Does what you read have a positive influence on who you are and who you want to be?
This could be a question we don’t usually ask ourselves.
Sure, we can say that we read a lot, but maybe we don’t consider the value of the words we’re reading and the impact those words and ideas have on our lives…
Do you read something every day?
Yeah – something more than emails… maybe even in a physical book?
(or on a Kindle – that counts too.)
Perhaps you read a daily quote, devotional, Scripture verse exploration, or for a motivational focus on health, profession, or recovery? As an example, one of my favorite Christian daily readings is “Streams in the Desert” – I pull it out in difficult seasons of life and it’s the one I gift to others the most.
Now, I’m going to say something controversial here…
don’t take this as a criticism, because I’m also a partaker…
If the majority of what you read are memes on social media, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
(sorry for calling us all out)
Social media posts and memes, whether it’s on TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram, may make us feel like we’re reading all the time, but I’m imagining (and have personal experience) that that kind of reading rarely adds much value to life.
Sure, we nod and “love” a meme, laugh at a cartoon or video, or smile with chagrin at a particularly targeted statement, but… do you remember it 10 minutes later? Or the next day?
Do you take action after reading something on social media?
I’m guessing not. (Unless it’s a “click to buy” link. Whoops.)
In fact, I might even suggest that we rarely change our habits because of anything on social media.
(I have an article about habits almost finished for next week because of a book I’m reading – stay tuned!)
So what am I hoping to inspire you to do?
(By the way, when reading anything, always ask yourself the above question!)
Here’s what I’m hoping to do with this article you’re currently reading:
Pull a book off your shelf that you’ve loved before or bought and haven’t yet read – and READ it!
Yes. Read. Something!
Read a few paragraphs or a chapter in a book that will add value to your life – read something that will change you for the better, help you gather new strength, increase your character, add to your abilities…
Reading is worth the time investment.
What book will you choose?
maybe it’s to strengthen or create good habits (I’m reading this book – it’s fascinating.)
perhaps the book you’ll read will target a recovery – physical, emotional, etc.
Leave a comment below and share what you’ll be reading to add value to your life!
(or click to go the website if you’re reading this in your email)
I keep a running list of books I want to read in an Amazon list – how do you keep track of what you read?
And this year I’ll be using both a digital app and a notebook/journal to record what I’m learning – more to come on that process called “Zettlekasten”. How do you remember what you’ve learned? I write about what I want to remember – here’s a post on the benefits of being optimistic that was created after I read something.
And lastly, to add value to your reading this month, here are two free images to print – in case you’d like to have a new bookmark and bookplate! I try to make something for you every time I write… Click to accessand consider subscribing to PositiveThanksLiving so you don’t miss anything. My purpose is to encourage you!
If you’re in the United States of America, you’ll be a part of Thanksgiving weekend and all its complications.
First off, let me wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.
Because of the title of the weekend and the focus of this site, I imagine you’re expecting me to ask you to be thankful about stuff, or express your gratitude over other things. Sure. That’s good. But we already talked about making gratitude a discipline and all the benefits…
And even if you’re elsewhere on this planet and not living in the USA… maybe you also need to consider how to use a moment well.
Sure you’re thankful.
But maybe you’re also feeling other feelings…
So I have an additional suggestion:
Use one moment well.
One moment or two – use it well.
drop your shoulders
unclench your jaw
relax your hands
close your eyes
take a deep breath
breathe out slow
repeat for the next few moments
Happy Thanksgiving – from our home to yours.
I’m thankful for you.
If you’d like to download a free copy of this image (8.5×11) as a reminder, click here!
Hmmmmm… Even a routine can hold those time smashers with few rewards.
Is your routine serving you well?
We all develop routines, even if we don’t mean to… and one set of regular behaviors may work well when we’re parenting children, but they don’t work as well once those children are adults. Sometimes we have habits that are left over from other life experiences…
Sometimes we do things because we’ve always done them. There are times when unhealthy habits creep into our days . And even if those actions are not hurting us, perhaps they don’t make the impact we would really want longterm.
What would you remove from your routine?
What would you remove from your routine if you could?
Let’s say that you have something you do every day or week, and it isn’t helpful. Or maybe you’re not good at it… Could another person help with that item on your list of “to-do’s”?
