How many times have you read a new book, been to a great seminar, or learned some wonderful new piece of information that inspired you, but, for a myriad of reasons (you got busy, you didn’t write it down, life got hard, etc.) you didn’t put it into action?
This is something that happens a lot for many of us. We have the best intentions, but then life gets in the way, right?
When it comes to creating real growth and lasting change in our lives – both personally and professionally – it’s not what we know, but what we do that matters. Learning new things is fun, exciting, and rewarding. However, until we figure out how to incorporate that new information into our daily lives, it does us very little good.
As I travel around the country and speak to groups of all kinds about focusing on the good stuff and the power of appreciation, there are very few people I meet who don’t see the importance of bringing more appreciation into their lives, their relationships, their families, their work groups, and more. However, many admit that while they may know that appreciation is essential, they aren’t always sure when and how to put it into action.
Here are a few simple things you can do to bring more appreciation into your life:
Create a daily appreciation ritual. Appreciation of yourself, others, and life is something we want to begin to do on a daily basis – like bathing, brushing our teeth, or eating. Come up with things you can do each day that allow you to focus on what you are grateful for. Write in a journal, take some quiet time alone, talk to friends about what you’re grateful for, acknowledge your spouse, your family, your co-workers, or friends, or more. What you do specifically is not as important as that you do something genuinely and regularly.
Look for good stuff. We always find what we look for. Whether it’s with ourselves, other people, or life in general, we want to pay attention to what we’re paying attention to. Catch people doing things right and focus on the good stuff as much as possible. If you think about, thousands of things have already gone well and fallen into place just today for you to be sitting here, reading this article. Our challenge is to pay attention to all of the good stuff.
When someone compliments you, say “thank you” and then SHUT YOUR MOUTH: This is one you may have heard me talk or write about before. It’s a big one for many of us. Even if you feel funny or uncomfortable when people compliment you, simply say “thank you” and then shut up. Whatever you say after that (a self-deprecating joke, an insincere complimentary response, etc.) is often a way of avoiding the appreciation or deflecting the compliment. Just like a birthday present, say “thank you” and accept the gift (compliment) that is being giving to you. The better you become at receiving compliments, the more you will get.
Create support around you. We all need the support of others. If we want to create a positive environment within our home, at work, or even within our own heart and mind, we can’t do it alone. Share your commitment to appreciation with others and have them hold you accountable or gently remind you when you stray. And, the more positive, appreciative people we have around us, the easier it is for us to be that way too.
Acknowledge people freely and generously. Make a commitment to go out of your way to let people know what you appreciate about them. We have a choice in each moment about whether or not to share our appreciation of others with them. It often takes courage on our part, but when we acknowledge other people (in a genuine way), not only do we create a win-win situation; we actually encourage more of the behavior, attitudes, or attributes that we appreciate in them. Be the person in your family, your organization, or your community that takes the lead and freely acknowledges people all the time. It’s contagious and powerful!