Spot the Success

As someone who grew up as an overachieving productivity nerd, I can forget sometimes that I don’t need to be checking off all those boxes on my todo list. I can feel accomplished just knowing I’ve done some simple things in my life for the day.

Instead of a “to-do” list, try out a “done” list. Write down 10 things that you’ve done today that have helped your life, someone else, or the world. There is no item too small. Taking a vitamin or texting a friend can feel like nothing, but each action is beneficial and each action matters.

“Spot the success” is about appreciation, not evaluation. The goal isn’t to assess how much you’ve done or how well you’ve done it, but rather to nourish gratitude for each positive action.

This technique is a form of cognitive reappraisal—that is, looking at the same situation in a different way—a skill linked to lower levels of depression. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done, you’ll take a couple minutes to highlight what you have done. People often report that this practice helps them get more done, because it can build feelings of encouragement and momentum. And others find that it helps them relax, as acknowledging their positive actions shows them that they have, in fact, done enough.

I did it. I wrote a few sentences. I gave myself a moment to breathe and to appreciate life.

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