I have a personal example. Rob and I have been married 38 years. All these years I’ve enjoyed doing laundry. Yup. I’m odd. Even when we had loads of laundry we called “Mount Never Rest” and I had to go down into an unfurnished, unheated basement in Canadian winters, laundry was a chore I embraced in my routine.
Why? I could quickly take what was messy and make it clean and organized. Bada boom – bada bing!
However… all those beautifully clean and folded loads of laundry somehow rarely made it from the basket to the drawers or closets. Oh, yes. That’s where the routine of laundry broke down.
We didn’t find a solution until we were married for 30+ years!
That was when we were traveling full-time in our RV, doing laundry in laundromats, and Rob, having dealt with the issue of often finding his clothes in a laundry basket and not the drawers, took over putting the clean laundry away. I still happily did the washing and folding but he finished the job. He loves to finish things! It’s his strength.
We now have a routine that serves us both. I was no longer a prisoner of my laundry basket! I no longer need to feel like a failure because the routine wasn’t healthy. Ha!
So, there are times when what we’re doing may need a refresh – another set of hands, or even hiring someone to take over where it makes sense financially and relationally.
What other reasons would a routine not serve you well? Consider…
A routine can either serve you or waste your time.
Maybe that’s a harsh statement.
But as many statements go, there’s a little truth there. Maybe.
What are you doing that is a waste of your time? Ponder a bit – how does your day go? They euphemistically can be called “time-sucks”. Checking email or social media instead of completing something? Reading or streaming a few more shows or sports than you’d want admit to? Excessively exercising, working out or playing video games instead of investing time with family, on the pretext of “I need me time.”
Why is this important?
We all have a finite number of days – we need to use them well!
I was listening to a podcast and the fellow proposed an interesting concept. Take the number of days in the number of years most people live – maybe it’s 90 years, or 80 or… (if we said 80 years that would equal 29,200 days.) Now, take the number of days you already have lived, and subtract it from that number.
29,000 days – your days = ?how many days you have to use well!
This idea isn’t meant to scare you, or make you feel depressed… but, if you’re at all like me, the number you come up with is less than you’d imagined. And that feeling is important!
And we have no idea how or when our days are complete. But this is just a “what if” scenario…
Which brings me back to the initial question…
If there was one thing from your routine that you could eliminate, what would it be?
Don’t let your routine activities become a prison just because you haven’t thought them through in the last while.
Review what you do each day and ask yourself,
“If I have 7280 days to spend, how would I invest those well?“
Just for fun, do the math and leave a comment on how many days (imagining a life of 80 years) you have to use well… maybe even share what you could eliminate in your day-to-day unconscious routines to use those days in better ways!
If you’re a journaling kind of person, use this question in your journal – or download a sheet I’ve created for you to doodle/color on with the question…. And if you’re a “junk journaler” and want to make something, I’ve also created a PDF to download – download the images here.
I’m going to imagine you’re shaking your head – probably saying “nope” – when I ask you the above question.
Even if I list all your accomplishments and talents, you’ll have a reason, and might tell me that other people have done and can do those kinds of things you’ve done.
You are somebody really special.
(I want you to think about owning that qualifier.
You might agree to the fact that you’re special, but want to downplay the “really” aspect. Yes. I get it. It’s hard for me also.)
How do I know that you’re somebody really special?
How could I know?
(Especially if I haven’t ever met you?)
Here’s the thing – I know that you are somebody really special because I have never met anyone, anyone at all*, who is not really special. Unique. Thoroughly valuable in every way, regardless of their flaws. I’m convinced that everyone on this planet or in eternity, anyone who was ever conceived… is special.
Each soul has unique, valuable worth.
It’s the way we all are made. Special. Really.
Let’s use an example – I’m watching friends document their journey as parents of three daughters, identical triplets, as these girls have grown in their first year of life. Outwardly these three individuals appear the same. They share a birth date, physical features, siblings, parents and grandparents, a household, the same life experiences, faith, people surrounding them, and more. And yet. Everything their parents document shows me that each one of these girls is uniquely special. They succeeded in walking on different dates, they have different habits, likes, dislikes, behaviors, fears, and favorites. So, even in the space of a little more than a year, these three identical triplets, are uniquely special individuals. Really.
Now, here’s the question…
Are you ready to be challenged… gently… privately… with only your well-being at heart…?
I’m smiling at you.
