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Victory in many disciplines comes from habit. Monday January 2, 2017

Victory in many disciplines comes from the habitual repetition of good patterns of thinking and behaving.

Practice the wrong pattern, and you'll succeed at becoming very proficient at doing the wrong thing - there's a blog in that alone! If you've ever wondered how people develop their little idiosyncrasies - trust me, they've practised them!

But today, I want to concentrate on one habit of thinking that will bring you more happiness.

What Worked Today?

Every day is peppered with tiny victories.

Sometimes you have to dig for victory! Yes, sometimes you've got to dig to find them, but it's a great habit to develop - each and every day.

You may not be surprised to learn that, like many of us, I really didn't like 2016. In fact, I couldn't wait to see the back of it. There is something refreshing about 'starting over', isn't there? Of course, one day is not really different from the next, nor is one year necessarily different from another - it's simply the way we package time in our minds. Nevertheless, I have hope that 2017 will be brighter for all of us.

One of the great lights that has kept me buoyant and on course in 2016 has been a useful good habit - a thinking habit. This habit has helped me even in the darkest moments.

I call it "5 A Day" - and it's based on Dan Sullivan's "21 Day Positive Focus."

It's easy to apply and a delight to practice.

Every night, you reflect on 5 things that 'worked well' during that day.

The Three Steps

1. Identify 5 'wins' for you that day - 5 outputs that were tangible and successful. Mine are usually tiny victories.

2. Reflect on 'why' they were wins for you - give them more meaning by examining their significance.

3. Decide on what action you could take to repeat these little victories.

That's it.

Dan gives about 20 minutes to this each night. I give it 5. I'm sure Dan gets even more from it because he invests more in it, so I may extend my nightly reverie, but for now, it just finishes the way I look back on the day (even the horrible ones) through a positive frame.

Dan's suggestion is that this will become second nature if you do it for 21 days - your brain will see it as something it just does. My research this year suggests 66 days is more like it, but I can see no value in ceasing such a pleasant ritual anyway.

I wish you a tangible increase in peace of mind, positive focus, and happiness in 2017.

Happy New Year!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Orangeblossom Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 8:21am

Thanks for your blog Lex. You have expressed what I have thought for years. Your suggestions, as always are very practical & helpful.

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:56am

Thank you, Orangeblossom, and I wish you a peace-filled New Year.

Pablo Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 8:43am

Thanks Lex. I just looked back at yesterday which was arguably the worst of my 60yrs on planet Earth. Not a good start to 2017. Even with such a cr p day, I managed to pick out 6 small positives.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:25am

Sorry you had such a terrible start to the year Pablo. I hope it just gets better from here!

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:55am

Hi Pablo, I'm with Mary, and also very grateful that you gave this little strategy a go even in the midst of horrible times. Sending love and a wish for good fortune - here's to a great list of positives day in, day out.

Hopeful One Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 8:59am

Hi Lex- what a fantastic way to start 2017! Practice makes permanent not perfect .Nerve cells that fire together wire together. Positive thinking is a habit just like negative thinking.Why not also add a laugh which could be the icing on the cake?

This joke is not PC - apologies to all mother -in- laws the Joke Squadron has nothing against them .

Bert took his Saint Bernard to the vet. "Doctor," he said, "I need you to cut off my dog's tail." The vet stepped back, "Bert, why should I do such a terrible thing?" "Because my mother-in-law's arriving tomorrow, and I don't want anything to make her think she's welcome."

Jane Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:51am

This made me smile

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:57am

I'm with Jane, Hopeful One... that's funny! Here's to adding a laugh to every list of positives!

Jane Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 10:11am

It's a great idea. My Mum, who now sadly has dementia/Alzheimer's, always taught me to try to funny humour in every situation. Sometimes a real challenge but really works.

Jane Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 10:13am

Find humour! Typo!

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 12:34pm

That's a great typo... love it!

Hopeful One Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 5:46pm

Hi Guys- thank you for your comments. It is what keeps the Squadron going.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:34am

Great idea.

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:59am

Thanks, Mary. Dan's been using it for years, and I have every reason to continue with it based on the current benefits delivered.

Jane Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:51am

Really useful post Lex, thank you

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 9:58am

You're most welcome, Jane. I've used this on the darkest of days, as well as the more bearable ones. In both scenarios, it has helped. May it continue to help you too.

Jane Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 10:24am

Thank you Lex.

Lex Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 10:04am

Wow, I've just noticed something new to me. If you highlight the text and then right click, there's an option (on my Mac) to "Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track". Yes, it's a robot but the inflection is pretty good. Clever and useful.

the room above the garage Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 4:25pm

Hello Lex, this has arrived at just the right time for me! I knew I was grinding myself into a pulp with busy but was unable to the crumbling has started and I feel myself slipping down. Horrible, sad and scary no matter how often... This new tool will be what I need to refocus. Take time and think, re-see the day and maybe even plan the next. And thank you for sharing that you give it 5 minutes. It's all my brain could manage and so it's doable. Thank you, love ratg x.

