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The Effort is Within Your Control

You control the effort, not the results. If there is anything in your life you want to change, you can take action today to move towards your desired goal. You might not know exactly what action to take. That is fine – then the action today is to determine what action you need to take tomorrow.

You are not in full control of what direction your life takes. Your environment, other people, and chance all play a part, too.

That is why the focus of your daily review before bed should be on the action you took today, not the results you experienced.

Single Tasking Day

Today 2/22 is “Single Tasking Day.” That’s a made-up holiday, but there is a serious purpose behind it. We pride ourselves our ability to multi-task, but we are not really good at it. Unless one of the tasks is completely automatic – like walking or breathing – we are not actually multi-tasking. We are just switching our attention between several tasks. And every time we switch, we lose a little (or a lot) of time before we are productive on the new task.

Celebrate Single Tasking Day by selecting one task from your long list of half-finished tasks, and work on that one until it is complete. Every incomplete task takes up space in your mind. Notice how you feel lighter and more in control of your life once you can cross that task completely off your list. #SingleTaskingDay

Celebrate Success

Here in Denmark, we are celebrating our Oscar for “Best Foreign Movie” today. Well, most of us didn’t really contribute anything, but we can all enjoy Thomas Winterberg’s success with “Another Round.”

You can also celebrate other people’s success. I’m unlikely to win an Oscar, but I can still feel happy for those who do.

When someone around you is successful, examine how you feel. It is common for people who have suffered bullying or other emotional trauma to feel resentment for other people’s success. But being unhappy that someone else got the promotion or won the audition is adding unnecessary pain to your life. If you have that feeling, tell yourself you are happy for their success. If that feels too hard, tell yourself that you pretend to feel happy. it might sound silly, but simply telling your brain to pretend to be happy cancels the negativity so you are at least not adding to your unhappiness.

There are many successful people in the world. Share in their success.

Cook Something This Christmas

Christmas comes with many food traditions – special cakes and cookies, and things you only make for Christmas dinner. You are probably not going to large family Christmas gatherings this year, so that’s an opportunity to cook or bake something yourself. You don’t need to roast a duck – just find an easy recipe for something that belongs to Christmas.

Cooking and baking is a place where you can safely accumulate successes, and success – any success – is the antidote to anxiety and low self-worth. Make something, learn, and feel good. Merry Christmas!

Keep a Success Journal

To help you make positive changes in your life, it is a good idea to keep a success journal. At least once a day, write down something you succeeded in doing. Maybe you took a walk during your lunch break, or read a chapter in a book you meant to get around to, or cleaned out a drawer in your cabinet.

Occasionally flip through your success journal and notice all the successes you are accumulating. I recommend a physical book – the act of moving a pen over the page reinforces the experiences in a way that tapping on a keyboard doesn’t.