It’s a warm smile.
Come on, be ready…
Take heart – have courage…
How can you be more of yourself?
More uniquely you.
Don’t be shy.
Let those parts of you, that really special you, shine.
An interesting experience.
I’ve been pondering and processing an interesting experience…
A little while ago, someone I love, asked me to write down the answers to two questions:
What do you value about me?
What do you think my gift is?
After thinking and mulling – giving these questions the significance they deserved, I answered in an email. I know this person very well for all of their life. Answering wasn’t hard – you know what was hard? Distilling it into a short list! In fact, I think this person wanted me to answer with just one thing. I couldn’t. Not really. (I cheated by merging three into one and made sure to note that there was much more!)
Yes, I love this person. I’m biased.
But this experience has made me fully realize that if asked, I could answer these questions about every person I’ve met – I bet you could do the same if asked! (Do you pay attention to people? Even people that you don’t initially like?*) Because, if that person has shown us how really special they are, it’s going to be evident!
They are valued.
And as a somebody, really, deeply, needed.
Just like you…
Today – how can you be more you?
(If you need to, maybe ask those you trust the two above questions I was asked… however, I’m guessing, if you let yourself, you already know the answers.)
If you want to be somebody,
somebody really special,
* So… what was that asterisk all about? Read this article about someone special who caught me being “that lady”… a stranger who I didn’t like. At first. But I could tell you how much I value him. He was a stranger I have met only once.
Here’s a video as I make the above tag, with the “voice over” being what is written above… hmmmm… here’s me trying to be more me. Taking my own challenge… LOL https://youtu.be/LgLPAn3bnbc
Do you want to be more optimistic? I’m guessing that’s a “yes”, since you’re reading this. But HOW? Some of us aren’t born optimists, but rather need practical ways to make it happen. So that’s what this article is all about. Here are 7 practical ways to be more optimistic. But they need to be practiced. And set into motion. These 7 practical ways to be more optimistic need to be used.
Optimism is an active experience.
1 -Thankful in all things – a practical action.
Pay attention. Be thankful for all the good things in your life. But how can we all do this in a practical way? Write thank you cards or notes. Send texts saying “thank you for… “. Tell someone – anyone – how thankful you are for who they are, and what they’re doing, and being in your life. Be thankful for NOW – regardless of this COVID mess. Thank one person every day for 31 days – make a list with 31 spaces to note who you thanked – it’s a practical way to follow through…
Being thankful focuses your mind on what is good and lovely in life. Optimists are aware and can list these things.
2 – Be encouraged.
Find people in your life who will encourage you. Now, don’t dismiss this… I’m guessing there’s at least one person. One real-life person. And if there’s no-one who you can tap into as a mentor in a specific spot, then find a few historical people who you can use as an example. Choose those who have been confronted by the challenges you face and have overcome. Use their example. So – reach out. Or research. Or do both. Which 3 people will you look to when you need encouragement? Write their names on your mirror to remind yourself.
Being optimistic in a practical way means we surround ourselves with people who have the ability to encourage. Encouraging people are positive-focused.
Optimistic people have a view much greater than their own tiny circle.
4 – Set achievable goals.
Do you have goals? Clear goals? Specific? Are they achievable? Once you are clear on your achievable goals, make a plan to reach them. And small goals are completely worthwhile also. Being practical about optimism means you don’t need pie-in-the-sky, world-shattering goals. Rather, you are focused on items that will improve life in some way. Even if the improvement is small. Here are some resources on goal setting: Big Goals Take Many Turns, , A Real Dream Needs A Real Plan. Use this SMART worksheet. (put $0. in the dollar amount to get it for free.)
Optimists are focused on making a difference – even in small, useful ways.
Optimists know that everything takes time – because nothing happens unless they take action.
6 – Be held accountable.
Just having goals and taking action isn’t enough. Create a circle of support, because we all fall down. So this is your safety net. Supportive people will make sure you’re held accountable for all the good things in your life: goals, relationships, health, and more. Reach out. See #2 – is there someone on your list who could do this? If you’re stuck, do some research on those on your list and see who their mentors were… that should spark some ideas. And we have a large world, connected by social media. Find an accountability group on Facebook, or even pay for a coach for that specific area – even if it’s just for a time…
Optimists know they will fail. But they expect themselves to keep failing forward. And they know they need help to do that!
