This month's tip is written with Thanksgiving in mind. It's a holiday I remember with great affection from my many years living in Southern California.
Much has been written about the importance of gratitude: being mindful of, and appreciating, all that we have to be grateful for, even (and perhaps especially) when times are tough or particularly challenging.
But in this tip I'm going to focus on the importance of appreciating ourselves and our achievements.
Personally, I don't think we do enough of it. And when we do actually stop to consider what we've achieved — in a day, a week, a year or a lifetime — it can have a profound impact.
Before every coaching session I ask my clients to reflect on what they've achieved since we last spoke. I often hear comments such as "I didn't think I'd achieved much at all until I sat down to think about it." And this is the point. We don't, typically, take time to 'think about it'.
Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder what on earth you've achieved? In fact, you're likely to have achieved all kinds of things. They might not be earth-shattering: we can't all scale Everest or find a new job every day! But look hard enough and you'll find a lot that you can feel proud about.
Here's a simple set of questions (courtesy of Solutions Focus Coaching) which you can use for reflection at the end of each day:
► What went well today?
► Pick three things you're pleased with.
► What pleased you about each of them?
► What do they tell you about your good qualities and practices?
► How might these qualities and practices be useful to you tomorrow?
► What else went well today?
Getting into the habit of acknowledging what we've achieved helps to maintain a positive and optimistic outlook; it makes us more resourceful, reduces stress, does wonders for our confidence and helps us to build on our successes.
Not only that, but research has shown that thinking about what’s been good about the day last thing at night releases the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps us to relax and sleep better.
Happy Thanksgiving and have a great month!