The Laser-Focus Positivity Challenge

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Today I propose the Laser-Focus Positivity Challenge, and let me preface the challenge by saying I hate the word positivity. It may be a real word, but it sounds made-up. Do you know what kind of people use words like positivity? It’s the same ones who say, “Between you and I”—in an attempt to sound intellectual. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, you can see why I need this challenge.

I’m doing the Laser-Focus Positivity Challenge for myself, but I hope you’ll join me. Maggie’s post at Northern Expenditure on The Formula for a Productive, Happy Day  inspired me. It reminded me I still need improvement. Maggie discusses a three-step formula for having a productive, happy day, which I encourage you to read about.

But saying I need improvement and taking steps to yield results are two different things. Knowing myself fairly well, I realize I must cultivate laser-like focus on positive thoughts and behaviors to get those results. Just like working out your savings muscle takes discipline, focusing on positive thoughts requires discipline as well. If left to my own devices, I don’t always look on the bright side of life.

So, I’ve got to change.

Have you read the Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle? I resisted reading it because Oprah highly recommended it. Tolle has appeared on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday series several times. Power of Now became such a hot book, I was sure it sucked. (I ask you again—do you see why I need this challenge?) However, the most profound and simple truth is revealed right in Chapter One of this book. You are not your mind.

And in Chapter Three, Tolle further explains:

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence”.

I want what he’s got!

What I will Do

  • I will watch Eckhart Tolle’s video talks at least twice a week for a total of thirty minutes.
  • I will meditate for at least five minutes every day.
  • I will continue to do my power walking every day.
  • Every night before bed time I will write down three things I’m grateful for.
  • Over the next week I will call a friend whom I haven’t talked with in a month or longer.

What I will Not Do

  • I will not say the F word more than once a day (C’mon, I need a little lee-way here).
  • I will not gossip or listen to gossip.
  • I will not sleep past 7:45am on the weekends.
  • I will not surf the Internet at night for more than one hour.
  • I will not say “I can’t”. (I can say “no” or “I won’t” or “I don’t want to”—but not—”I can’t”).

Are you up for the Positive Laser Focus Challenge? Please join me in one of two ways:

  1. Write a paragraph or a list of your own “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in the comments section. Any format is fine. Simply share what you’re doing to improve yourself, whether you’re focusing on one thing, or more. Then report back again, in the comments section, by September 1, or
  2. Email me at mrsgroovy@freedomisgroovy.com  by September 1 Sunday September 4th, and describe the challenge you set up for yourself and how it went for you.

I’ll do a follow-up post expanding on everyone’s experiences with the challenge. If you contact me by email and prefer that I not share what you say publicly, let me know, and I won’t—I can be your private positivity buddy.

OK ready, set, go—start improving. And remember, always look on the bright side of life.

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32 Comments

  1. Charles Franklin

    Checking back in.
    1. No-complaint challenge: I set up a 7-day challenge. The longest streak was 2 days. I gave up but still complained less.
    2. Mental Dirt-diving (Meditation): I have restarted meditation (5 minutes) to begin my day (after exercise) and to end my day.
    3. Unschedule more fun: Not sure yet. I have introduced play into my life with challenges (Today’s challenge is to do a flat-footed squat for 30 total minutes.)

    • Mrs. Groovy

      1. Complaining less is good. And a 2-day streak is great.
      2. Meditating twice a day for any duration – even once a day – is fantastic.
      3. Fun/play sounds wonderful but flat-footed squats would not exactly fit my definition of fun. That’s more up Mr. Groovy’s alley.

      Thanks, for returning and commenting. I’ll do a follow up post next week. I did OK with a few of my goals but I’d probably give myself a C if I’m feeling generous.

  2. I’m in… after the Olympics! 🙂 I’m so unproductive right now it’s horrible. I plan to study Cambodian for at least 1.5 hours/week, power walk 4 times/week, other exercises (strengthen my weak hip muscles, etc.) 6x/week and find time every morning to meditate and be calm before the kids wake up.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Any time is good. We haven’t caught the Olympics fever – I guess some of it must be live streaming somewhere but we’re out of the loop without cable TV.

      Morning is definitely the best time for getting things done. I’ve been reluctantly awakening at 5:30. I’m not sure if that’s going to last or if I want it to last. But it’s been too brutally hot to walk during the day or after work so we get it out of the way in the morning.

