A Gratitude Challenge
I consider my Gratitude Journal to be my most powerful tool in life. Each morning begins with writing down all the things I am grateful for. This simple act has had a stunning impact on my life today, but it wasn’t always this way.
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 stretch hard to do it…. But I felt inspired to give it a shot.
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 decisions I made, the experiences that shaped me, the things I took for granted. All 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. And with 20/20 hindsight, I was finding gratitude in things that seemed dismal at the time.
I felt amazing when I hit #100. The next day, I reflected on this challenge and I found myself wondering whether I could do it again. I took my journal and once again, listed 100 more things I was grateful for. As before, I struggled to fill a list of 100 items. It forced me to take an even deeper look at all areas of my world
This simple challenge changed how I saw my world. It sensitized me to the beauty and grace of everything around me. It made me aware of all the phenomenal things in my world that I had taken for granted. This simple exercise is exactly what created the stunning impact on my life today.
Need some ideas on things to be grateful for to help you get started?