more of the good
It’s mid-November and I’m many years into a tradition of completing my Christmas shopping before December first. Although I still have a decent shopping list to finish up in the next couple weeks, I purchased the final gifts for our kids a few days ago.
The kid gift planning was easier than usual and I suspect that the gifts will be better received than usual. Here’s why:
A few months ago, I did (yet another) major toy room clean out. The things I kept are the things that get played with on a very regular basis and fall into a relatively small number of categories (think Lego, Play-doh, magnet blocks, Nerf guns, toy food and figurines).
The things I bought fit into or complement these very same categories. And why not? These are the things they love and go back to again and again.
/ / /
In April, I started using an app called Daylio to track the correlation between the makeup of my days and my overall feeling about each day.
The app makes it easy to look at the statistics of my daily life. For example, since mid-April, I’ve gone to the library 21 times, had eight days with sick kids, went on 15 picnics, played outside with the kids 125 days and spent part of my day with my Bible study group 12 times.
In the app, each day can be ranked as rad, good, meh, bad or awful. I’m a naturally sunny person, so most of my days are ranked as good and they have to be pretty “not good” for me to rank them as meh. Since I started tracking, I’ve had 123 good days, 66 rad days, 20 meh days and 1 awful day.
Of course, the valuable (and interesting) part happens when you put the moods together with the activities. What things tend to make my days rad? What things tend to bring my mood down to meh?
This is what I learned: My rad days have a very high correlation with praying, playing outside with the kids, reading, waking up before the kids, cleaning and reaching my 10,000 step goal. My meh days have a strong correlation with being sick and working, but also with not reaching my step goal, not writing, not cleaning and not having a good amount of alone time.
I also noted that most of my rad days included a lot of activities - usually between six and nine different activities. Meanwhile, my meh days often included five or fewer activities. There were several meh days where I only recorded two activities.
/ / /
I’ve been thinking about all of this as I work my way through another November tradition: my annual review.
I complete the review as a way to step back and get a wide-angle view of life, to get a sense of where I’ve been, where I am and what direction I want to head.
Often, I am tempted to look forward and scheme up new plans and projects.
But if the goal is to have more rad days, I don’t really need to dream up a million and one new ideas. I can just work with what I have and give myself more of the good - or things that complement and add to that good. I can take a lesson from what I want to give my kids and give it to myself.
I haven’t yet finished my annual review or given full thought to my plans for 2019, but I think this epiphany is going to be a strong player as I look into the new year - and I’m thankful for it.