The grateful project

Most of us make and break our New Year’s Resolutions. But not Lynne Scrivens. She held true to her goal every single day over the course of a year – and it changed her life forever.

At 41, Lynne Scrivens enjoys a confidence and contentment she never felt in her 20s and 30s.

The successful television producer is happily married, has wonderful friends and family and is excited about what lies ahead.
 
But rewind almost three years and Lynne was lonely, stuck in a rut of working too hard and drinking too much.
 
“I was living on my own at the time and I was 38, and I was a single woman and I’m sure millions of others out there would appreciate that is a lonely place to be in your life,” says Lynne.
 
“I was drinking too much to cover that up - to escape,” she says. “I was drinking at home alone a lot and waking up hung-over so I wanted to break that cycle.”
 
She made a decision that would change her life immeasurably.
Inspired by a friend, she started the grateful project.

From the first of January 2013, Lynne resolved to share one thing she was grateful for on Facebook every day for the entire year.

(If you've got a story about #SharingHappiness that you want to tell, we'd love to hear from you on our facebook page!)

“January 1st 2013, no way did I have any idea where the grateful project would take me,” says Lynne. “I was so overwhelmed by the prospect of 365 days of finding something to be grateful for.”

Lynne would spend at least half an hour each day, carefully considering every post.

“That’s half an hour of positive thinking every day. Deliberate positive thinking,” says Lynne.

 “It was really quite amazing at helping me understand my life and what was making me happy and what wasn’t.”

Within a few months Lynne was exercising more, drinking less and feeling more confident.

“Once I started realising, look I’ve got all these things to be grateful for - I had a more positive outlook on life and then I thought I don’t need to drink this much all the time or maybe I will go on that date with that guy,” says Lynne.

She also started to see a psychologist once a fortnight – a kind of boot camp for the brain.

“We have personal trainers for our bodies, but psychologists are like personal trainers for the brain,” she says.

“They’re really good at helping you assess your life and see where you’re at,” Lynne says. “That combined with the grateful project really set me on the right path towards finding happiness.”

But the most drastic change would happen mid-year, when Lynne made the brave decision to move from Sydney to Melbourne in search of love.

“The idea (to move to Melbourne) had always been in the back of my mind and somehow it leapt to the forefront and I thought well what’s stopping me?”

“Once I moved to Melbourne I just had a fresher outlook on life and I had a confidence I hadn’t had before and also an openness to finding love.”

With an open heart and the help of a new found work friend Rachael, Lynne was introduced to Todd; who she describes as lovely, polite, caring and the world’s best cook.

They fell in love quickly. Within 18 months, Lynne and Todd were married.

 “I’d waited a long time to find a partner I could walk through life with and I think when you wait this long, I was 40 when I got married, you really appreciate it.”

“I’m in a very happy place and that’s largely because I have a husband who I can walk alongside in life and we’re part of a team now.”

“At the start of the year I didn’t have any thoughts ‘oh I’ll move to Melbourne and I’ll find someone and fall in love and get married,’ I couldn’t have imagined that that’s the journey the grateful project would take me on - on January 1st 2013.”

While Lynne couldn’t be happier with how this social media experiment turned out for her, she admits it wasn’t always easy to find a positive. Like the day she missed out on a promotion at work.

“I was in a terrible mood and I just wanted to get home and that was the day I was grateful for the train arriving on time because I could think of nothing else to be grateful for.”

She also worried she was over sharing, gratuitously filling her friends’ news feeds.

“I think my status one day was ‘I’m grateful to my Facebook friends for putting up with this project and me posting a different status every day’ and I got really lovely feedback from people saying no we love it keep going.”

“They weren’t looking at the project as clogging up their Facebook feeds it was more they were being inspired by the daily posts and looking at what they were grateful for in their own lives,” Lynne says. “I like the idea of inspiring other people by my over sharing.”

If you would like more of the ‘good-news stories’ in your life, check out the Happiness Project here on The Blue Room.

By the end of 2013, Lynne was grateful to not share so much of herself publicly, but she still takes time to focus on the positives in her life.

The biggest personal lesson for Lynne was how important and powerful positive thinking can be.

“If anyone’s considering New Year’s resolutions you don’t have to do it on a public platform like I did on Facebook,” she says. “Just keep it as a journal beside your bed every night before you go to sleep, write down something you’re grateful for.”

“You just have to find something little to be grateful for every day and see what happens.”


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