Think a little less about managing your problems and a little more about managing your focus.
Ready to finish the year strong?
Inner peace and progress are both built through small daily victories. It’s the individual choices we make day to day that make us whole in the long run. Yes, the happiness of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your daily actions.
So for the days and weeks ahead, challenge yourself to focus on one or more of these:
- When a new day begins, challenge yourself to smile genuinely and gratefully.
- When you don’t get what you want, challenge yourself to appreciate that there are lots of people in this world who will never have what you have right now.
- When holding on no longer seems reasonable, challenge yourself to appreciate the fact that nothing in life is permanent, and to realize that once you embrace this you can do almost anything you wish, because you’re not trying to hold onto anything anymore.
- When you catch yourself thinking the grass is greener elsewhere, challenge yourself to water the grass you’re standing on.
- When you absolutely can’t control what’s happening to you, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening—in your response is your power.
- When it seems like problems are stacking up, challenge yourself to face these problems positively.
- When there seems to be little hope, challenge yourself to find some.
- When the road ahead seems too rough, challenge yourself to acknowledge that there’s absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one small step at a time.
- When you catch yourself overthinking things, challenge yourself to take a step forward instead.
- When you are completely uncertain about what the future will bring, challenge yourself to make the best and most positive use of the present.
- When you have two good choices, challenge yourself to go with the one that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.
- When you are going to do something—anything at all—challenge yourself to do it with enthusiasm and devotion.
- When others say your ideas are crazy, challenge yourself to do what feels right anyway, to not care if your goals seem crazy to others, and to remember that the crazy ideas are the ones that often have the greatest impact.
- When there are lots of excuses for why you can’t get it done, challenge yourself to focus on all the reasons why you must make it happen.
- When you find yourself wishing for instant gratification, challenge yourself to admit that if you could have it all instantly, it would not be worth having – for the real value of accomplishment is in the accomplishing.
- When mistakes are made, challenge yourself to learn from them, laugh about them, and waste not a minute on past outcomes you can’t control.
- When you find yourself trying to control too much, and thus enjoying too little, challenge yourself to let go, relax, take a deep breath and appreciate “what is” for a while. (Read Loving What Is.)
- When there is needless drama and negativity surrounding you, challenge yourself to look the other way.
- When your own negativity tries to break through, challenge yourself to recall that you are in control of the way you look at life, and then use your struggles and frustrations to motivate yourself rather than annoy yourself.
- When you find yourself running in place attempting to fix and fight the old, challenge yourself to build and grow something new instead.
- When doing the wrong things is easier, challenge yourself to do the right thing, even if no one else will ever know—because YOU will know.
- When you catch yourself praying for an easy life, challenge yourself to pray for the strength to endure a difficult one that’s worth living.
- When everything seems jumbled and rushed, challenge yourself to take a step back so you can see things clearly again.
- When you meet someone new, challenge yourself to be patient with them, to pay attention to them, and to remember that everyone you meet has something important to teach you.
- When you don’t like someone, challenge yourself to identify an insecurity within yourself that they are triggering.
- When someone treats you poorly, challenge yourself to treat them with kindness and respect anyway – not because they are nice, but because you are (and then walk the other way if you must).
- When a negative situation gets emotional, take a deep breath, and challenge yourself to remember that inner peace begins the moment you decide not to let another person or event control your emotions.
- When someone you meet is lost, challenge yourself to help them find their way.
- When a friend falls down, challenge yourself to be the first to extend a hand.
- When each day has ended, challenge yourself to appreciate that you have done your very best. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of the NEW edition of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
Will you embrace these challenges in the days ahead?
Which one resonates the most right now?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.
I love this. I cannot go a day without logging onto your blog or reading an excerpt from your 1,000 Little Things book. Each time I do , the first thing I read is normally exactly what I need to read 🙂
You guys are definitely Angels in my eyes.
Keep up the good work, and I will do the 30 day challenge, I am already feeling amazing about it! 🙂
With the guidance I’ve received from your blog emails and book over this past year, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the first two, but #3 I need to work on. I still try to hold on to everything — for fear that it will all change, or that it never will go my way.
Karen Alvarez says
The perfect antidote to the craziness of the holiday season. Your refreshing way of turning all the stresses into growth opportunities has helped me immensely over the past months. Thank you for sharing this wisdom.
Charmi Lad says
This was a great blog post. Number 17 and 27 really resonate with me. I try to control things in my life which leaves me unhappy and full of anxiety. I will try to relax more and go with the flow. I will also breathe the next time I am faced with an emotional situation that turns negative because of an event or person. Thank you for this blog post!
Barbara Regenspan says
When someone treats you poorly, challenge yourself to treat them with kindness and respect anyway – not because they are nice, but because you are (and then walk the other way if you must.
