From time to time take an inventory of your life and look at it, and I mean, really look at it. I think you will be blown away. This topic was covered in a training class I attended a long time ago and some recent events brought back the memories of this time in my life.
Try this! Sit down in a quite room and think about your life for 10-15 minutes. Take out a sheet of paper, turn it length wise, and draw three columns (I really prefer to do this in MS Word or other word processing application). This first column should be titled “Positives” i.e. count your blessings; the second column is for “Negatives” and are things that need to be changed, regrets, mistakes, or unfulfilled desires you have; and the last column is titled “Neutrals” and are for items that you are unsure if they are positive or negative.
Simple enough, so far…
Start writing down, in no particular order, everything that pops into your head about your life. Do not try to think of all the good or bad things in your life in order. Go with the flow and use your first “gut reaction” to categorize everything as a positive, negative, or neutral. Do not think to long or hard about the categorizations. You want to go with the flow on this! Do a brain dump, or if you prefer, a free-flow thought exercise.
I try to keep what I write down at a moderately high-level but at a deep inner level. This is a serious inward and outward look at those items/events/people/desires that have, or had, a real impact in my life. I would not put down the annoyance I have with government or the annual frustrations I have with gophers. These are beyond my control or are relatively minor. I would include the “usual” stuff like family, work, friends, accomplishments, regrets, etc. I would also include, less common items like finances, progress on goals, strength/quality of relationships (improving or not), material possessions, recreational activities, lapses in judgement, etc.
The list should be fairly long and mine has 2-3 positives for every 1 negative or neutral. Next, I prioritize, or rank, each item in each of the categories. I add additional details on why or what makes the item correct for the category, again this is why I like to use Word for this process. This should help you flush out most of the neutral items into one of the other two categories and sometimes will move a positive to a negative, or vice-versa.
I complete this exercise before I sit down and think about long-term personal goals or evaluate important life decisions. I also do this when I think I am on the wrong track, and when I get into general “down” periods. It can be a real eye opening experience.
You just might realize just how many blessings you have in your life and what negatives need to be addressed.