What’s amazing is that I would spend over $20.00 on “Oprah’s The Life You Want Planner.” Even more amazing is, I feel like it was money well spent. So how did I end up adding to Oprah’s financial empire?
I had an epiphany shortly after the start of the year. I should be happier than I am.
I had gone through a stressful 2021. A new position, a crazy renovation, but the holidays had been wonderful and everything in the house was finally done. Yet, I wasn’t feeling blissful.
I certainly had enough things to be blissful about. Getting settled in a new position had been tough, but all in all, this was one of the best jobs I have had in my career. I even like my boss! I had a great life partner, some fantastic friends, two amazing pets and a lot of creative outlets. After imagining how great my home renovation would be for so many years, it lived up to everything I had dreamed of.
Yet, I still spent way too much time annoyed or stressed out, instead of enjoying everything I had. Why wasn’t I happier?
I was listening to Howard Stern one afternoon in my truck when his sidekick Robin Quivers, started talking about the Oprah journal. Howard Stern is no fan of Oprah and he also suffers from having a great life and not enjoying it. Robin was saying she was going to buy the Oprah journal for him because she thought it would help him. I was intrigued. Robin suggesting an Oprah journal to Howard? That was AMAZING!
I went on Amazon and bought it. It sat around for awhile and I finally cracked it open. I turned to the introduction page and after I read it, I realized that one page was worth all the money I paid for it.
So, what did I learn?
I have been keeping a journal (back when I was a little girl, we called it a Diary), since I was nine years old. It started out being about things that happened that day, songs I listened to, tv shows I liked. As I got older, of course, there were entries about my love life, my friends and later, my bands and my jobs.
Oprah’s introduction basically stated the same thing, so I related immediately. But then she pointed out something I had never really thought about. She wasn’t writing in her journal about all the things she was grateful for. Or things that had brought her joy or happiness that day.
Neither was I. There were lengthy entries when my contractors were driving me crazy (complete with some language not appropriate for preschoolers) or I had a particularly frustrating day at work. But very little when I saw something come together on the house or really nailed a work presentation.
No surprise I wasn’t feeling happier! I wasn’t focusing on any happy things.
I now try to include something I am grateful for every night when I sit down to do a summary of my day. Some days, that haven’t been particularly good, it might just be that the weather was great. But it is something. If nothing else, I find I am going to sleep with a better attitude and letting some of the frustrations of the day go.
I Feel Good About My Job When…
The pages of the journal have Weekly Reflections which are questions you are supposed to ask yourself every week. Some of them set off my Corny Meter. Like “when was I true to myself?” I am not sure I even know what that means. But some are good. I even came up with one for myself.
I have been struggling with work this summer. In analyzing why, I discovered there is a part of me that hates working during the summer. I loved being off when I was kid, with no where to be and no alarm going off. Part of me longs for that time every year June thru September. Other things have contributed to my general feeling of work disdain, including a lot of turnover on my team.
After dragging through another week, I decided to try asking myself a Weekly Reflection type Oprah question. Mine was, “I feel good about my job when…”
I came up with several things. When I learn something new. When I rock a presentation. When I help a co-worker with something they are struggling with.
Once again, looking at the things that made me feel good and not continuing to focus on what was annoying, made the whole week go better. Sounds simple, right? It is simple, but, if I don’t make an effort to do it, it is easy to fall into my negative habits.
You Become What You Believe- Oprah Winfrey
In theory, I have always agreed with this quote. But did I follow it?
I have never described myself as a positive person. I consider myself a stubborn realist who accomplishes things because she just refuses to give up. But look at a situation in a positive light? Not so much. My question around why I wasn’t happier was becoming clearer and clearer.
Did this journal instantly change my life? Of course not. But it has helped me adjust my mindset while I work on finding my way down happiness road.