Resolving To Keep The Good Things In Mind

December 10, 2012 § 6 Comments

As 2012 draws to a close, many people will be thinking about their New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve already written that I avoid doing so. It’s more important for me to consider a given year in its totality rather than honing in on successes and failures.

Resolutions can have us concentrating on individual goals and milestones and if we don’t meet them, we tend to dwell on the negative. That is why I focus on striving to improve overall, personally and professionally.

To that end, I came across an idea that would help us look back on a year and celebrate the good things. It can take various forms but the version I saw was posted on Facebook by friend Jody Clark-Kettyle. You find a jar and each time a good thing happens, you insert a note recording it.

On Dec. 31, you open it up and reminisce about the awesome things that have happened over the past 12 months. I’ve also seen the idea referred to as a Blessings Jar. Blogmate Wendy has her own spin on it. She has a jar to insert notes to keep track of things she loves about herself when she’s feeling down.

We’ve all had setbacks in our lives in any given year. Some have been unsuccessful pledges to lose a certain amount of weight or stop smoking, exercise regularly or have better eating habits. People have lost jobs or precious people in their lives and these events can certainly place a cloud of gloom over you for months.

The jar suggestion made me wonder how full my jar would be from the past 12 months.

For example, I think back to April and attending the Elton John concert right here in Grande Prairie. The Rocket Man is one of my favourite performers ever. This joy would be added to by attending a John Fogerty gig in Dawson Creek in September. The latter ranks as one of my favourite shows ever – and I’ve been to my share of concerts.

In May, it was Anniversary Number 26. Although it was not the milestone of reaching the quarter century mark like last year, it did mean I’ve been married half my life. The better half!

In June, I attended a great Canadian Public Relations Society conference in Victoria where I connected with some great friends and colleagues and made some terrific new connections. This was followed by a fabulous holiday on Vancouver Island, a place Joyce and I love to explore. It was awesome catching up to family and friends.

In July, I had surgery on my right eye to address cataracts. This eliminated the need for glasses, except for reading. Shortly after, I bought my first “real” pair of sunglasses ever!

In August, my visit to the doctor revealed my best blood sugar results in some time. It’s three years since Doctor Muwonge chided me for less than stellar readings.

At that time he told me, “The first step to wealth is health.”

Also in that month, our son, Peter, returned to live with us while doing construction work for a few months. Although he has a busy social life, it’s a blessing to have him around for time we didn’t think we would have.

This was also the year I returned to volunteering in a big way, joining the boards of the Volunteer Services Bureau and the Council for Lifelong Learning.

On the professional side, we learned in late summer the City of Grande Prairie was the recipient of a Municipal Excellence award for its annual Municipal Government Day, an annual community barbeque and information fair that attracts about 4,000 people.

A significant career event occurred on Nov. 5 when we launched our Citizen Engagement Program, activateGP. This initiative has already had successes, including residents signing up to volunteer for City boards and committees right on the spot at the kickoff event.

These are the major occurrences I thought of off the top of my head. If I wracked my brain, there would be a lot more. I’d be able to include many everyday things that have made my day.

Friend Mindy Bush plans to implement the jar into her life in 2013.

“I think I would do the jar to remind myself of how I feel or view myself on a good day to build up confidence on days where it lacks,” she says.

Mindy is also considering separate jars for feelings and kindness she come across daily as mood boosters on bad days.

Grande Prairie resident Jennifer Upshall began using what she calls a Gratitude Jar two years ago. Here’s her take on it:

“It’s a large old mason jar with the glass lid and old silver ring from my Grandma, something and someone else I have gratitude for. The first thing that went into it was a thank-you card from a woman I’d helped. I know that maybe wasn’t the original intended purpose for it, but it feels good to be thanked for helping someone, and I liked seeing the little note in there. I think some days we all feel insignificant and it’s nice to be reminded that at least once we made even a small difference to someone!

“There aren’t as many sticky notes in there as I’d hoped there would be by now, but even the few that are, remind me that maybe things aren’t so bad. I start each note with ‘I have gratitude for…’ Most of the little sticky notes are about my kids making me laugh, or my husband doing something to help. Sometimes it’s about a hard life lesson. Regardless, when I see the jar with pretty bits of bright-coloured paper, I remember that even though I maybe don’t feel gratitude for something today, I did yesterday and probably will tomorrow.”

What great perspectives from these ladies! I look forward to keeping track of the great things that occur in 2013 and checking back with everyone to see how they fared, too.

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§ 6 Responses to Resolving To Keep The Good Things In Mind

  • Janie says:

    Hey David,
    Great to hear the blood sugar checks are the best ever. Health really is wealth. Your gratitude jar sounds like something everyone else needs too. Perhaps we should make one for a friend, including all of the great attributes and things that person has done, and give it to them at the end of a year. A jar full of great memories would make the best gift ever. If I had a sticky note for all of the great memories I have of Joyce (and you!), it would be a very big jar. Enjoy the holidays and have a great 2013.

  • Jody Kettyle says:

    I have not used the blessing jar before ,but I think its a great idea and I will be .
    I have always written things on my calendar and then on January 1st gone through the calendar and written down everyones birthdays,anniversaries ,etc and reflected on the things that happened through out the year.
    Sometimes though it reminds me of the not so good things that have happened as well, which is why I will use the blessing jar.
    I know that for some reason negativity seems to breed and grow faster than positive things, and that sometimes we can get so bogged down with the bad stuff happening in our lives ,that we forget the good. Sometimes when I have gone back on my calendar I have gone oooh I totally forgot that happened and that was such a great time. We can have 11 months of a good thing happening and as soon as things start to go bad we seem to forget those 11 months.
    I am looking forward to using the blessing jar and hopfully making a big deal out of going through it with the whole family instead of me going through the calendar by myself. It is my goal to get everyone in the family to contribute to it over the next year ,even our 8 year old, and then all of us going through it together at the end of the year.

  • Jody Kettyle says:

    Which will be it’s own blessing
    Have a safe and wonderful week David, and may you have a very large and full blessing jar at the end of the year

  • Linda Craik says:

    Excellent reading David! Thanks for sharing, as I was reading I thought the workplace could use a Gratitude jar also. We spend a large part of our waking hours working and our workplace “family” deserves blessings and gratitude as well. Cheers to your excellent blood sugars!

  • davidolinger says:

    Excellent idea, Linda. I always say we spend more of our waking hours in the workplace than at home during the week, so why not enjoy our time there. Taking time to celebrate the good things would make it even more enjoyable.

    Thanks for all your positivity in the community, Jody. It has been a pleasure getting to know you through the Kinder Gentle Side of Grande Prairie Facebook page and your attendance at City events. Your sharing the idea of the jar was very timely.

    And Janie, you always know true friends when they pop up out of nowhere and all the great memories flood back. Can’t wait to see you guys again.

  • Laura Fairfield says:

    I love this. So many great applications. I like your idea of using it at work. Also a neat thing to do with children to teach them gratitude. I’m buying my jar today ::)

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