of the activities and the positive outcome of the experience. I focused especially on visualizing the most uncomfortable moments and moving through them gracefully. During the visualization, I would accept the discomfort for what it is, a feeling that is creating growth, and I would continue to engage and smile.
POSITIVE VISUALIZATION QUESTIONS
- What is going to go well during the event today?
- Who am I excited to meet today?
- How can I introduce myself to those people?
- How can I add value to the people I meet?
- How many members can I recruit for our organization today?
- How can I make a positive impact today?
- How can I create opportunities for myself today?
- What am I grateful for in this moment?
Using these techniques helps ease the anxiety and create more pleasant experiences. These can be translated to any activity and be used everyday. Choosing better questions makes these practices more useful. It is important to re-frame the questions we are asking ourselves, so we can find better answers. Re-frame the question of "How is today going to go?" which is left open for positive or negative responses to something like “What am I looking forward to?” “What am I excited about?” “What will make me smile?” "How will today be great?" or "What's going to go well?" Changing the questions we ask, helps change our mindset to a more positive perspective which creates more opportunities to experience joy.
Once we realize that we are responsible for implementing positive habits in our lives and that we can create our own joy by implementing these positive habits, we can take real ownership in choosing how we spend our days.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard