Is the glass half-full or half-empty? It’s the age-old question that we often struggle with.
Most of the time, for me it depends on what’s in the glass. If it’s that nasty stuff you have to drink before a colonoscopy then the glass is half full because it contains something I don’t want to drink. If it’s a glass of my favorite wine, then the glass is half empty and I’m mourning the loss of it.
It’s the same glass and a similar amount of liquid, yet how I look at it is completely different.
The same is true for every aspect of your life. Every event, every interaction is colored by the way you choose to see it.
When you have a mental illness, it’s difficult to have a positive mindset. On the bad days, the glass is half empty no matter how hard you try to fight it. However, there is something I found that helps. That helper is the simple act of keeping a success list.
Quote of the Week
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” – Dale Carnegie
List Your Wins
What is a success or win list? It can be a piece of paper, notebook, or digital file where you make notes of the wins in your life.
These wins don’t have to be huge achievements such as publishing a best-selling book or coming in first in a marathon. No, for this list, any win or success should be counted.
- Did you take your medicine today? Win! Write it down.
- Did you take a shower and get dressed today? Win! Write it down.
- Did you eat a nutritious meal today without eating too much or too little? Win! Write it down.
It’s far too easy in our hectic lives to overlook the small successes. Keeping track of those wins, though, will help you to achieve bigger goals.
Use Your List
How can you use a success list?
Keeping a list of your wins is different than keeping a journal. The intention isn’t to mark down what happened or when. Instead, your goal is simply to have an easily accessible list to remind you of things that have gone right.
Depression is brutal, and when those gray skies roll in, it’s hard to see anything in a positive light. When you feel like you failed at everything and that there’s no sense in going on, that’s when it’s time to look at your success list.
Those simple words will remind you that you’re not a failure at everything. Keep your list handy so that you can remind yourself every time you need the emotional boost.
Success Breeds Success
An amazing thing starts to happen after you keep a success list for a while. Without consciously thinking about it, you start to make a positive mind shift.
Suddenly, you find a way to face the hard things in life without being distraught about your past mistakes. Seeing where you’ve succeeded gives you hope that you can triumph again. Each win is like watering a tree that only grows stronger and taller with time.
That tree is you.
This week, take some time to start a success list. Whether you get a notebook specifically for this purpose or simply grab a paper napkin off the table, start writing down your wins.
Don’t think you have any wins to write down? Think harder. Anything that you accomplished can be a win. Refer to the list above.
For the next few days, as you go about your daily activities, take a moment to write down every win. Try to get at least three every day, but don’t limit yourself to only three.
If, at the conclusion of the day, you don’t have at least three, then reflect back on your day and the things you accomplished. If nothing else, the simple fact that you’re still alive is a win, so write that down.
Now you only need two more.
As time goes by, every time you need encouragement or are feeling like you’re failing at everything, pull out your list and read your wins. Read them out loud if you can. There’s something wonderful about both seeing and hearing words.
Each of those wins will give you the strength to do more. Watch as those successes change your thinking and help you pursue your goals.
Coping with mental illness is a constant struggle. That’s why you need to be constantly working on improving yourself. Seek out and find the positive wherever you can. Take the time to keep a successful list and watch how it changes your life.
A quick poem before you go.