I am not the first coach or personal development advocate to recommend a daily practice of gratitude. If you scroll social sites you’ll see memes and posts encouraging you to practice gratitude. Today, the Hollis company launched the #next90challenge and gratitude is one of Rachel’s five to thrive.
I’ve been on a journey to practice gratitude since 2018. Thanks to the gals at You’ve Got This, I won a gratitude journal in an instagram giveaway. My first gratitude journal entry was on July 14, 2018. On that Saturday morning, I logged how thankful I was for my workout, that my husband grocery shopped and planned dinner (hint, hint) and my confident mindset that took time to develop (I wonder what my old self would think of me now?!). I didn’t write in my journal again until August 3rd and including that entry logged gratitude four times that month. My beginning of this practice was inconsistent at best with one entry in September and another again in November. It became clear that my desire to be more grateful was not enough to consistently practice gratitude. Even though I knew all of the benefits thanks to the posts I mentioned above and wanted all the warm fuzzy feelings from living a more grateful life, I needed to set my environment up for success. Here is a hint…if you want to do something consistently consider creating a habit. Habits outperform desire.
As a goal achievement coach, I did what I know how to do best…I set a goal. I set a goal in 2019 to fill up my gratitude journal and set a daily reminder on my phone to fulfill the promise to myself to practice gratitude. This intentional approach and reminder system worked for me and now the practice of gratitude feels routine. Want to read more about a morning routine?
I was reminded of the significance of gratitude last week when I was preparing for a power women’s coffee & conversation webinar. My co-host asked me to email her my top 3 tips. The first tip I shared…practice gratitude. As I shared this tip on the webinar I outline three reasons to practice gratitude.
With the practice of gratitude everything changes, yet nothing changes!Kristin Burke
As my gratitude habit emerged, I noticed feeling different about a lot of things in my life. I was still married (and still am) to the same man, living in the same city, raising the same daughter and working the same job (well a lot changed about my work but more on that later). Even though the physical things and places didn’t change, my perspective changed dramatically. Sometimes we need to look within ourselves for a positive change instead of looking for things externally to change.
The practice of gratitude only took a few minutes in the morning, but I carried the benefits with me throughout the day. I started to appreciate the smaller things in life more and more. Coffee tasted sweeter, a call with a friend was more meaningful, workouts were not dreadful and snuggling on the couch reading with my daughter was the highlight of my day. I found myself reflecting on situations and experiences throughout the day making mental notes to log them in my journal later. On those nights, when my head hit the pillow and I felt overwhelmed with anxiety I re-called what I was grateful for to ease my mind.
When I set out on my gratitude journey I had no idea I would learn so much about myself. Yes, I expected an increase in happiness due to my new thankful approach to life, but I never realized I would create a written record of my priorities. My journal was not only helpful in keeping me accountable to appreciating the small things, but it was a huge resource when faced with a life-changing decision. It’s time to expand on the change in work I mentioned above. I went into 2019 with the objective to advance professionally. I came to a point in my corporate career when I could no longer silence the voice inside my heart to start my own business. I was able to read through my gratitude journal to align my head with my heart. My journal outlined the life I wanted to live. By reading and reflecting on months of data, I knew I was not making an emotional decision. I was making a decision that truly aligned with my priorities (the people and experiences I wrote about most frequently). So it turns out that my gratitude journal was right all along…”good days start with gratitude.”