A few months ago I started looking for the *perfect* card to customize and send to my clients and contacts around Thanksgiving. And although I had plenty of time to get it ordered, through a misunderstanding on my part, they did not arrive before Thanksgiving.
Well, crap, I thought. I guess that will be a waste. Who talks about gratitude after Thanksgiving?
Umm…gut check, Dear Coach: YOU DO.
You talk about gratitude all year long. You build gratitude into your self-care circle and nearly every coaching session.
Oh, yeah. 🙂
It is easy to think of gratitude as a seasonal activity, but if you want to transform your life, gratitude is an important practice to build into your daily habits. In fact, it can be of the easiest and most powerful ways to shift from moving through life in a “never-enough” attitude to a mindset that is tuned-into the present and aware of what is going well.
After all, as the famous quote from Lynne Twist says, “What you appreciate, appreciates.”
Here are 8 ways to MAINTAIN your gratitude practice, after the Thanksgiving holiday is done:
1. keep a daily gratitude journal. Dedicate a journal (electronic or written) to write down 3-5 people, experiences, places, items, ideas… (whatever!) that you are grateful for. I’ve found this to be the most common way people think of a gratitude practice. It can be really rewarding to build the habit and look back at the themes of your appreciation.
2. make a cumulative gratitude list. Similar to the daily gratitude journal, you write down what you are grateful for. The difference is that you are adding to it each day (trying not to duplicate). This is a great challenge for someone who notices that their daily gratitude practice is on repeat. (Can you get to 100? 1000?)
3. bring gratitude into your prayer or meditation. Devote your thoughts and intentions during your prayer or meditation towards gratitude and appreciation for your life. Apps like Calm and Headspace have guided meditations on many topics, including gratitude, to guide you.
4. create a gratitude jar. Write your messages of gratitude on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar you can display somewhere. (Warning: if you have children involved, they may have great fun hiding messages filled with potty humor or silly sketches….and you can be grateful for that, too.)
5. start a gratitude conversation. I know many people that have a “check-in” question with their partner, kids or friends. “How was your day?” or “What was your high and low today?” Follow up these questions with an invitation to express gratitude, such as “what are you thankful for today?” Modeling to others that we can (and should) articulate gratitude is a lovely habit to build with your people.
6. put gratitude on the agenda. Could you make appreciation a part of your meeting agenda? Can you acknowledge a person or team not just for an accomplishment, but for who they are and how they operate? This is a powerful practice that can transform groups, teams, and organizations from competition to cooperation. This style of leadership is empowering.
7. be direct. Write a letter, send a card, send a text, make a phone call, meet up…connect with people that you are grateful for and tell them so directly. This is an incredibly powerful way to strengthen bonds between the people whose presence and actions have profoundly impacted our lives. A few years ago I wrote a letter every day to someone that I was grateful to have had in my life, and I told them why. This was a big undertaking, but it was so rewarding.
8. make it social. Expressing your gratitude through your social media channels can have the added bonus of feedback and helping us keep momentum. (Note: not everything we are grateful for is a comfortable topic for social media. I encourage you to have a private outlet, too.)
Do you have a gratitude practice that you love? Does one of these ideas really resonate with you? Reply to this note, or post a comment on the blog and tell me about it. I love learning from you, too.
With gratitude for you,