If you read my last post, you know that my success with my 30-day blogging challenge left me raring to go on the next one!
As I poured my morning coffee the day after completing my first challenge, an idea for my next challenge popped into my head: to drink my coffee and tea without sugar for the next 30 days.
The idea wasn’t to cut sugar out of my diet entirely.
It was just that for months, I’d been thinking about wanting to cut back on this easy-to-overlook addition to my sugar intake. (This girl likes a LOT of sugar in her coffee.) When I’d tried to have less sugar before, I always wanted more—my regular amount—so I decided that a cold-turkey 30 days would be another approach that would, by removing all of the gray area, force-adjust me.
Plus, I wanted to see just how powerful a 30-day challenge could be. On the heels of my first 30-day success, I decided to go for it.
Admittedly, there was some inner (and maybe even a little outer) whining in the beginning. That first cup of sugarless coffee did not go down easy!
A few days into the challenge, I was drinking coffee while talking to my mom. I made a remark about how I missed the taste of the sugar, and she said something simple and brilliant: “Try to taste what is there.”
That simple sentence stuck with me throughout the 30-day challenge, and I started thinking about it beyond its application to sugar (or lack thereof) in my coffee. It got me thinking more generally about lack mindset vs. abundance mindset.
Lack mindset focuses on what isn’t there, on what you don’t have. Lack is about half empty, missing, absent.
Abundance mindset, on the other hand, focuses on what is there, on what you do have. Abundance is about half full, enough, present.
My mother’s suggestion to “taste what is there” shifted my sugar-free coffee experience from one of lack to one of abundance.
The potential applications of such a shift are countless. If you want to make big changes in your life, check out your mindset. Are you operating under lack or abundance?
If you have lack thinking looming over you, here are three questions you can ask yourself to transform to an abundance mentality:
What do I have?
This question can be helpful in times of loss, or in times of general dissatisfaction. For example: as you sob into the phone about your breakup, you’re feeling the missing, the lack of the person who is gone. And that’s totally understandable and normal!
When you’re ready, though, an abundance question can help you shift your energy. This question is not about guilting or shaming yourself out of your sadness or anger—rather, it’s an opportunity to transform your emotions gently by bringing your attention to all the wonderful things you do have in your life that are conspiring to support you.
Bring your awareness to what you have, from the most literal and mundane objects (a phone, a sofa to sit on, a blanket to curl up under, tissues to use, crumple, and fling dramatically onto a cinematic heap…) to the more intangible things (a friend to love you and listen, a heart and mind open to love, the ability to ask for help when you need it…).
Just noticing what you have, rather than focusing exclusively on what you don’t have, can help to shift or at least balance your energy.
What can I do?
(Variations: What doesn’t hurt? What isn’t broken?)
While it’s applicable to all sorts of situations—especially ones in which you feel disempowered—I find this question especially helps me when I’m in physical pain or under some sort of physical limitation.
When you’re on day five of lying in bed feeling sick, anxious, and frustrated that you “can’t do ANYthing!” it may help to do an inventory of all the things in your body that are working “right.”
We tend to take health for granted, considering healthy days “normal,” and we often don’t think about what works until something doesn’t. So play a little game. See how many body parts are working well.
Can you wiggle your fingers (or use them to type an email to a friend or pet the animal who loves you no matter how you look)? Breathe (through your mouth, if not through your nose)? Open your eyes to SEE the sad little sick-person mess around you? Bend your elbows? Sit up and lie down? Blink?
The very fact that our hearts keep beating is miraculous! In any situations where you feel little power, use this question to get your sense of agency back.
What’s not wrong?
(Variations: What’s going well? What’s right? What’s working?)
In those days or weeks that everything seems to be going wrong that can, bring your awareness to what’s going right.
For example, as you notice yourself rattling off the habitual mental list of things that drive you crazy about your current job, instead choose to make a list of all the things (no matter how small) in your job that are supporting you.
If you’re feeling anxious about your living situation, ask yourself what’s right about it, and what is working.
If you’re getting ready to launch into a list of complaints about your partner, make a list of what s/he’s doing well and see what comes up.
Make a new habit of listing all that’s not wrong each day, and you’ll be amazed at the cumulative effect of those repeated energy shifts.
You may be wondering how my second 30-day challenge ended up. By the end, I was able to enjoy the beverage without the sweetener (though I sometimes choose to use it). I certainly cut back on my sugar intake.
Just as importantly, though, now I can taste what is there.
Like this article? Like it, link it, share it, or email it using the links below! And tell us in the comments: What’s not wrong in your life today?