I have had two experiences in the past month when I was tempted to point out to the same woman in a wonderful study group who offers criticism of others a bit too readily why her comment about my behavior was hurtful. But instead, I thanked her for being so observant and for wanting the best reception of me possible in our study group. This week she commented in the group about how my passion for ideas was such a positive challenge for her, and had led her to prepare more thoroughly for our group discussion. I believe that at age 70, I am finally learning that most of the time, critical comments are about the critic, and not the receiver, and shoring up the critic can produce more open-ness, seriousness of purpose, and even laughter and joy.
Tracy Steen says
Wow!! Your post really helped me, Barbara! Ive been struggling with a really difficult situation with my stepmother for years and the idea of not getting mad at her or resenting her for her attitude or criticism is a huge one! Im going to try this the next time we’re together and see how it goes.
Karen S says
I agree wholeheartedly about treating people with kindness and respect, even if they’re not doing the same. It’s definitely not easy, but it makes you feel good.
Elizabeth Kroll says
14:When there are lots of excuses for why you can’t get it done, challenge yourself to focus on all the reasons why you must make it happen.
This one resonates with me because as I challenge my thinking, I notice excuses pop up. Many excuses I would allow myself to get away with unless taking the time to analyze them. I am looking to relate them to my goals and how daily action brings inevitable results. Our choices effect more than just ourselves- that is enough to get me off my butt!
15:When you find yourself wishing for instant gratification, challenge yourself to admit that if you could have it all instantly, it would not be worth having – for the real value of accomplishment is in the accomplishing.
I was just thinking of this one today– Having it all at once would be a bore. I am so glad that we are all here with the opportunity to keep working toward something within ourselves as well as outside of ourselves. Let that freedom to challenge ourselves be FUEL to inspire ourselves to keep going.
Paul Beaudoin says
4. When you catch yourself thinking the grass is greener elsewhere, challenge yourself to water the grass you’re standing on.
and to remind myself that sometimes, the one looking at my grass, thinks it is greener …
Paul Carvalho says
I don’t know what is wrong with me, To be totally honest, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with me, but for some reason, every day I go to work and give 100% and it’s like I am not there, because of some of the worker seem to have a problem with me.
The funny thing is I will always go out of my way to make everyone smile but I still get the cold shoulder from someone.
Either way, I will not let anyone steal the Joy I have in my heart. And I wanted to I say, Thank you for, your encouraging words, that I do take serious.
Again Thanks for all you do , to keep me afloat. 🙂
Karen S says
I’m so sorry your co workers treat you this way. Recently I have had something happen that put me in a bad light. Many of my co workers rallied around me, others are not even making eye contact and avoiding me. I did nothing wrong, but I guess in their eyes I’m wearing a scarlet letter, so to speak. How I react to them is my power. Just continue being your true self, if they have a problem with you, that’s on them.
Karen S says
Recently I have had something happen to me that was pretty devastating. I took FMLA from work because of it. With my husband’s support, and some dear friends at work, I decided to go back. The first few days weren’t easy, but I got through it. How I react to the situation is my power. I refuse to let others who have made their own mistakes, dictate how I should feel. The higher ups understood my reasons for taking some time off and welcomed me back. I am in therapy for dealing with the unpleasantness of it all, and I’m back at work doing my best just as I did before. If people choose to ignore me, avert their eyes instead of saying hello, etc… that’s on them. I am being the better person by not treating them unkindly.
I like these challenges. I usually have a pretty positive outlook, but a few months ago, someone stole some items from my home. This is the first time in over 40 years anything has been stolen. The value of the stolen items is small, but now I have a fear for my safety that I can’t seem to shake off. Maybe a few of these can help me to overcome that fear.
Yesterday I watched a friend, who is only 4 years older than me and in assisted living, struggle for over an hour to get out of bed. He finally gave up and decided to stay there. He was out of breath from all the attempts he made, and I am not strong enough to pick him up. It hurt me to see this. When I went home, I thought how blessed I am that I only make old man noises when I get up. My grass is definitely greener than his.
William Moore says
Where have you guys been like forever? Really your daily advice emails are so often spot on to issues I’m dealing with it’s scary. On the cusp of a new year these bits of simple straightforward advice have really opened my eyes on much of the BS I’ve been dealing with for years, drama, rude and flaky people, people who disrespect you and treat you like your time isn’t worth much, like being constantly late or not following through on what needs to get done. And the scary thing, these people are adults. This is something you’d expect from a high school student.
Anyway I appreciate this post.
Lisa Mez says
All of this is very interesting, the 25 point hit me very hard. will definitely apply this to myself.
Thanks for Sharing
Kristine Kuprevica says
Wonderful challenges not only for the end of the year, but for every day. Very inspiring – thank you so so much for sharing 🙂