7 – Love. A practical resource.
We can ALL become better at loving others. This is the most important part of an optimistic person: they are tuned into how to love. Love others and yourself without restraint – without prerequisites. Learn how to love well; an optimistic person is the reason someone believes in the goodness of people. One practical way to learn how to love is to explore the concept of The Five Love Languages and DO them. As a Christian, my example of how to love well is found in Christ Jesus.
An optimistic person can and does love. Because he or she understands that the more love they demonstrate, the more there will be to give. Love is endless – there’s no way to run out of loveif your source is greater than yourself.
Your whole life can become more positive – you can be more optimistic! – Practice these 7 practical ways to be more optimistic and see the development.
Where will you begin?
With which of the 7 practical ways to be more optimistic will you take action?
A few days ago, in a post, I promised ideas on ways to challenge yourself in the upcoming month. Remember – our whole life is filled up with little increments 60 seconds at a time, 1440 minutes a day, 52 weeks, 4 seasons…
So, here they are – 31 options for your consideration.
Are you up for a challenge?
Choose one idea.
There’s a chance your little action, over 31 days, might make a bigger impact than you imagine. A good habit, growth or development, or even a renewal of heart, mind, and soul can come from simple, small, positive actions over time.
Do one for 31 days.
Just try one…
As you read through these ideas, stop and consider what it would or could look like in your life. Don’t let a negative “But…” creep in. Rather, imagine what it would feel like if you did do it!
Here you go:
1. Go to bed early 31 days in a row.
Ah, sleep. It’s a beautiful thing.
2. Drink 6 glasses of water every day.
Many times headaches and fatigue can be linked to dehydration. What if in this month you felt energized and clear-headed and all it took was drinking more water?
3. Use only cash for 31 days.
(No credit or cards.) Would you be more aware of your spending? Could that have a positive impact on your overall money situation?
4. Take a break from social media for the month.
What could you do with all the hours you spend on social media? Would you be able to pray more, move more, visit others, read a good book, or… Fasting doesn’t just mean food.
5. Read every day for 15 minutes.
Talking about reading – what topic are you curious about? When was the last time you went to the library? Find a good book and finish it in 15-minute increments. This is a book Rob and I have read that we enjoyed.
6. Write down 3 things you’re thankful for each day.
This one is huge. Many, many people have talked about the power of gratitude. I’ve been researching thankfulness for the last two years, reading books on the topic and making my own lists. Do this practice for 31 days and you’ll see an immense shift in your head and heart. Here’s a journal to print out for your 31 days. If you want a more intense experience, make each item (93+) unique. (It’s not as difficult as you might think.)
7. Eat only at home for 31 days (no take-out).
So, maybe you can’t be “at home” to actually eat, but you can make your food at home and bring it with you! The idea is to not eat food prepared by a restaurant. You decide whether that means all from scratch foods, or if frozen/prepared meals bought at the grocery store are included. The idea is to not to give your money to a restaurant/take-out and explore the beauty of re-discovering your home – the peace, the loveliness of your own kitchen.
8. Do a stretch and weight routine once a day.
If you sit at a computer for any time at all, then stretching is important! What if you stretched every day – deliberately – to become more flexible, to raise your physical abilities, and become stronger? In what way would that change your life? Weights don’t need to be fancy – use water bottles or cans. Stretching can be done in a chair. (Use YouTube to find videos to follow.) This is about doing more than you regularly do – without stressing yourself or costing money. Remember – it’s about small incremental change…
9. Complete a jigsaw puzzle – a little bit every day over 31 days.
Relaxation that you can see develop. It’s simple. Easy. Tangible. Set up a table, find your puzzle, and begin. Do a little bit each day. Rejoice over the finished end product. I’ve talked with people who like to do a jigsaw puzzle on holidays – why not build a bit of holiday into each day?
10. Initiate a random act of kindness each day for someone.
Here’s a list of 51 ideas – and another list with 75 ideas – or another list with 100 ideas. I’m sure you can find 31 ideas from these lists. <wink>. How would it change your life by being kind all month long?
