Gratitude has had a powerful impact on my life, transforming my perspective in surprising ways. I am especially surprised and delighted by one bonus in particular.
For the past four years, I’ve consciously recorded my gratitude. Instead of keeping a traditional gratitude journal, I aimed for simplicity to find success – a “gratitude record,” if you will.
Using my planner as a journal, and at least once a week, I recorded current happenings in my life that cultivated a spirit of gratitude for me. I recorded things big and small, things related and unrelated to me. And I kept my promise to myself to always make time – even a minute – to create an entry.
At the beginning of this journey, my intention was simple: to enhance my mindset and cultivate a more positive outlook when things went wrong. As an anxious person, I wanted to train myself to be present to the blessings and joys, no matter how small, that surrounded me each day. Little did I know that this practice would have a profound impact on my relationship with myself.
You see, I’ve always possessed an inherent ability to find the silver linings in any situation. Expressing gratitude for the good things in life came naturally to me. But where I fell short was in extending that same gratitude towards myself – in recognizing my own worth and embracing self-compassion.
Through the act of keeping track of my thankfulness, I have been able to document my personal growth journey. It has become a tangible record of the progress I’ve made and the positive changes I’ve experienced. It’s as if each entry in my gratitude log serves as a reminder of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned along the way. Even the nature of “what I am thankful for” has evolved into a true picture of what matters most to me. It affirms the alignment of my actions with the vision of who I want to be.
But what’s even more powerful is how this practice has transformed my inner dialogue and thoughts about myself. I used to be my own harshest critic, (still in progress) constantly putting myself down and dwelling on my flaws and mistakes. However, as I began to actively practice gratitude, something shifted in my conversations with myself.
With each expression of gratitude, I started to acknowledge not only the external blessings in my life, but also the internal qualities and strengths that make me who I am. (Even reading this back as I edit makes me smile.) I began to appreciate my unique talents, my resilience in times of adversity, and my capacity for love and kindness. Through gratitude, I learned to recognize and celebrate my self-worth.
This shift in perception has had a profound impact on my overall well-being. I’ve become more compassionate towards myself, offering the same kindness and understanding that I would extend to a loved one. I’ve learned to silence my inner critic and replace negative self-talk with words of gratitude and affirmation. I’ve discovered the power of self-love and its ability to fuel personal growth and positive change.
So, if you’re like me and have never struggled with finding gratitude externally, but find it challenging to extend that same gratitude inward, I urge you to give this practice a try. Embrace the habit of keeping track of your thankfulness, not just as a way to enhance your mindset and outlook, but as a means to cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself.
Allow gratitude to guide you on a journey of self-discovery and self-appreciation. Use it as a tool to document your personal growth and celebrate the unique qualities that make you who you are. Embrace the transformative power of gratitude, and watch as it becomes a catalyst for positive change, not just in your outlook on life, but also in the way you perceive and value yourself.
CHALLENGE: Try keeping a Gratitude Record through December. Keep it simple to aim for success!
Yours in the journey,
Some prompts to help you start:
Check-In at the end of each month or each week: This month/week, I am proud of accomplishing …….., I am grateful for ………., my mantra was ……, my mantra for next month is……., one habit I cultivated this month was …….., one thing I can improve upon next month is ……
Change of season: What does this season mean for me? What has shifted over the past season? What challenges have I faced? What do I want to appreciate this season? What do I want to release this season?
Happiness + Joy: What gives me joy? What do I feel confident in? What would I get excited to teach someone else? What comes naturally to me? What would be interesting to practice? What helps me feel more calm or centered? What do I need help with and who can I ask? How can I bring more peace into my daily routine?
Create a list:
1 SKILL I am grateful for
1 SONG I am grateful for
1 PLACE I am grateful for
1 PERSON I am grateful for
1 MEMORY I am grateful for
1 EXPERIENCE I am grateful for
1 SELF-CARE ACT I am grateful for
A few more:
What fears am I determined to overcome?
What do I appreciate about my current stage of life?
What’s one adventurous experience I want to have within the next year?
What passions or dreams have I put on hold? And why?
What am I learning from a challenge I am currently facing?
How do I want to invest in my personal growth this year?
Which ones sound best to you? Share others you have used in the comments!