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11 Reasons to be Cheerful

11 Reasons to be Cheerful

    We tend to focus on our problems in life and to take for granted our blessings and achievements. It is natural that we think about the difficulties we face and the challenges we have to overcome but there is a real danger that when we do this we can become become weighed down with worry or negative feelings.  It is good to step back for a moment from our day to day cares and to list all the things that are going well in our life.  It will give us a positive lift and help to put our problems into perspective.  Here is one way to count your blessings.

    1. Life.  Start by giving yourself one point for being alive. It may sound silly but wait a moment.  Your life represents a tiny interlude between the vast times when you did not exist and when you will be dead.  You are in that tiny moment right now and you can do things to change your life so be thankful for that at least.

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    2. Health.  If you are healthy and do not suffer from any major diseases or afflictions mark up another point.  We take our health for granted and only realise how important it is when we become ill.  Most of us have some minor ailments but if you are reasonably healthy then you are much better off than people suffering from serious illnesses and you should be deeply thankful.

    3. Relationship. If you are in a stable relationship with another person then chalk up a point.  If you can honestly say that you love them and they love you then give yourself a bonus point.  Many people search for love without success so if you have found it then cherish it and count yourself lucky.

    4. Family. If you have children, brothers or sisters or your parents alive then add another point.  They may be frustrating and they will have their faults but they are your flesh and blood.  Whatever happens in life your family remains your family and if you have them around you then you should be thankful for that – just ask someone who has lost family members.

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    5. Work.  Give yourself a point if you are in work or full-time education.  Even if it is dull and unfulfilling at times you are still better off than the many people who are desperately seeking employment.

    6. Value. If you can honestly say that you are doing something that makes life better for other people and adds real value then give yourself a point.  This might involve your work, your volunteering, your parenting or some other aspect of your life.  Are you making the world a better place?  If not then this is an area to think about.

    7. Achievement. Can you look back on something that you are proud of?  Did you achieve something worthwhile?  This might be at work, in sport, with your family or something else.  If you can you point to something that people would admire then give yourself another point.

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    8. Future – 1. Do you have something good to look forward to?  This might be a holiday, a promotion, a wedding or just a trip to the cinema with your partner. If you have something good coming up then think about it, smile and add another point.

    9. Future – 2. Do you have a plan for your improvement and success?  This might include your career, your education, your finances and your relationships.  If you have a plan then add a point.  You are better off than most of the population.  People with plans generally do better than those who just muddle along.

    10. Financial security. Are you financially secure?  Are you living within your means?  Can you see a reasonably prosperous future?  If so you are much better placed than people who are burdened with excessive debts and who struggle to make ends meet.  You should get some satisfaction from that and you can add a point.

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    11. Friendship. Do you have one or more good friends who you can share your joys and problems with?  Is there someone whose company you enjoy and with whom you can have a laugh?  If so give yourself a final point.

    Add up your total. How many points did you get?  The maximum is 12.  Eight or over is a good score.  Now take a moment to express thanks for your success and good fortune.  You have a lot to be grateful for.

    Image: Pixietart

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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