Life Coaching Tip: Your brain’s natural tendency is to forget about all you’ve accomplished for the day and zero in on all that’s left to do. When you pause at day’s end and intentionally focus on your “wins”, life will feel more rewarding. As you bypass the natural tendency to dwell on the negative, you will create the momentum necessary to slay your goals and manifest your dreams!
Last Wednesday was a hectic day for me. There were several unexpected challenges that caused me to pivot away from my plans for the day – as happens to all of us now and then.
By day’s end, after my adrenalin began to slow down, I felt a bit disappointed as I looked at my planner and realized I didn’t check off as many items from my to-do list as I had intended.
“What a waste of a day,” I muttered to my grumpy, discouraged self, as I settled into my favorite comfy chair to complete my bedtime practice of reflection.
And thank goodness I have turned this practice into a habit, because it was extremely helpful in managing my unruly mind, that was full of trickery that evening.
What is my bedtime practice?
Well, it’s amazingly simple and only takes me a few moments each night, but sister, it’s a game changer!
Each evening I take about ten minutes to reflect on my day and list all that I loved about it, and then I pick my three top “wins” of the day.
And when I took the time to do this Wednesday evening, soon the discouraging story my mind had been spinning was history!
Because although it’s true, I didn’t get many items checked off my “to-do” list, my top “wins” were NOT a waste of my time in the least!
Here’s what they were:
WIN #1: I squeezed a client in for what turned out to be a longer call than either of us had intended. After an incident happened at work that jolted her confidence that day, she reached out for coaching support. It felt great to be able to do this, because even the reaching out for support was a big step forward for her. And when the call ended, I could hear a renewed sense of self-belief and swagger in her voice. This was a win for both of us!
WIN #2: This win involved one of the challenges that hijacked my day. I had been experiencing intermittent WIFI issues that came to a head on Wednesday, after all my zoom coaching sessions were disrupted thanks to this faulty internet issue. But after some back-and-forth with Spectrum, my husband and I figured out a solution. And this was just in time for my online group meeting, Shine On, that night! This was such a big relief, and our meeting went on without a streaming hitch!
WIN #3: This win was about the Shine On group meeting itself. Since I spent so much time focusing on the technology part of getting the group up and running that day, I had to pull together my presentation plans rather quickly, not as thoroughly as I typically do – and I was a little anxious about that. But it all went splendidly, great conversation and lots of laughter – and the high vibe energy of the group remained in tack.
And so, all and all, I had a fabulous day – despite the BS report my brain had given to me.
Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever felt discouraged after a full day of badassery where you killed it like a superhero, but all your thoughts could focus on is what you didn’t accomplish?
Well, my friend, clearly, you’re not alone!
Turns out, it’s a human thing.
Here are two reasons why…
First, there’s a phenomenon I recently read about called the “Zeigarnik effect” based on the work of Lithuanian-Soviet psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, way back in the 1920’s.
Simply put, Zeigarnik’s research found that incomplete tasks are easier for us to remember than successful ones.
Some of her initial studies were based on observing cafe servers at work. It seems the waiters could easily remember open tabs that had not yet been served, but once the food was delivered and paid for, this information quickly left their consciousness.
Zeigarnik’s work suggests that a desire to complete a task can cause it to be retained in our memory until it has been completed, and that the finality of its completion then enables the process of forgetting it to take place.
It’s the brain’s way of saving space.
And then, the second factor that is also likely to be at play is our brain’s natural “negativity bias.” As a means of survival, our primal brain is hardwired to scout for danger. Totally an important feature from an evolutionary standpoint.
But what this looks like in the modern world though is our mind’s tendency to give more weight to things that go wrong rather than right, and then dwell on the bad stuff.
Hence, at the end of a long day, instead of naturally celebrating our victories, we typically take count of our “losses” and stew on them.
And so, rather than riding high on the momentum of our successes, inspiring us to keep going and building our self-confidence, it’s often shame that is our driving force.
These “not good enough” thoughts and feelings encourage us to hustle faster and harder, yet our minds trick us into believing that we’re not making progress and will never get ahead.
Definitely, a flawed pattern that needs to be disrupted, as this is no way to live! And this is why my evening reflection practice has become so important to me.
Are you able to relate to any of this?
If so, I’m glad that you now know what’s REALLY happening and that it’s a human thing.
And I encourage you to give my evening practice a whirl too. Tonight!
Take a few moments to reflect on your day and list all that you loved about it, and then pick your three top “wins” of the day.
And don’t let your brain try to fool you into thinking you had no wins for the day. Call BS on that nonsense and stretch your mind if you must!
Since you’re going against your brain’s natural tendencies, it may feel uncomfortable at first, but I promise, it will be worth it!
Life will feel so much more rewarding when you pause to recognize your accomplishments, and the momentum this can create is likely to inspire you reach higher than you ever have before!
Sister, move forward with intention.
It’s time to invite your brain to get onboard with your dreams!
PS – If you frequently find yourself overthinking life, spinning in overwhelm, stuck in your head– then let’s talk. Mindset management is one of the key elements of coaching and can make a DRAMATIC difference in your overall happiness and ability to achieve your goals. Imagine being able to shut down the chatter in your head, so you can get clear on what you genuinely want for your life and finally take confident, inspired action to get you there.
The consultation is free. Simply schedule here!