New feature! “What Went Well” Monday

My well-worn copy of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. I love this book.

On this fine Monday morning I’m taking a page out of the playbook of positive psychology – an academic field of study created by Dr. Martin  E. P. Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. This week I’m reflecting on the first six months of Every48 and my goal to get an hour of exercise in, at least once every 48 hours. What’s worked so far? When challenges have come up, what have they been? And, most importantly, what can I do to improve upon what’s happened so far in 2014?

From Seligman’s book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being:

We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyze bad events so that we can learn from them and avoid them in the future. However, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful. Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savoring what went well.

So, in that spirit, I’m bringing the What-Went-Well exercise from Flourish to Every48 every Monday. (It’s also featured on a lovely free iPad app called Live Better You from Gigi Games.)

It’s a time to look back on the previous week, the previous month, and whatever time period looks helpful to analyze, to see where things are going swimmingly – and where there are even more opportunities for improvement.

What-Went-Well: Last Week

Old Ironsides. From an epic walk in Boston with my hubby this past weekend.
Old Ironsides. From an epic walk in Boston with my hubby this past weekend.

1. I took several lovely long walks with my hubby while on vacation in New York, Boston and Maine – including a screamer of a super walk on our last day in Boston, all the way from Cambridge to the North End to the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston Harbor to the Beacon Hill monument…and back again! (And took some awesome pictures too.)

The Bunker Hill Memorial.
The Bunker Hill Memorial. From our Boston walk. Loved it.

2. After enjoying a nice amount of “regional treats” (Maine salt water taffy, Italian cannoli from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, every single delicious thing served at my cousin’s lovely wedding in New Rochelle, NY, and fresh blueberry pie a la mode in Maine…twice), I got back to business with being realistic about my meals and activity when we arrived in Boston for the July 4 holiday – and weighed in within my goal range on Saturday morning to celebrate four years and eleven months maintaining my goal weight at Weight Watchers. I am seriously proud of this. You have no idea how good that cannoli was. We Italians know how to party – trust me on this.

3. I talked my running coaches into offering a summertime track session and helped to get enough people interested so that they could afford to do it, so I have a group to work out with this summer as I launch my fall marathon training. While I’m traveling, they’ve been emailing me my workouts – I haven’t done them perfectly, but I’ve done what I could do – and will do even better this week.

And…since this is the first What-Went-Well exercise, how about a reflection on the entire year thus far?

What-Went-Well: First Six Months of 2014 Edition

1. I weighed in within two pounds of my goal weight every single month of this year so far. It took until the very end of May to accomplish that goal that month (the post-marathon month is the most challenging time for me when it comes to maintaining my weight) – but it happened. Oh, and I got my annual blood tests and found out my “numbers” are better than they were two years ago. Score!

2. I set a “Boston personal best” at this year’s Boston Marathon – and I know I would have been 15 minutes faster, at least, if we hadn’t had unseasonably warm weather in those last couple of hours to contend with. Next year.

3. I recovered from an extraordinary professional challenge in which, despite an incredible amount of negative stress thrown my way by others, I did not gain a single pound. There were a few bouts of stress-related eating…but I emerged healthy and much, much stronger both physically and emotionally. No question, it was the key personal-growth moment of the year.

What are your What-Went-Well moments for 2014? Today, I invite you to reflect on them, and to make plans on what you can do even better in the months to come. Tomorrow, I’ll reflect on the opportunities for growth (euphemism for the “whoops!” moments of the year…and the week) and set up a plan for success for the remainder of 2014.

Extra resource – If you’d like to read more about the science of flourishing, the New York Times’ John Tierney wrote a thoughtul article about it in 2011 when Flourish was first published.

Recent #Every48 workouts: A huge, huge WALK on Saturday, July 5 with my hubby – some of it pretty strenuous – in and around Boston. About two hours on our feet, total, including stopping to see the U.S.S. Constitution and the Bunker Hill memorial. Yesterday was a travel/rest day.

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