A Good Day

Today's issue is #2 is a three-part series
and is a follow-up to: Why Should You Be Happy?

How Was Your Day?

You get this question all the time. You pose it to your loved ones upon arrival at home. In response you might hear anything from: Pretty good; It was okay, to: Lousy, don't even ask. Is a good day when good things happen to you and a bad day the opposite? Perhaps on some level, yes, though there's more to it.

Something a time management instructor stated in a class I took over 20 years ago has stayed with me: A good day is not just one in which everything goes your way. While you have an idea about what you'd like to accomplish in any given day, things will happen that are unanticipated or outside your control. Unless you want your satisfaction to depend solely on results or circumstances, you might want to consider expanding your definition of a good day.

It's a Good Day When...

graphic of thumbs upWith the wry delivery only she can pull off, my mother-in-law, Sandi, defines a good day as one in which "you wake up and don't touch wood." That would be the wood of a coffin that she's referring to. This is how she reminds herself to appreciate just being alive, regardless of the day's challenges.

Years ago at that first time-management class, all I wanted to learn was how to plow through to-do lists. Now years laters, I still like to check things off and hit tangible goals. My definition of good days, however, has indeed expanded, and ironically, it turns out that leaving room to notice the good in each day significantly impacts productivity and results.

A good day is when: I get an inspired idea. I make headway with a project. I help someone or realize I'm having a positive impact. I'm at peace with the decisions I've made. I feel like I did my best. A pleasure of some sort delights me, whether it's a tasty meal, a shopping find, or taking in something beautiful. I could continue to add to this list. There are infinite reasons to declare a day "good."

My mother, Grace, has Alzheimer's, and as her condition declines, I realize that I can either get swallowed up by sadness and how awful the disease is, or I can remember that my job is not to take away the difficulty but to be an encouraging presence, to share a small joy with her. I can hold my mother's hand, look into her eyes, and slow down for a few minutes, even within a busy day. I can take her outdoors in the wheel chair and point out the variety of trees and flowers. We can wave back to the people in the neighborhood who wave to us. It's a good day because we're together and love doesn't need many words.

It's a good day when... What comes to mind for you?

Set Yourself Up for Good Days

Some days our burdens are heavier than others, and "looking for the good" doesn't mean you need to whitewash what feels not so good. That's why I've always appreciated the nighttime ritual parents do with children in which both the highs and lows of the day are acknowledged. This practice -- helpful for adults, too -- reinforces that each day is filled with a variety of ups and downs, so it's up to you to keep things in perspective.

This Week's Call To Action:

  • Rather than scoring each day with a pass/fail grade of good or bad, remember to ask: What's good in today?

  • Give yourself credit for your efforts, even before the tangible results of your actions are evident.

  • What makes you feel good? Put the routines in place that will allow for more of whatever that is.

Regardless of the present challenges that confront you, what is there to be happy about today?

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature