Here’s something you can do for your relationship today. It’s called The Daily Double. You earn two points today by doing two positive things on the positive list below, while avoiding doing any of the negative behaviors from the list at the end.
Let’s up the ante and go for the Thirty Day Challenge. Do The Daily Double for 30 days straight. If you slip up and do one of the negative behaviors in the box at the end of this article, start over again at Day 1 until you have 30 consecutive Daily Doubles. Be sure to track your accomplishments every day.
Why do this practice? Your brain cannot be appreciative and simultaneously be angry, fearful or resentful. It’s like trying to breathe in and out at the same time – you can’t do it.
Ways to be Positive
- I listened to difficult comments and kept my cool.
- I was able to recap what I was hearing in a conversation which slowed things down to a more manageable conversation.
- I expressed compassion in a difficult situation.
- When I felt I needed to solve a problem, I first asked my partner if they wanted advice.
- I used some appropriate humor, which my partner appreciated.
- I asked several questions before butting in with my reactions.
- I took several relaxing breaths instead of negatively commenting on an annoying habit.
- I expressed appreciation at least twice today and expressed why I was appreciative.
- I took a time out instead of continuing a downward spiral argument.
- I apologized for my part in a bad situation or conversation.
- I went out of my way to do something nice for my partner.
- I had kind and loving thoughts about my partner today.
- When I had negative thoughts about my partner, I shifted to thinking about what I appreciated.
- I emailed my partner at least one appreciation today.
- I texted my partner at least one appreciation today.
- I said both “please” and “thank you” today.
- I made better eye contact today.
- I kept my voice tone positive during a difficult discussion.
- I told my partner how I would like them to respond to me before talking about a difficult topic. For example, “I just want you to listen with concern. No advice needed, just support.”
- I looked for something positive in my partner today then expressed it.
- I asked questions about my partner’s perspectives and reality.
- I took the initiative to do something I knew my partner would value (that I don't usually take the initiative to do).
- I thought about how I aspired to be before having a difficult discussion, for example, to be curious about my partner’s perspective, be patient, be calm, be assertive, be concise, be considerate, be understanding, etc. (Focusing on how you aspire to be is an exceptionally good way to immediately have better discussions.)
- Today I practiced being:
- Curious and asking good questions vs telling or preaching
- Understanding vs pushing my perspective
- Thoughtful and considerate
- Grateful for things I usually take for granted
And, if you do something positive today that’s not on the list, write it down and count it – and congratulate yourself.
Another way to collect two points a day – give yourself one point if you were tempted to do one or more of the negative behaviors below, but stopped yourself.
Today I avoided these negative behaviors:
- Name calling
- Raising my voice inappropriately
- Being vague about what I wanted
- Criticizing what my partner wanted
- Changing the topic during a difficult discussion
- Asking blaming questions like, “Why do you always…?”
- Psychoanalyzing my partner during a difficult discussion
- Becoming resentfully compliant
- Saying “never”
- Acting like a victim