  3. I laughed when I saw you didn’t want to try a book because Oprah recommended it. I have had the same reaction multiple times.

    I tried to do this yesterday. (I wrote a comment but our internet died in the middle of writing it.)

    Will
    1) Unplug from the net this month after 6 pm to spend time with family (Did not succeed on day 1).
    2) Consciously put aside time for a gratitude exercise (Days 1 and 2, done)
    3) Exercise more (no on day 1)
    4) Cook at least one new recipe a week, which is centering for me (not yet. looking for today’s dinner.)

    Will Not
    1) Lose my temper, snap, and make Little Bit cry (not yesterday, but did Tuesday, which is why it’s on the list.)
    2) Shirk fessing up when I fail to live up to this challenge.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      And I laughed at your comment about not losing your temper or snapping. Mr. G told me I haven’t been doing very well with positivity so far. I’d have to agree.

      I confess I read The Deep End of the Ocean which was the first book in Oprah’s Book Club. Good luck with staying off the internet after 6. That’s a tough one.

      • Internet fail again. Grabbed my knitting yesterday evening, which helped, but I think the phone’s going to have to get plugged in for the evening. I’ve already modified this one to mindless internet, facebooking and phone games after 6. Sometimes you do need internet info, but not while watching TV.

        • Mrs. Groovy

          Oh dear. But modifying is OK. I was good on the F word and no gossip today but I have to make sure to do my meditation (without falling asleep) tonight.

  4. Focusing on things that are good in your life and appreciating them makes you feel so great. I like to remind myself of how far I’ve come and do a reverse bucket list.

  5. An inspiring post, although I’m already doing pretty well, I think. Here goes:

    I will continue:
    – lift weights three days a week
    – taekwondo two days a week
    – get at least 7 hours a night of sleep (most nights)

    I will start:
    – avoid being tempted by nachos and cheeseburgers!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Love it! I’m adding your point of getting 7 hours of sleep right after we quit our jobs. I’d love to hear how you avoid the nachos and cheeseburgers. Mr. Groovy eats his cheeseburgers without a bun at home and still manages to keep his weight down. I find certain foods like fatty beef stimulate my taste buds and make me want to eat more. Did you ever see the King of Queens Episode about the nachos nucleus? Season 6 episode 21. In a group you’ll be chastised for taking the nucleus.

  6. So here’s what I do on 97% of your posts. Have you heard the Tim Ferriss episode on complaining? He goes a whole month without complaining. That’s my goal. It should not be as hard as it is!

    I use the (free) Calm app and was really consistent with it last year. I’d do the 2, 3 or, 5 minute body scan during my break. I was stunned at how re-energized doing “nothing” left me feeling. Meditation is the hardest thing in the world. I suck at it, but I love it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Oh that is HARD! Let me know if you succeed. I haven’t heard the podcast. Mr Groovy’s more of a Tim Ferriss fan but I’ll look for that one. I’m going to check out the Calm app today. Thanks.

  7. I want to do this challenge, but with a twist. My hubby has been pretty depressed lately. He’s in a funk and just off (I know, really descriptive). I’d appreciate any tips or ideas on things I can do to help HIS positivity. I try to remind him to be thankful of things, but that’s not really making much of a difference. Maybe our vacation next week will help, but I’d like to find some ways to encourage him to be optimistic and happy.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I hope your vacation helps, Harmony. Depressed and in a funk can be two different things. For depression, you may not be able to help him and he may not be able to help himself. But if he’s just sort of blue, there are things he might try. Does he exercise? Anything aerobic where you break a sweat, get the heart rate up, and get the endorphins flowing helps the brain and mood.

      What about videos? There’s one on YouTube I mentioned in a post: Overcoming Hopelessness (Nick Vujicic) – https://youtu.be/6P2nPI6CTlc
      Also, My philosophy for a happy life (Sam Berns) – https://youtu.be/36m1o-tM05g
      Both of the above men were born with the deck stacked against them yet they managed to find inspiration and be inspirational.

      I also like the podcast “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin.

