We got the original idea for this from a course that we attended on happiness. This article describes our approach instead of “new year’s resolutions”.
The Original Idea
The original idea is where at the end of each day you make two lists for that day and the following day:
- 3 things that you are grateful for: This needs to be things that are positive and specific, on reflection of that day. Positive would be: I am grateful that I could complete these tasks at work today, not I am grateful that nob at work wasn’t breathing down my neck all day. Specific would be: I am grateful that the dentist said I have healthy teeth, not I am grateful that I have my health today.
- 3 things looking forward to: This needs to be things that are positive and specific, regarding the planned following day. They might not actually happen but they are likely to happen tomorrow. They might include sharing a meal with friends or family, going to the cinema by yourself or just having time to yourself.
The idea is that by listing our what you are grateful for and what you are looking forward to, and repeating this list making process each day for 3 to 4 weeks, we become habituated on focusing on these positive things in our lives. All too often we can become sidetracked in the negative news, spiralling consumerism, and general busyness that occupies our time without taking a moment to really appreciate everything positive in our lives. The idea is to increase our overall sense of happiness and contentment in day-to-day life.
The Annual Idea
We decided to apply this original idea to an annual process. This is where we don’t just think about what is happening in our lives on a day-to-day basis but also on an annual basis. New Year’s Eve is a good time to repeat this process, your own birthday, as well as any anniversary.
- 3 things that you are grateful for: This needs to be things that are positive and specific, on reflection of that year. For us, this list would include:
- Visiting Kedleston Hall with family to see Buddhist artefacts.
- EH’s decision to leave work and an angry workplace, and the process that he went through to recover from that experience, do Dharma practice, and find a new job.
- Geshe Tashi Tsering of @JBCLondon becoming the New Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery. We miss his teachings at Jamyang Centre but we are grateful that he will be able to benefit so many people at Sera Mey Monastery.
- Our friend published a book to increase the pool of knowledge in their area of expertise from their “day job”.
- We went through a process to cut the crap from our lives, with a lighter load this has made moving home a lot easier.
- Through exercise we have continued to get physically stronger since leaving a plant-based vegan diet in 2016 and eating an omnivore diet.
- Attending the Auckland Pride Parade in 2018 and seeing Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
- Everything that the Labour / Greens / NZ First coalition government has achieved for the people of New Zealand, including getting much-needed money to hospitals and schools, reducing child poverty, and creating a more active government that is more responsible for the country and it’s people. For us, New Zealand politics is now in a golden age.
- 3 things looking forward to: This needs to be things that are positive and specific, regarding the planned following year. For us, this list would include:
- Visiting Auckland for the Auckland Pride Parade in February 2019.
- More good work from the Labour / Greens / NZ First coalition government for the people of New Zealand.
- Improving ourselves by studying the book “The Nectar Of Manjushri’s Speech” a commentary on the “Bodhicharyavatara” / “Guide To the Bodhisatta’s Way of Life”. Hopefully this will give our Dharma practice more structure.
- We hope that another friend will publish a book to increase the pool of knowledge in their area of expertise, but no pressure!!
Feel free to make 2 lists for the things that you are grateful for in 2018 and that you are looking forward to in 2019 using the hashtag #3Things2019.