Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cultivating Gratitude

I have a confession to make: if I meet you for the first time and I like you, I'm very likely trying to hack your habits.

As I work and work out, I constantly meet people who give me goosebumps. I'm amazed and inspired - by the work they do and by the people they are. I talk to them whenever I can, to learn about their life, their daily routines and their underlying attitudes.

So here's the secret - they're all strongly rooted in an attitude of gratitude. People have devoted their lives to the scientific study of gratitude and it's benefits - but this is what I figure.

Also - here's the good news. This special set of people didn't roll out at birth with a gratitude spoon in their mouth! An attitude of gratitude is a habit - and just like any other habit, all you need to do is practice it.

A daily practice that I've heard recommended most often is morning (and/or night) journaling. Writing down three things you're grateful for.

So, obviously, given that I know this, I've had a gratitude practice for years - right? Nope. Just started one last month. And here's why this took so long:
  • I tried to find the perfect platform: Buy this fancy journal? Or this app? Or...arghh!
  • I made the writing way too complicated

Finally (and we come to the point of this blog post) - this is what worked:
  • Pick the first note book that you find and make that your gratitude journal. If an app works better for you - do it. Personally, I find these few minutes of old fashioned, pen on paper action calming.
  • Keep the format simple: Here's what I write: "3 things I'm grateful for..." and "To win today, what do I need to do is..." (PS: Thanks Pat Flynn, for the questions)
  • Keep the journal out on your desk before you go to bed. I can't emphasize this enough. Make it the first thing you see in the am.

So that's it. Five minutes every morning and boom! - you're done. In that spirit of gratitude, thank YOU for spending time with me. Do you have a gratitude practice? We'd love to hear about it.

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