For months I have debated how to share a powerful, yet deceptively simple, nightly practice that has changed my life and that of many others. The practice, which has become a habit, is to write three wins-three good things-from the day. Writing three wins not only boosts your gratitude but simultaneously boosts your confidence. It’s magic!
The world works in mysterious ways. Yesterday, I stopped by See’s Candies. As I pulled the door open, I noticed a sign, See’s Candies…A Happy Habit encircling a picture of Mary See that I had never seen before. I asked an employee if the sign had always been there. She smiled and said that it had! The employee said that people often say, “I don’t really need this,” but at See’s we say, “It’s a happy habit.”
Voila, I thought to myself. Instead of making the introduction of this powerful practice complex by explaining its origin, and the science and psychology behind why it is transformative, I thought, ‘I will employ the KISS principle, Keep It Simple (because I’m) Smart.’ I will share this practice through the lens of a happiness habit. Thank you, See’s!
Research shows that writing down three things you’re grateful for each day increases your happiness. About 1-½ years ago, one of my daughters, a working mom, was in a negative place in her life. Every day was a struggle to accomplish the simplest everyday tasks. I asked her to start sharing one win with me each night. Within a few months, she was sharing three wins with me. Her confidence in herself and her feelings of success have continued to blossom. She is so much happier! She is rewiring her brain for positivity. Her wins (GAINS) have become more specific and now include happy events, overcoming obstacles at work, and experiences that have brought her joy.
The other night, she was watching the 2023 movie Happiness for Beginners. She called to say, Mom, “They are sharing GAINS in the show!” Of course I watched the show the next night and was tickled to hear the main character, Helen, ask the psychologist character, Windy, “You’re studying happiness?”
Windy: “Yeah. Psychology used to focus on the problems…the idea was to analyze the f’d up parts of life in order to cure them. But I’m studying what people do right. How happy well-adjusted people do things. That makes a lot of sense. Every night before bed I always write three good things that happened to me. It’s one of the exercises I’m studying.”
Helen: “And just like that, you’re happy?”
Windy: “Kind of. Like, name three good things that happened to you today.”
Helen: “OK I don’t think I could name three good things.”
Kaylee: “Uh, the weather’s getting colder and I’m on natural gas. I get to drink white wine again, and I’m OK not wearing deodorant.”
Windy: “Ok, Helen. Your turn.”
Helen: “Ok. I’m glad we’re having this conversation, Windy. That’s one. The oatmeal this morning was slightly less rubbery. OK. That’s two.”
Windy: “Dig deep.”
Helen: “I have a good one. I love when you wake up in the morning and your face is cold from the mountain air, but your sleeping bag is keeping your body so nice and toasty warm.”
Kaylee: “I love that!”
Hugh: “Yes. That’s a good one!”
Windy: “It’s magic!”
Helen: “How about you, Windy?”
Windy: “I loved the cowboy coffee that was on the stove this morning.”
Kaylee: “Love it!”
Windy: “The mossy smell that’s in the woods. The burn in my muscles as we’re walking uphill. The fresh crispness in the air.”
Helen: “You’re too good.”
Windy: “I’ve had more practice. Plus, it’s kind of like my battle cry. Appreciate everything!”
Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford behavior scientist, explains that feeling good and feeling like you’re making progress are essential for growth and happiness.
After people purchase my course, Creating Calm Within, I invite them to participate in a practice of sharing 3 GAINS/WINS with me each evening to personalize and add value to their experience. Accountability, confidence, and positivity are engaged almost immediately.
As humans, we very easily forget or overlook how we’ve moved forward and what personal growth we’ve achieved. The GAIN is about measuring backward, looking back at your day and taking the time to reflect on
- What you learned, what made you happy
- An improvement you made in a relationship
- A Tiny Habit recipe you said you would do
- That you made a healthy choice
- That you took care of something be it a bill, a load of laundry; maybe you did something today that took a burden off the next day
- That you reframed an experience
There’s no right or wrong—it’s about becoming more aware of who you want to be and what you are already doing with your time that reflects evidence of your forward steps, no matter how “Tiny” they may be!
What you focus on expands. You feel like you’re always making progress. Writing three wins daily keeps you in a state of momentum, confidence, and happiness. Every day you measure your GAINS, you are increasingly able to appreciate the positive things in others.
How you see anything is how you see everything. You train your brain what to see. You start each new day already happy based on the happiness you’ve achieved to this point. You expand that happiness because you are increasingly able to take any experience and appreciate that life is happening for you.
Make Happiness a Habit!