Write Down Three Positive Things About Each Day, Every Day

Write Down Three Positive Things About Each Day, Every Day

It’s difficult enough to stay motivated and upbeat without the rest of the world weighing on your shoulders. If you’re feeling unmotivated, Zack Shapiro, an engineer at Taskrabbit, has a suggestion for you: take some time each day to write down three positive things that have happened to you.

Zack logs his three happy things every night, checks off the item in Lift, another app we love to help you not break habit chains, and then goes to bed. It improves your mood, and gets you thinking positively, which in itself can be a step in the right direction.

No one is saying that writing down good things is going to make the bad things any less bad, but Zack notes that he’s genuinely happier and more motivated since he started this habit. He also says it’s an easy routine to pick up — which is a good thing on its own, considering how difficult it can be to build better habits.

My Favorite Habit: Write Three Positive Things About Today [Zack Shapiro via Hacker News]


  • Many, many years ago I started doing something similar, adapting David Letterman’s “Top Ten List” approach to my days when I was in a miserable no-future job, but stuck in a geographic area that didn’t offer many alternatives. I sent them to a friend/colleague just so that he could see that when I was being negative, it was really because things HAD gone that badly that day, and that yeah, I did recognize that some days went OK. Christened “Tenlists”, these were a daily output of mine for close to a year. They turned a rather miserable purgatory (my workplace) into an ongoing joke between me and this friend/colleague, because of how far I often had to reach to find positives. But hey, at least I kept looking for them rather than wallowing in a far-less-than-optimal situation I was not in a position to change.

  • I tried this a few years ago, but rather than record them in a document, I posted them to Twitter and Facebook, which not only improves your mood then and there, but can garner positive feedback and reinforcement from friends.

      • After about 10-12 months or so, I didn’t feel the need to do it as much anymore – I think it had done it’s job for me. I also wasn’t using Facebook as regularly, so there were a few multiple-week periods where this was my only status update, and it was becoming more of a routine than a self-help measure (as was ignoring them among some of my Facebook friends).

        Gotta admit this article did get me thinking about restarting – at least for a while.

  • Great to see this post! I started doing 3GoodThings in June last year and haven’t stopped.

    I was in a pretty dark place at the time and picked this practice up from two places (1) Shawn Achor’s book (awesome read and strongly recommended) and (2) Martin Seligman’s work on applied positive psychology (the man is a legend). Both of them have great TED talks as well if you’re interested in spending 2 x 20mins of your life rather than reading the books!

    Its SO simple and has such huge results. So many people started following what I was doing with my daily photo post off my 3GoodThings on Facebook that a friend started a page for what I called my ‘happiness experiment’ in March 2012 and its slowly but surely grown to over 900 members.

    GOOD on you for getting in amongst it and to Zack for sharing his experience.
    Changing the world is a team sport!


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