When our hopes for performance are not completely met, realistic optimism involves accepting what cannot now be changed, rather than condemning or second-guessing ourselves. Focusing on the successful aspects of performance (even when the success is modest) promotes positive affect, reduces self-doubt, and helps to maintain motivation (e.g., McFarland
Appreciation involves being alert to the positive aspects of the current situation and feeling thankful for what one has and for one's circumstances. This requires not only a positive perspective in the present but also conscious awareness of features in the surround. The latter, in fact, is something that may be surprisingly rare. Especially when we are engaging in routine activities, we often do so mindlessly (Langer, 1997) or as though we were on automatic pilot (Cialdini, 1993). If we learn to bring our attention to the current state, we can choose to focus on positive aspects of the situation and to remind ourselves of the potential sources of good feelings that might otherwise pass unnoticed.