If I’m being honest, I almost didn’t write this post. I didn’t want to lie to you and say “I succeeded at this!” Because the truth is that I failed, many times.
This was probably the most difficult week I could have chosen to attempt a no complaining challenge. It was also probably the best week I could have chosen to do this. What’s the point in doing a challenge that is too easy?
You see, life has been on the more difficult side of things lately. But that’s another story for a different day.
Back on topic—->
I’m not really the “complaining type.” I’m pretty sure that I annoy people often with my perky outlook and inspirational quotes- sorry not sorry. That being said, I was SHOCKED how much I complain without even realizing it.
It’s human nature, hard wired into our brains to see the negative side of things. Once I started really paying attention to my thoughts and words, I realized how much negativity I was putting out into the world, and I began to make an honest effort reduce my negative output.
Here are my five methods to reduce the amount of complaining that I do on a daily basis.
1. Focus only on the present– Most of what I was complaining about revolved around things that had yet to happen. A lot of “what if’s” being played in my brain all day long. Imagining how hard my workout might be, or thinking about the long list of chores that would need to be completed. Spoiler alert: worrying about things that have yet to happen is a massive waste of time. Most “what if” actually aren’t that unpleasant in the moment, and fretting over the task is more unpleasant than just completing it.
2. Realize that it is pointless to complain over things that you cannot control- “Ugh, it’s snowing again, I’m so sick of the cold.” Complaining about something that you cannot change (like the weather) is pointless, and only adds to the unpleasant experience.
3. Focus on potential solutions- Recognize when you DO have the power to change your situation and devote your efforts to doing so. For example, instead of whining “traffic is awful! If all these idiots would learn how to drive we wouldn’t have this problem!” A potential solution would be acknowledging that your commute is during rush hour and using it as an opportunity for “me time” with music or an audiobook. This might actually turn it into an enjoyable time of the day.
4. Focus on your blessings and be grateful- Anytime I would begin to complain I would try to redirect my mind to a more positive outlook. Instead of “I’m too tired and don’t want to run today” I would try to think “I’m blessed with the ability to run. I have an able body that allows me to do something that is good for me and brings me joy, even if it’s hard sometimes.” Or instead of “ugh, it’s snowing again. Going to run that errand will totally suck” I would tell myself “I have a warm home waiting on me for when I return. My car is parked in the garage right now so I do not have to clean the snow off of it before driving.” When you focus on your blessings it becomes MUCH harder to complain.
5. Realize that authentic change doesn’t happen overnight- True change takes time. Like I said in the beginning of the post, I failed many times during this experience. If you want to be successful with anything, you have to accept that it isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. I am learning to be gracious with myself as I form these new habits.
Did you attempt this challenge along with me? I would love to hear your experience!