How Would You Answer This Question?

I can’t believe the new school year is just starting. I have two kids in high school, a sophomore and a junior. This is probably my older one’s most stressful year of his academic career so far.

He needs to put together a potential college list, start touring colleges so he can figure out where he wants to apply to next year, show academic rigor, build relationships with his teachers so he can get recommendations, participate in activities, try to get leadership positions, oh and you know, get good grades. And that doesn’t even include trying to build a social life at the tender age of 16.

Now, my son is a mini-me with one glaring exception: he’s Mr. Negative. I explained the benefits of positivity and put signs around the house to remind him. He tells me that he needs to balance out my positivity. So, how do I help shift his perspective without him thinking that I’m just being a Pollyanna?

I just heard about a study that I’m going to try. If you’ve been reading my newsletter for a while, you know that I have the habit of saying, “What was the best part of your day?” The goal is to focus on something good and embrace gratitude every day.


This study gave me a new angle on my question. To assist the shift to positivity, try one of these questions:

  • What are 3 things you did well today?
  • What 3 actions do you feel proud about completing today?
  • Name 3 ways you contributed to something today.


I’m not sure why 3, but that’s what the study said. Write down 3 things that you did, contributed to, or accomplished each and every day.


The study was rooted in helping people overcome loss and manage grief. It was intended to help them rebuild their self-confidence. Examples they gave started as basic as, “I got dressed, made a cup of tea, and smiled at someone.”

I’m really curious to see what my son will say each day. I just started and so far, I said things like,

“I made someone smile today.”

“I was a kind driver and let people in during traffic.” (I am from NJ, that’s a big deal here!)

“I got that item off my to-do list.”

“I did my 10,000 steps even when I didn’t have the energy.”


By reminding yourself of your active contributions rather than something passive that might have happened to, near, or around you, you build your own confidence about your ability to continue to contribute.

I would love to know if any of you try it and how it affects how you feel each day. So, what are you proud of today?

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