Practicing Gratitude in the New Year
There has been a lot of buzz about ‘gratitude’ over the last few years, and it has been the topic of countless articles, podcasts and books. And it appears that is for a very good reason. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can do everything from improving your health to actually making you happier. If you are thinking about incorporating a practice of gratitude into your life in the coming year, I have some tips that can help you make it happen.
In order to get started, and give yourself the best chance of sticking with it, you need to make a plan. Be as specific as possible. You could commit to writing three things you are grateful for each day or saying them aloud each night before bed. You could decide that you are going to send five thank you cards a month or mail letters to loved ones expressing your gratitude for them. Do what is meaningful to you. Whatever you decide, just make sure it is manageable and attainable.
Write down your goal somewhere that you can easily access it. I mean really put pen to paper. And if you want to be extra committed, take it a step further. If you plan to meditate about all the things you are grateful for on your commute to work, leave a sticky note on your dashboard. If you plan to recite a list before bed, set an alarm on your phone. Written or technological reminders will help you to stay on track and become the happy, healthy, grateful person you are meant to be!
It is called practice for a reason. There is going to be a day (or week) that you forget, you just don’t get to it or you are not feeling up to the idea of gratitude, sunshine and roses. Totally get it. That’s okay. The important thing is to stick with it. If you are forgetting, move the sticky note or set new reminders. Change your practice to a more convenient time. And try to challenge yourself to be grateful even on those crummy days. It may even make you feel better.
Periodically throughout the year, check in with yourself to see how you are doing with your practice. Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone. If you’ve abandoned it, use the reminder to get back on track. Remind yourself why you set this goal in the first place. Keep practicing! If you are crushing it, great job. Use this reminder as an opportunity to renew your focus and bring your practice to the next level.
You did it. You’ve met your goal. Congratulations! Time to take your practice to the next level. Hopefully you are feeling more grateful and fulfilled and can use this momentum to propel you towards continued improvement. Challenge yourself to take it up a notch. Really stretch. Again, what this looks like is specific to you and what your personal goals are. Keep expanding your gratitude practice and enjoy all of the incredible benefits that it will bring.