A Gratitude Challenge
I consider my Gratitude Journal to be my most powerful tool in life. Every morning I write down all the things I am grateful for. This simple act has had a stunning impact on my life.
After many years of doing gratitude journal and NOT having any significant changes in my life, I had a major epiphany.
Most people are introduced to the concept by being told, “Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day”. They do that and after six months they say, “Well, that’s very nice, but my life isn’t much different.” So they stop.
If I told you that you could get flat abs by doing 5 sit ups a day, you’d think I was crazy. Gratitude is the same way. You get flat abs by working at it constantly. You get an attitude of gratitude by working at it until it becomes second nature.
At first, I began every day with a list of 10 things. Nothing changed in my life. I was about to give it up when I had a small epiphany. I decided to write down anything that made me happy, that I loved, enjoyed or appreciated. I was easily filling my book with 20-30 things each day.
Then one day, I had a crazy thought. Could I find 100 things that I was grateful for? It seemed intimidating. I knew I would be struggling to list 100 things; I’d have to reach, stretch, hurt my little brain to do it…. I figured it was worth trying.
I was on fire for the first 50 items. The more I wrote down, the more passionate and excited I got… items were filling my head faster than I could write them down. I was on a total high.
Then I slowed down… and I had to really think about my world, the different parts of my world, the people I knew, the past I had, the decisions I made, the things I took for granted, the beautiful things that I never really “saw” until that day.
That was when I “got” it. Gratitude is about retraining your mind in how it experiences the world. If I hadn’t been challenged to find 100 things, I wouldn’t have been pushed to see how incredibly beautiful and wonderful my world truly was. I became grateful for things I hadn’t been acknowledging.
I felt amazing when I hit #100. The next day, I reflected on my challenge to find 100 things and I found myself asking whether I could do it again. I took my journal and once again, listed 100 more things I was grateful for.
This simple challenge changed how I saw my world. It sensitized me to the beauty and grace of everything around me. That is what shifted me into naturally finding gratitude in most everything I do and experience.
The result? When you are truly, deeply grateful, life gives you more to be grateful for. The key to having a life of wonder, ease and joy? Gratitude.