Random Musings, Well being

100 days of Gratitude and Music – Personal daily challenge

11/12/2022

It is a Saturday morning.

My sleep schedule has been off for a few weeks now. I start getting sleepy very early, around 7:30 to 8 pm, sleep about six hours and wake up from 2 to 3 am. That is way too early to be starting the day.

I sometimes get to talk to my online person but it is early for him as well. I will just lay there on my phone scrolling through social media for an hour or so, until he wakes up, then we talk.

July 29th of this year, I had an incident that occurred between my parents and myself at a relative’s funeral. This precipitated my decision to cut ties with them permanently. It was also during this time that the relationship with this online person began moving towards becoming more permanent in our discussions.

That is a lot of changes occurring all at once and I realized that I was getting lost in the automatic thoughts and reactions to the situations occurring. I was losing sight of positivity and focusing more on the negative. I needed to revitalize the hope, faith, and belief that has carried me these past few years.

That is when I decided to challenge myself to developing a better morning or daily habit. I chose to post daily gratitude’s and songs of the day for a set period of 100 consecutive days. I know from previous attempts; this always has a positive influence on my daily thoughts. I started this challenge on August 4th.

Yesterday, November 11th, was the 100th day of gratitude and it also coincidently was Veteran’s Day here in the United States. My post for the 100th day was focused on both the final gratitude and my status as a retired military veteran.

This habit of posting a daily gratitude has helped me not only refocus on a more positive mindset but has also made me realize that I need to develop better habits that are producing better results. These results are not for only personal goals but meeting financial needs as well.  I have started to revisit starting a business, going back to school to finish my degree, and finding a part time job to add to our monthly income. 

I just recently revamped my LinkedIn profile and started applying to local companies for part time positions. Only time will tell if this is going to be feasible. I have to be patient.

I was discussing these matters early this morning with my online person and he stated that he looked forward to my daily gratitude, songs, and positivity posts. I knew he liked them on Instagram and would see it in my notifications but was unaware that he found a positive message for himself within these daily postings. He encouraged me to keep posting them. 

I may continue the daily gratitude but not sure about daily songs. It was hard finding just the right songs every day. The song of the day or music of the day was challenging.

I would have to listen to the lyrics to really feel if that song gave me a positive vibe or not. I would have to sit in meditation while listening to the song.  Quiet contemplation of how it made me feel. Every once and a while, a song that I thought would be great caused too much noise in my thoughts. The sound became chaotic and it made the anxiety go up slightly. I had to approach the song choice differently.

I began to read the lyrics and to understand what the artist was trying to convey. I realized through this process that there were songs that I could not post, even though I liked them, because the lyrics were based on a different time period.

The words used to describe relationships were not what I felt was relevant to the way we think today.  It was too sexist or chauvinistic so I opted out of using them. There were other songs were the mental well-being or how one felt towards a situation was too casual.

Yet, some of these songs are very popular, even today, and have been used commercially for movies, television, and other forms of pop culture.

I guess if you are just listening to the beat or catchiness of the song then you really don’t think about the lyrics.

The personal challenge to myself was to find the right vibe to start the day positively.

Yes, I probably overthought on the music, but for myself it was a personal habit that I was developing. A habit to fill my thoughts with good vibrations and harmonious sounds that would resonate with me all day.  To be able to carry that vibe not only inward but outward as well.

The song choices were liked by quite a few and I would get nice comments on them. I knew that I had chosen the right ones.

I created a Spotify playlist with all the songs that I posted and it is available under the title “100 days of Music”.

All of this was to develop a better morning habit of calming the thoughts, setting a positive tone, and to refocus on the good things in life.  The simple things we often take for granted as we go about our day.

The goal of doing this consecutively for 100 days was to develop a habit.

All the self-help, management, and leadership books that I have read over the years tout the minimum time needed to develop a habit is 66 days. I think it is actually a little longer, depending on the habit, you are trying to develop or break.

When I was a former smoker, I quit cold turkey and it took more than 3 months to get through the withdrawal symptoms but it took a year before I quit thinking about having a cigarette.  It was a two pack a day habit and it was very hard to break. I have been smoke-free for 15 years now. I cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke, the thought of having one actually makes me nauseous or feel like gagging.

Habits, they are good when we stick with them, but they can also be time consuming if they are not structured correctly.  In order to develop a habit, it has to be flexible, give a desired result or outcome, and be simple, not overly complicated.  

I have attempted to develop habits before, that failed, because there was not a specified desired outcome our goal attached to it.  It was too general.

The daily gratitude and song of the day was to break down the negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones in the morning.  This helped lessen the morning anxiety and quieted the numerous thoughts that are always there. It forced me to concentrate on the task at hand.

When I made the decision to start the daily gratitude, I originally was going to do what I did before, write them down on a sticky note, and post it on my wall.  This was from a previous attempt 4 years ago and it worked but it was time consuming. 

Instead, I used my phone, a photo editing app to add text, and then post it to my stories as well as the highlight section of Instagram. This helped to keep track of it every day.  

I have many landscape pictures from previous trips or random drives on my phone, this was the perfect background for each post.  The daily gratitude contained the date, time, day number I was on, and then a minimum of 3 things I was grateful for.  Then there were also the hashtags to use while posting.  I made a general template that I used to make it easier.

I was able to do this most morning first thing but if my day was busy or started very early it was usually posted midday instead.

The three items I was grateful for every day, were simple things.  A morning sunrise, a cup of coffee, my cats, my blankets, or sometimes the people in my life. Things that make our life comfortable or easier.  The little things, that make up every day, we sometimes overlook.

This personal challenge helped put into perspective the importance of being grateful for the life that I live, the people in my life, the opportunities before me, and the experiences that made me who I am.

All the issues that we go through in a day, a week, a month, or sometimes even a year never last.  We get over the obstacle in our path, learn from it, and move on. 

A person with anxiety, such as myself, tend to feel like the issues are never-ending.

Yet, if we were to take a step back, look at it with a new perspective, and realize sometimes it is an ongoing problem that we never resolved.  That is our call to action and the moment we need to make changes.

That is what developing better habits is all about, getting out of the same old routine, getting out of that rut, and finding a new or better purpose.  Finding what makes us truly happy.

Life is too short to keep doing the same destructive things over and over again. Finding positivity in just the little things makes a world of difference not only to our sense of self but sometimes to the world around us.

Still undecided whether to continue with the daily postings of music. I may make that a random thing. The daily gratitude will continue but in a different format.

As human beings we strive to adjust, and grow each day, to survive the environment around us.

We tend to forget the biggest change we can make is within ourselves.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a wonderful week!

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.

Suzanne