For the past few months, I’ve been really into listening to podcasts. More than any other, the one I like the most is Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, talk all things happiness including their own personal happiness hacks, research into happiness inducing habits while also giving themselves both demerits and gold stars based on their own real life experiences.
In the most recent episode, they talked about the importance of having something to look forward to. Elizabeth shared what she’d developed into her personal belief that everyone should have a few things to look forward to. In fact, she refers to it as the ABCs: on smaller thing, one slightly bigger thing and one major thing. The examples she gave were a favourite TV show to watch for the small thing, a girls’ night out for the medium thing and a weekend away for the big thing.
I couldn’t agree more on the subject of having something to look forward to and I really like the idea of having an ABC plan. Without realizing it, I’ve actually hit on this belief myself before in both negative and positive ways.
Right now, my big thing is easily the trip that we are taking this weekend to spend time with our friends in Vancouver, Washington. This whole day will be agony as we wait to board our flight to Portland and I’m sure the trek will feel like it takes forever. Overall, though, I am excited beyond words. Like, in a constantly group texting the hours until our flight leaves or until we’ll get there excited. I’m in the office today, but the only thing I really had to do this morning was go for a run. It’s a run day, after all. Now, without speaking too much about my training (because, snore) I have been struggling with some pain and I’ve also been steadily increasing my endurance. Obviously, some days are better than others. Today? I could have run all the way to their house. I was happy, I was strong, I was focused and I was (as close as I get to) a rock star. Sure, part of that was the work I have been putting in, but part of it is also completely mental: I woke up excited about my big thing to look forward to. That pushed me further and it made me better.
On the flip side, I can remember times when I have said these exact words to Kevin in the fit of a frustrated slump of some sort: I HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. (Okay, that sounds way more dramatic than its actual context, but it’s true that I’ve said it.) These are in lulls of travelless months, endlessly dreary days or times when we don’t have anything really exciting or satisfying going on. Have you ever felt that? The need to just do something to break up the monotony? I think that’s what they’re talking about.
So, in the light of my amazing run this morning, imagine my delight when the first podcast I played at my desk was talking about the significance of having something to look forward to. 🙂
And, if I had to pick my ABCs right now…
B (medium): Happier Live in Seattle next week. I swear, I’m not obsessed. Or if I am, it’s just a little.
C (big): THIS WEEKEND! (Seven hours until we board that plane!!)
Two more tiny points in favour of having something to look forward to:
- Sometimes something to look forward to can work as a reward for getting through a really tough day/week/time
- Sometimes the act of looking forward to is equal to or even more enjoyable than the actual experience
Do you make a conscious effort of having things to look forward to? What are your things to look forward to ABCs right now?