Take this Thanksgiving challenge

We’ve all done it and we will probably all do it again.

We’ve heard other people doing it, and when they do it too much, it can be very irritating.

What is it?

“It” is complaining, and it’s our way of verbalizing when something isn’t right in our world.

Although it can be tempting to get into a cycle of continuous complaining, it can also be the red flag you need to pay attention and determine what should be done.

Think of it like a smoke alarm in your home that gives off a loud signal alerting you to do something — like get out of the house and/or call 911.

Regarding complaints, the question is, what needs attention and what needs to be done?

The key is to use your complaints to help you move forward. Here’s how:

1. Identify the source of your complaints.

What are you complaining about? Once you identify which area(s) of your life you’re complaining about, (work, relationships, health or losing weight, finances, etc.), you’ll know where to begin.

2. Determine what you do want to create.

For example, if you constantly complain about your job, how would you like it to be?

Start with what’s wrong (why you are complaining) and then describe how it could be better.

Here’s an easy way to start: “If only I could ...” or “It would be great if ...” Fill in the blanks.

3. Create “action steps” to help you to move forward.

Now that you have an idea of how you would like it to be, brainstorm action steps. How can you get from point A to point B ... one small step at a time?

4. Establish accountability.

Recruit an accountability partner who will help you stay on track. (What will you do? When will you do it? And how will this person know?)

5. Find at least two things to be grateful for each time you find yourself complaining.

When you focus on what is working, it shifts your perspective from what’s wrong to what’s right. By awakening your senses to being in gratitude, you can begin to appreciate aspects of your life you may have taken for granted.

During the month of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to move from the perspective of half-empty to half-full. This is a two-part challenge.

6. Do a 2 for 1.

For every complaint you have, come up with at least two things you are grateful for or appreciate in this area of your life.

7. Be grateful today and every day.

Create a Joy Journal and write down at least one thing every day for which you feel grateful.

If you start this list today, on Thanksgiving day you will be able to read more than 20 things that you are grateful for.

This simple change in perspective — moving from complaining to gratitude — is the most important step.

It allows you to use your complaints to create positive changes in your life. The next time you hear yourself or someone complaining, smile and know that this red flag is your reminder to stay in gratitude.

Coaching challenge: Be on the lookout for complaining — yours and others. Chances are you won’t have to look far.

See your complaints as warning flags (opportunities) to create changes in your life.

Take the half-empty/half-full challenge between now and Thanksgiving. See what changes happen in your life.


Sheri Fisher is a life coach who lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For more information, go to: http://www.coachwithsheri.com.


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