Positive Thinking in Motion: Committing to The Garbage Pickup Challenge

A lot of garbage That’s a lot of garbage!

Positive thinking often requires getting back on track and recommitting to going after what we want.

As I am walking my dog in search of the perfect spot for her to do some business, I decide to start picking up all the trash I see. The inspiration for this idea is a 16oz paper cup sitting upright on the curb.

Before I walk over to begin picking up garbage, I think about how gross whatever is in the cup probably is and decide this was a bad idea. Then I remember there is a way for me to throw out that cup without touching or ingesting whatever is in there, which may be $100 bills for all I knew at this point. I remind myself that if left untouched there is a great chance that that cup would eventually end up in our sewers and ultimately ocean, lakes, and rivers.  I recommit to the garbage pick up challenge and walk over to the paper cup.

It was indeed filled with something incredibly gross. I quickly decided this was a task that required a large garbage bag, not the backup doodie bag. As I walked away to continue the hunt for Annie’s poop spot, I remembered what I had just committed and recommitted to doing and noticed how easy it was to turn back on that based on a little pestilence fear popping up. I went back and picked up the cup.

We talk about how what you look for you will find. If you look for positivity you will find positive things more often. When I was looking for trash, I found it; a lot of it. I started negotiating with myself about what was going to be picked up or not. Rules were established and renegotiated as the walk progressed. The first renegotiation was not picking up cigarette butts. There are so many it’s really astonishing. Imagine a compilation video in fast motion of all the people, all over the world throwing a cigarette butt on the ground in one day.

Every time I didn’t pick up something that was on the “pick up list”, it became an opportunity to abandon the whole project. As if missing one piece of garbage negated the entire effort. Like how missing one workout after setting a goal to go every day leads to no more working out at all. This is a great example of less than effective goal setting. The real goal is not to go every day or pick up every piece of trash but to make a positive difference in our lives.

In looking at the overall goal of completing the garbage pickup challenge we get two categories of thoughts: those that support me in getting this done (positive) and those that do not (negative). The positive and negative thoughts swirled but by constantly going back to focusing on what I wanted rather than what I did not want I prevailed… well, not prevailed in terms of the original goal to pick up ALL the trash on the walk… at that I technically failed. And that’s ok. But did prevail at listening to my heart and being mindful of my thoughts and actions.

So what’s your garbage pickup challenge for the day?

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