  8. Charles Franklin

    Some quick suggestions about your goals:
    1. Become aware of how much you use the “F” word. “Trying to cut down” isn’t a strong enough goal because you won’t know what you need to improve.
    2. Define “gossip”.
    3. Good goal. I would set my alarm clock a few minutes earlier and start working up to it rather than diving in cold.
    4. Good luck on your Internet goal!
    5. I would frame this goal around a certain time period just to get a handle on it. You could quit the word “I can’t” cold turkey but it usually slips back into your vocabulary.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Charles. Believe me, I’m aware of exactly how much I use the F word. I’ll want to use it less when I stop working in October! And I did set a specific goal of limiting it to once a day (I already met the quota for today). For gossiping, I have some specifics which I might broaden a bit. Good point on the “I can’t”.

  9. Sue

    So I’m going to see if I can attach my weekly goal chart. I’m making sure I eat breakfast every day (usually skip) and be sure that my meals are planned. I work two jobs so it’s always easier to pick something up. If I plan my meals and cook them on the w/e, I’m likely saving calories & definitely saving money. I’m also trying to meditate, read and play (really learn) the piano everyday, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. I’ve created this weekly goal chart so I can check off what I accomplish each day.

    I love your Will Not Do list!

    GOAL CALENDAR FOR WEEK OF AUGUST 15, 2016
    MONTH: AUGUST 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
    MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
    MEALS
    Breakfast

    MEAL PLAN

    Lunch

    MEAL PLAN

    Dinner

    MEAL Plan

    ACTIVITY
    Treadmill
    Walk
    Gym
    Other

    PIANO
    MEDITATION
    READING

    NO BREAD
    NO SUGAR
    NO ALCOHOL
    NO EATING OUT

    25 lbs down by 12.1.16
    (Didn’t attach in the correct form, but you get the idea)

    Best of luck to you!

    • Charles Franklin

      Great goals! Just make sure that you create an environment where you can work out this awesomeness!

      For example, make sure you have a tasty healthy alternative to bread, sugar, and alcohol. Also, make sure you have a to-go bag of healthy food in case you aren’t home!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Sue, if you like, send me your document. I’m using a spreadsheet and Mr. Groovy will do something with it when I write about the challenge again.
      Planning meals and eating breakfast can do wonders. How are you learning to play piano? I was using a few of the Alfred self-teaching books for a while but I hit the wall. I purchased a course on Udemy that gets right into chords which I’m going to start up. But I’m a total beginner.

      Your list is extremely ambitious. I was using an app when I wanted to drop a few pounds but my goal was 3 lbs a month. While you’re cutting out sugar I’ve yet to tackle cutting out the artificial sweeteners. I’m not doing it this round but I am cutting back.

      Good luck to you too!

      • Sue

        Thank you so much for the encouragement!

        My 16 yr old niece is helping me learn the piano! She goes onto YouTube and finds what she likes and learns it. I don’t read music yet so this is all new to me as well. I’m going to have to look into the Alfred self-teaching books. I, too, am a total beginner.

        I’ll email the chart to you. Let me know if it’s helpful. 🙂

        • Mrs. Groovy

          It’s great that your niece is helping!

          Thanks, I got the chart earlier. It’s way better looking than my spreadsheet. Feel free to email if you want to touch base. I totally screwed up today! Demerit on the F word. Demerit on gossip.

  10. Things I will (continue) to do:
    —three things gratitude list daily
    —exercise four times a week
    —read two books a month

    things I will do (new):
    —drinking water right when I wake up (need to stop with all the coffee!)
    —get better at my minimalism (not sure exactly the actionable steps for this)

    things I will not do:
    —swear
    —spend more than my allotted ten minutes on social media at a time
    —will not wake up past 7:00am on weekends.

    Also, I hate the word ‘authentic’ just as you hate the word ‘positivity’ haha. Such a weird word!

    • Charles Franklin

      Love the goals (both the “to-dos” and not to-dos”

      Suggestion for Minimalism: Look for minimalism challenges

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Drinking water as soon as you get up is a great one, Colin. Yes, minimalism in and of itself might be a large goal. Maybe deciding to throw out or give away one or two things a month that you don’t need could be a start?

      Ten minute spurts on social media? That’s pretty disciplined!

      Ha, that’s a good one, authentic. Mr. Groovy can’t stand “artisan” – since when did every single food and drink item become artisan?

  11. Charles Franklin

    Things I already do
    1. Gratitude List
    2. Meditate
    3. Exercise

    Things I can do (or need to do more):
    1. Mentally dirt-dive
    2. No complaint challenge
    3. Unschedule some more fun!