“Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” –Abraham Lincoln
Isn’t this a great quote? I have a 15 year-old son who hates it when I say things like this, so he was really annoyed when he found out that Abraham Lincoln said it, too. But what’s fascinating to me about this quote is its context. Most scholars and historians agree that Abraham Lincoln suffered from lifelong depression, and that it ran in his family. You can read/listen to an interesting NPR story about Lincoln’s struggles here.
And yet, Lincoln himself still was of the opinion that, at least to some degree, we could will ourselves to a better state.
I’m not a psychologist, and I’m not going to tell you how to think, but I do know that I tend to feel better when I take steps to focus on my strengths, my blessings and the things I love. I also know that I feel better about my writing when I focus on my successes, my output, and my story.
It’s January. Whether or not you’re one for resolutions, or goals, I do hope you can focus on being happy where you are, and knowing that 2011 offers a thousand opportunities to do more and feel better.
Are you writing? I hope so. If not, what will it take to get started? Since I have a lot going on these days, I can’t write as much as I’d like. Instead, I decided to commit to at least 100 words a day. Have you heard of the 100 x 100 goal? At least 100 words a day for 100 days. If you miss a day, you have to start over. I’m doing it with two writer friends, and it’s going well. I confess to missing a day when my computer imploded, and another one when I was on a retreat and completely forgot to do it. But what are another few days? I like the fact that the goal keeps my story in my head every day, and even if it gets really late, I can plow through 100 words in very little time. (No one said they had to be great, just on the page.)
And I find that it makes me feel better, too. 100 words for 100 days will come out to at least 10,000 words. And I usually write at least a few more words each day, so bonus. But I love that even that small handful of words makes me feel productive. Like I’m keeping my writing goals in mind every day, and scraping away at them, even if it’s only 100 words at a time.
It’s 2011. Another new, clean slate of a year. Make it a good one.