11. Take a photo every day – document your life.
Your life has worth. You’ve been put here on this earth, at this time, for a reason. Use your smart-phone as a way to document your life. If you need ideas, then use this list, or this one. But you could just take a photo of the same tree, each day, as the leaves turn…
12. Go to bed each day with a clean and empty sink.
That’s the first step in an organized space according to the FlyLady – or – do her 31 baby steps! Many years ago, when our kids were small, I found The FlyLady. Her baby steps made a huge difference in our life as a young, busy family.
13. Compliment someone in your family (your spouse!) every day.
Very often we can find ourselves in a negative spiral – only seeing the mistakes, the failures, the overlooked, etc. By demanding of yourself to find one good thing, and saying it aloud to that person you love, can change an atmosphere completely! 31 days to a better relationship can begin with one compliment every day. Try it and see! (This can even be done long-distance.) Think character qualities you admire, accomplishments, happy memories…
14. Knit or crochet every day for 31 days.
Make something! And if you don’t know how to crochet/knit, then use YouTube to learn. At the very least you’ll have a gift for Christmas to give someone!
15. Send 31 cards of encouragement to friends – one a day!
Snail mail! This one will take an investment. But it’s small. Less than a Starbucks a day… How will you feel at the end of the month after telling 31 people how much you value them? Invest in relationships. Isn’t it time?
16. Give away 31 items you no longer use – one per day.
Less IS more. Really. We lived in 282 square feet for 5 years. I can say confidently, that you don’t need all the stuff you think you do. Purge. Feel free!
17. Make your bed each day for 31 days.
Come on. It’s one small action. You could…
18. No complaining for 31 days.
None. About anything. Could you? I think you can.
19. Have a conversation with a stranger every day for 31 days.
There are times in our life where we become stale – isolated – small-minded, even. Each day when you’re out and about, ask a stranger a question. (Start with the weather – ask if they’re enjoying the sun, rain, temperature, etc.) Here’s a list of 48 questions you could ask. Expand your world!
24. Pray with a specific focus each day for your spouse.
Here’s a list for women to pray for their husbands – here’s a list for husbands to pray for wives. Prayer is a positive, action-oriented way to add value into your marriage. And if you’re not married (but waiting for the right one) you could still pray over your future spouse. If you’re a widow or widower, do you have a son or daughter who is married (or wants to be)? Pray these over their future spouses. This is powerful.
25. Eat at the dining table at home at least once a day.
No social media, television or even a book. The only conversation you can have is with another human being – in person! Or enjoy the quiet. <wink> Light a candle – you can make even a simple sandwich into a romantic meal.
26. Use the next 31 days to focus on people – not your phone.
Be fully present. Pledge you’ll put away your phone when with others. Specifically, only use your phone as a source of interaction/amusement when alone.
27. Answer this question over 31 days (so, 31 answers):
“What character qualities in people, and/or which actions do you notice daily and admire? (You’re putting Philippians 4:8 into action!)
28. Bring your own lunch to work every day.
This will cause you to think about what you’re eating, and may very well cost less than a restaurant/take-out lunch. Extra points if you have something to share with co-workers!
29. Write out a Scripture verse each day.
Here’s one for October by Sue at Woman of Noble Character. It’s 31 days focusing on what Scripture has to say about worry and anxiety. Writing is a powerful way to focus your attention.
30. Explore a new place on the planet every day.
Use EarthRoulette if you need inspiration! Even if you can’t travel physically, you can in your imagination. Let yourself dream…
31. Smile at everyone you meet all month long!
You may be the only friendly face someone meets that day. It could make all the difference in their life. Sure, you might not want to give the wrong impression, so a closed-mouthed small smile counts with strangers – a pleasant expression may be less creepy than a full-out smile. <wink>
There’s great satisfaction from completing something!
Many people have seen positive benefits from using 30-day challenges to boost change in their lives; reading through their stories can be uplifting.
How could your story lift up others?
Think about it
– let’s make the most of the 2,678,400 seconds in October!
Challenge yourself to do something positive!
Be prompted to be POSITIVE!
Be prompted to be positive via email- to remind you that you're loved, to be thankful, of encouraging and to be encouraged and of setting and achieving goals. That's Positive ThanksLiving!
Excellent! I'm looking forward to prompting you to be positive. Let's do this! (Check your email.)
Hello! I’m Lori –
I'm a writer, a wife to Rob for 38 years, a mom to grown children and a Gram. My focus is to be optimistic, thankful and to encourage you! ~ Colossians 2:2 ~