LP Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 12:28am

Hi ratg, I hear you! With so much going on, it seems to make sense to keep going at that pace while you can. I've noticed myself snapping and feeling tearful, which is partly hormonal, but also the last few weeks catching up with me. It'll pass though. I hope that the exercise helps. Love LP xx

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:05am

Dear Ratg and LP, I'm going to add 'sleep' to my remedy. I had trouble before Christmas which means that I'm really behind on delivering on some promises. Instead of taking the bait, and running myself ragged trying to fix this, I've deliberately 'over slept' and it's doing me good. Rest, review, recreate!

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:05am

...and, of course, Ratg, I'm so glad it was a timely word for you.

The Gardener Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 5:19pm

HO - a goody. One of our children used to ask ALL guests, welcome or tolerated, when they were going home. Some, notably my mother, were distinctly miffed - did not realise the child in question had an insatiable curiosity - just wanted facts. Lex, I think I have been doing most of what you advise. If I did not sift some good out of the day gone by (well nigh impossible the last month, despite visitors) and think that I WILL accomplish things the next day I'd collapse in despair. Just had an hour from my most despairing friend - 30 years I've been picking her up from near permanent depression. I think, now, she has a most untidy mind, going on scatty! Tried hard today - her husband took her on a cruise - sort of last hope. She DID enjoy meeting new people (not OUR type) - so I tentatively suggested she enlarged her social life. Somewhat scuppered, she's taking so many drugs (another new lot) she is advised not to drive - and they live a long way from town and neighbours - with a long drive which often goes under snow. They ought to move to a town, or thriving village, while they can, but husband agin it. Back to Lex, and an attempt, while I still have 4 days to think and sleep!!! where the priorities are. Week-ends are hell, often end up hysterical - to cope, this means I must sort out practicalities for the wheel chair - corset!!! for my back against our gutters and pavements, ramp to get it in the car. Getting him moving at all needs ear plugs and skin of rhinoceros - have to work on it. More emphasis, and better planning, to take full benefit of every respite occasion. New idea, do publicity to see if any students want English coaching - and get them talking to Mr G. Long shot, because his likeness to a hibernating tortoise is getting stronger. Looking at Dan's 20 minutes a night and define the times when Mr G is quiescent - the hour after I get him to bed, usually. But (should not let 'but's' interfere, that is the time when TV is really interesting. Oh dear, another screed - only yourself to blame, Lex, it really started a huge train of thought.

Hopeful One Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 5:49pm

Hi Gardner- glad the laugh brightened your day. I honestly don't know how you keep going. You are THE 'Iron Lady' !

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:10am

May the train of thought carry you to a GOOD destination, dear Gardener... We all share Hopeful One's respect for your resilience.

The Gardener Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 5:23pm

The 'not OUR type' above was my friend's opinion - they are definitely 'county' types and apparently the boat was full of North Country people.

the room above the garage Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 6:46pm

TG IS the Iron Lady. My only wish is that we were closer so I could do soup runs. Soup being the font of all healing and life :-) And HO, never stop. The steady solidity of yourself is like the ticking of a clock for me, I know where I am when I have checked it. No pressure LOL!!!

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:11am

Oooo Ratg... a blog or a business brews there... The Soup of Life. With so many people coming up with a smoothie for this and that, surely there's a space for soups with similar purposes?

Rebecca Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 6:54pm

I love this Lex. How funny as I put a really negative comment on facebook about how I hoped this year wouldn't be as crap as the last few and my parents got onto me about how I should be more positive. I thought this would be a good new years resolution to be more positive. I used to write down three positives at the end of a day and don't know why I stopped doing it. I found it started to get my mind looking for the positives. Will definitely start again from tonight.

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:12am

It's a way of framing the day, Rebecca. And I've got a buddy to whom I send my list, so I've got a little nudge to keep doing it! I wish you well with it, and may it always be a pleasure, not a burden.

LP Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 11:48pm

Thanks Lex, so true about practice. A nice tip to start the year with. LPxx

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:14am

Result! I don't know what I would have done without writing last year - it's been a tonic - my mind gym - but having positive comments helps me keep it up. Guess that puts you and the other kind Moodscopers at the top of my grateful list!

Leah Mon, Jan 2nd 2017 @ 11:52pm

a useful idea. I will adapt it and make it a max of 5 and a min of 1 so it reduces any pressure. Most days I can find one good thing but 5 maybe a stretch!! Thanks for all your blogs throughout last year.

RATG would that be chicken soup!! My culture feels anything can be made better by home made chicken soup. What soup will you be taking. I would fly some over to TG if it would travel!!!

Lex Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 9:15am

I'm loving this soup theme. "A Soup for Each Season of the Soul"? Thank you for your kind words, Leah - writing helps, but having the writing appreciated is like soup for the soul!

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