Attitude of Gratitude, Part Three: The Practice
Okay, okay, okay, so we know we're supposed to give thanks and be grateful and all that, but how do we do that when it seems like life is too crazy busy and full of hard things?
CREATE A HABIT
Everything becomes easier once it's a habit. If you don't have to think about doing it, it's more likely to get done.
It's hard to start new things, but once we create habits around them, we do them more consistently. Think about all the people who try to start working out at the beginning of the year. Because it's a new thing for them, it's hard to get out of bed and pick up the weights or go for a run. But for those who have been doing it for years, it's not so hard. It's normal for them. It would feel strange and like something was missing if they didn't get up to exercise.
CONNECT IT TO SOMETHING ELSE
Think about it. When was the last time you forgot to put your pajamas on before going to bed or put the carton of milk back in the fridge after pouring it over your cereal? Those activities are connected to other activities, so you don't even have to think about doing them.
What can you connect a practice of gratitude to? Do you go for a walk regularly? Maybe you could think about what you're grateful for when you're walking. Or perhaps you could incorporate it into your morning or evening routine somewhere.
WRITE IT DOWN
One great habit to increase the frequency of our gratitude is to write down what we're grateful for. I've been so much more grateful since I started writing down things I'm thankful for in my bullet journal. I have a few pages dedicated to the practice, and seeing the list grow inspires me to keep going with it.
There's something almost magical about writing things down. The act of writing them down makes them more memorable; we actually commit them to memory better that way.
And when we have a list that we can look back on later, we're reminded that there is good in the world, even when it seems like there is only chaos.
TALK ABOUT IT
Another form of accountability and a way to create greater consistency is to challenge yourself to post on social media. I am in the middle of my own personal Attitude of Gratitude Challenge. I'm recording Facebook Live videos daily and sharing photos on Instagram to share what I'm thankful for, and that simple practice has forced me to think much more about what I'm thankful for and why.
I also love talking to others about what I'm grateful for and what they're grateful for. I still remember sitting with former roommates a year ago and sharing three things we were all grateful for each night that we were together. It was a practice I was new to, but it was such a sweet time together as we literally counted our blessings. My family also goes around the table on Thanksgiving to share what we're thankful for, and I love hearing from each and every one!
Do you have a practice of giving thanks regularly? What helps you stay consistent? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!