One Thing Wednesday

5 Practical Alternatives to Complaining

This Wednesday I have a question for you…What if you were one powerful habit away from changing your life?  Breaking the complaining habit has me feeling less stressed and more empowered.

I probably wouldn’t pose such a question if it weren’t for a hesitant agreement I made with a co-worker a few weeks ago.  We decided to take on a 21 Day No Complaint challenge together.  I had a few quivers but thought, “Why not?”

I never imagined it would begin to unravel so many tightly knit negatives in my thinking. 

brush and the toilet paper

After one day of watching my mental dialog, I realized, I absolutely had to commit to this challenge.  Some of the thoughts streaming through my head were sneaky little agitators and oh so subtle.  I could do better.

Complaining serves a purpose for us but not without a cost.  There is a flavorful mix of negativity, tension, and victimhood swirling through the words we think and speak.  Complaining and criticizing create an illusion that something is being done to bring about change, when it’s not.

Maybe a real issue started the mind flowing in an unfavorable direction but continuing on that path will only work to keep us stuck.  We bring about rapid results when we take responsibility for how we reply to the sting of a challenge.

What are some practical alternatives?

The 21 day challenge forced me to find some effective and concrete strategies to replace complaining.  Below are five;

  • Talk about what you do want instead of what you don’t want.
  • Connect with others around positive things rather than problems or negatives.
  • Focus on facts and finding solutions rather than on what’s not working.
  • Accept what is happening/has happened and face the uncomfortable emotions.
  • Focus on what is available and/or abundant rather than what is lacking.

And if none of those work, we could always simply allow ourselves to complain for a while.  Then smile at the whole mess and wait for the next round.

The goal isn’t to be perfect after all:)


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