What is one small action I can take today to feel more joy in my life?
What is one tiny step I can take to move forward on my goals?
These are the two questions I ask myself every morning in 2020. The idea comes from a book I have started my year with, The Joy of Appreciative Living by Jacqueline Kelm.
2019 was a rough year for me, lots of changes, overwhelm, and emotional overload. I felt I needed more positivity and structure to herald in this year. This 5–minute exercise every morning has started me on a good path.
First, I write down three statements of appreciation for something over the last 24 hours. My notes have included some of the little things my husband has done, a really powerful session with a client, getting a package a day earlier than I expected, a nice nurse at the clinic, and a sunny day after a string of gray ones. The “rule” is the three appreciations for today can’t be ones I’ve already used.
Then I take 30 seconds to reflect on each one, to embody the situation and really feel of appreciation.
Next, I choose a small action to do that brings a feeling of joy to my day and write it down. Mine have ranged from taking a walk around the neighborhood on a cold sunny day. Reading another chapter of a novel I’m engrossed it. Starting the day with a poem. 10 minutes of stretching in the morning before I get dressed for a busy day. Turning on the gas fireplace and enjoying a cup of herb tea.
At the end of the day, I feel so much satisfaction that there was at least one moment of choosing something joyful in my life.
I’ve found that the act of choosing something has primed my brain to look for other bits of time to add in something I enjoy, instead of defaulting to some niggling task that I don’t. My ‘joy act’ on Monday was reading a poem at the start of the day. Then, I found a few extra minutes in the late afternoon and instead of going through the pile of mail, I used it for 5 minutes of stretching, because I know that brings joy to my life. I felt like I scored a BOGO!
The extra twist I added on this routine was choosing one tiny action (and write it down!) that relates to a goal and commit to get done that day. My ‘tiny act’ has been as simple as an email that has been on my mind and needed to be sent. Cleaning out one drawer of my desk. Taking a 15-minute break to vision on a new project. Watching a class video while having my morning coffee. Of course, far more gets done in the day, however by choosing that one tiny step and making sure it happens, I know at the end of each day I feel like I accomplished something that I chose to do.
That’s it…3 Appreciations and Two Choices.
5 Minutes in the morning to empowering choice and positivity in my life.
I’ve been doing this for 9 days. I feel a pleasant rush of anticipation at the start of each day as I look forward to doing the exercise while my cup of Earl Grey tea steeps. And, I notice a feeling of peace at the end of the day, no matter what’s been crossed off my To Do list. Anticipation, peace, joy, moving forward, choice—what an uplifting way to start the new year!
What new practices are you trying to make 2020 a great year for you?