Episode 171 Challenge #4 – Success File
Welcome Listeners to the Love Your Story podcast. Today’s episode is a part of a series where I am going into more detail on each of the challenges in my book – LIFE Living Intentional and Fearless Everyday, the 21 Life Connection Challenges.
In episode 89 I went into some wonderful detail about the process of doing Random Acts of Kindness —Challenge # 1 in the 21 Life Connection Challenges— and we did some boots on the ground recording on the RAK night and what they looked like, what popped up for those doing the acts of kindness, and what feelings and thoughts doing the RAK’s generated in those doing them. Responses of those who got the acts of kindness. It’s all a lot less predictable than it sounds.
In episode 164 I went into detail with Ashley Stuart, a de-clutter expert, and we talked about why challenge #2 – to get rid of 1 thing you no longer need – is so much more important than this simple act seems on the surface.
In episode 169 I tackled an in-depth on challenge #3 where we looked at what it really means and looks like to find the lesson in something that doesn’t go your way. Again, great stuff with expert Leslie Householder on finding the gratitude and lesson in our trials or disappointments.
This series of episodes is specifically to delve into why these challenges were included in the book in the first place, by getting into more detail about what they are, having experts weigh in on the ideas, and then showing real life examples.
Let’s jump right in! What is challenge #4?
Challenge #4 is “At the end of the day as you are lying in bed, make a mental list of all the things you accomplished today.” Now stick with me here – I know it seems easy, but some of the best things are!
This is one of my favorite challenges. I call it Success file – which is a play on words – success FUL – Success FILE. It’s one of my favorites because I love doing it. Because it makes me happy and because I get a great deal of satisfaction reliving, even just for a moment, the spaces in which I spent my time.
The way this works is at the end of the day you list – either in your head, or on paper, everything you got done that day. This switches things up a bit, because the natural tendency is to consider and mull over everything we still need to get done and to stress about it as we are falling to sleep. This makes it so our mind can’t slow down which means it takes longer to go to sleep, and then the sleep isn’t as good because your subconscious is concerned with all you still need to do because that’s what you fell asleep thinking about.
With Success Filing you lay in bed and count everything you did that day- “I got up and got out of bed. I had a shower and did my hair and make-up – nice job! I ate something healthy and made sure the kids had breakfast. I got all the kids to school. I did dishes. I had a good talk with a friend. I got to work on time. I sent a positive email. I said my prayers or went over gratitudes, I got caught up on….. you get the idea.
Let’s talk about WHY…
One way that we drive ourselves to overwhelm, stress and anxiety is by harboring a constant focus on what we have not yet accomplished. There will always be more to do, let’s get that out of the way right now. Even when you’re dead there will still be more that could be done, but I think what matters more is what you’ve already done and if you enjoyed that journey. I know that ENJOY THE JOURNEY is a cliche, but it’s a cliche’ because it is used often, and it is used often because it has real meaning.
If we take time to celebrate our wins —the small ones as well as large accomplishments, we improve our self esteem, we lower our stress, we get a moment of attention, satisfaction, and reconsideration about things that otherwise get pushed under the rug of time, lost to the pace of modern living.
When I lay in bed and do this I feel wonderful. I count everything I did that day and I almost feel a sigh of relief in my soul. It’s a mini celebration that makes me feel accomplished and gives me time to think over and reminisce about the good, the things that are now OFF my list, and this make me feel strong. And, if there are a few things that went awry I get to consider what I might have done differently and shift quietly.
I think the bottom line for doing this is simple – it makes us happier, improves our sleep, lessens our stress and improves our mood.
Why do we need a tool like this in the first place?
We are programmed, evolutionarily, to focus on what is wrong so we can protect ourselves from pain, attack, etc. It’s called a negativity bias. That’s why we can remember the emotional disappointments or traumas in our past so much easier than we can remember all the good things that happened to us. It’s so that we can remember what hurt us and stay away from it. The bummer side of this survival mechanism is that it creates a lot of unhappiness in our lives because our thoughts naturally swirl around the pain, the undone, the not right, and our thoughts create our reality and thus we end up having to actively manage our thoughts in order to create JOYFUL living on purpose. This involves monitoring the stories we are telling ourselves about our selves and our lives and the people and things going on around us. Well, challenge #4 is one of the techniques for managing the stories you are telling yourself about your journey.
When you take the few minutes it takes to acknowledge your own daily progress, to focus on what you did instead of what you didn’t do, when you celebrate your success – large and small and become your own best cheerleader, you shift your energy and your reality and your journey.
Bam! That is why this becomes a really gorgeous tool.
Now let’s get a little outside thought on the topic:
Rescue Time blog says, “When Harvard’s Teresa Amabile looked into the daily habits of hundreds of knowledge workers across industries, she found that out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation during the workday, “the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.”
Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are notoriously hard to measure. And worse, we tend to ignore them.”
As author Jocelyn K. Glei notes: “Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.
There’s a reason we’re busier than ever but feel like nothing gets done. When all you see is a huge goal looming in front of you, it’s easy to get depressed and feel defeated.”
Well, in response to Jocelyn’s comment that we lack a method for acknowledging our progress – NOW YOU NO LONGER LACK A METHOD. It’s called Success-File.
Let’s talk a little data now: In a study conducted to determine how the normal life inside organizations influence performance, researchers had 238 employees, across seven companies, keep a daily diary. After looking over 12,000 diary entries they found that capturing small wins every day is what keeps us motivated. To increase self confidence, motivation, and future success, all you need to do is record the small wins. Why does this work? When we acknowledge that we accomplished something our reward center is activated and we feel a sense of pride – specifically, the neurochemical dopamine is released and we feel happy, energized, hopeful. It’s why we seek accomplishment in the first place – we are hooked on the feeling. By acknowledging the wins daily we keep happy, we keep motivated, we keep positive.”
Well…that’s it for today people. Your challenge, of course, is to go to sleep tonight counting your accomplishments for the day, rather than sheep. And it will only take one day of doing this to realize how good it feels and you’ll be hooked.
Let’s hear it for less stress, better sleep, and the joy of celebrating ALL that you do!
The tools are here for better living.
If you’d like a copy of the 21 Challenges – Your own book with places to record your experiences. It’s yours. Easy to find on Amazon. It’s called LIFE – Living Intentional and Fearless Everyday – the 21 Life Connection Challenges. Just search my name and the word LIFE in capital letters and it comes right up. You can also go to www.loveyourstorypodcast.com and there is a link that will take you right to Amazon. The book has amazing challenges that have deep purpose in them. If you’re looking for a program or format for helping you to create more connection, possibility and self care in your life – I highly recommend all 21 challenges in the book.
Also – use the website to find all past episode and copy and share links of those episodes with the people you love. It’s an easy way to do an RAK – share an empowering episode with someone that would enjoy it.
See you in two weeks for our next fabulous episode. Have fun success filing.