What are the best memories you have from the past year? … What’s been working well for you this month? … What’s been your best experience in the last week? … What’s the most uplifting thing that’s happened today? … What feels good right now?
Often we don’t take time to notice, much less savor, the positive aspects of life. Yet, scientists are finding that placing attention on the positive can improve our quality of life. Wouldn’t developing a positive focus be a wonderful habit for the new year?
In the book Creating Your Best Life, authors Miller and Frisch recommend a simple exercise, called a “BAT Form,” to help you cultivate attention on the positive:
1. Create a chart with three columns: Blessings, Achievements, and Talents/Strengths/Traits. You can construct it as a computer document, sketch it out on a piece of paper, or use a page in your journal for it.
2. Take some time to list as much as you can in each column of your chart.
- “Blessings” can be anything, large or small that you are grateful for and that enriches your life: a purple flower, a piece of chocolate, a fun moment with your son or daughter,a funny text, …
- “Accomplishments” can be anything that you get done – small or large, now or in the past: finished a blog post, walked a mile, got dinner on the table, bought that birthday card…
- Finally, “talents, strengths, and traits” are anything you notice that you are good at or that other people like about you: photography, honesty, listening, energy, sense of humor, …
3. Then, each day or evening, take time to jot two or three more items onto your chart. You can use one, two, or all three columns.
4. As you write these items down, take a moment to focus on the feelings they engendered.
5. Put the chart in a place you’ll notice it so you’ll remember to use it! (Maybe next to your bed?) Or set an alarm as a reminder to take a few moments each day to write in your BAT chart.
6. Post your chart where you can see it often, or pull it out regularly to review what’s been going well for you. Take time to savor the good feelings you deserve!
According to Miller and Frisch, research indicates that using a tool like the “BAT Form” helps build self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-confidence. It can boost your mood, build gratitude and promote the use of your strengths, talents, and traits to achieve your goals.
Well, what are you waiting for?
It’s time to cultivate the positive!
As you look ahead: Wishing You a Happy (and positive) New Year!