With Thanksgiving being this week, I’ve had the word “gratitude” on my mind quite a bit more than usual…
Not going to lie, I used to be the type of person who only gave thanks on Thanksgiving Day because, well, that’s what everyone else did. What I didn’t realize was that giving thanks everyone single day is not only necessary but the actual KEY to unlocking a happy, fulfilling life!
After being unhappy for many years, I decided at the beginning of 2019 that it was time for me to take control of my life. I began reading numerous self-help books (here’s my reading list from 2019 if you’re interested in checking it out) as well as listening to many different self-help podcasts and TED Talks. One common theme of just about every singe influential, self-help guru was their emphasis on the importance of practicing gratitude on a daily basis.
After hearing the same thing from multiple people, I decided that it was worth a shot to try to get into the habit of this daily practice. I mean, what did I have to lose? I grabbed one of the empty notebooks that I had laying around and dubbed it my “Gratitude Journal”. I placed it on top of my nightstand and set a goal to write down five things that I was grateful for before going to sleep. Each night, I would start by writing the date at the top right corner then numbering the items as I went until I reached five total for the day.
At first, the habit was a bit hard to get into and felt a little awkward. Sometimes I went to bed and forgot to jot anything down so there are definitely some random dates missing in those pages. I recently looked back on some of my first entries and saw that I started out by writing down things like “chocolate, the sun, my friends, my apartment”, just to name a few. All of this is totally okay and actually very important when starting something new! You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow and that’s exactly what starting this practice did for me.
As time went on, I began to really grasp the concept of being grateful and started getting more specific about each thing on my list. The biggest misconception that most people have is that big things make us happy – but it’s actually a combination of all of the little things! Each day, my daily gratitude items became more and more specific, helping me to really appreciate all of the small things that life gives me on a daily basis. One of my recent entries has “cooking a new, delicious vegan recipe tonight with my boyfriend for a date night together”. Talk about progress, eh?
I owe much of my current joy to this simple practice. My hope for you is that you’ll take a leap and start a Gratitude Journal for yourself! Because while it’s important to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day, it’s even more important to give thanks every other day of the year too.