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Sometimes, the corniest things in life are the most worthwhile. My new habit is one of those things, and it’s a simple way to change your life forever.
It starts with the word “grateful”, which Google defines as “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.” My parents taught me to say “please” and “thank you” to others, but the habit of saying it to the world was something I learned all on my own.
It started with this: Each day, I jot down three things I’m grateful for.
I try to remember every day, but it doesn’t always happen. When I do forget, I don’t get mad at myself. When I remember, though, I’m transported to a place of wonder, like watching a video of your childhood from a place of love and laughter. To be grateful is to be intoxicatingly fulfilled.
It’s a simple practice, and one that doesn’t take much time. To show you an example, here’s what I jotted down one day a few months ago:
March 30th, 2013
- The fact that JJ and I are sore from a workout we conquered together
- The bowl of fruits I just enjoyed
- The sun beating down outside
Let’s face it. That’s kind of corny. Just sharing that with all of you makes me feel a bit icky inside, but it’s worth it, and I’ll tell you why.
The simple practice of learning to be grateful has caused important changes in my life for two reasons:
- Life goes too fast. We all wish time would slow down. We need more time to savor each moment a little longer.
- The human mind isn’t trained for the present. Noticing what’s around us feels wonderful, but we rarely do it because our brains are hard-wired to prepare us for the future, instead.
So, how did I get started?
Like any new habit, starting out isn’t easy. To soften the blow, I started small.
My daily task consists of only two steps:
- Pull out my iPhone.
- Jot down the date and three things I’m grateful for.
Sounds easy, right? That’s because I designed it that way.
I purposefully kept my list to three so that I’d never be too lazy or intimidated to start. If I had aimed for a list of ten items per day, chances are I would’ve failed. Three is a great number to start with. It’s also an easy number to come up with. Many times, I go over my scheduled list of three because I keep thinking of wonderful things and moments I’m grateful for, and I end up with five or six.
Sometimes, the items on my list are silly — like our puppy’s funny new haircut. Other times, the items on my list are meaningful — like my struggle to make some progress on my upcoming book. All of them, though, are amazing and hilarious and wonderful. Wrap all of them together, and you get me.
I look back on my past lists with such joy. Just reading my past entries and all the moments I’ve felt grateful for makes me smile deep inside my heart.
Is that even possible?
Can a heart smile? If you learn to be grateful, you’ll know the answer.
Building great habits has helped me lead a life of happiness and fulfillment. This habit included!
I want to hear from you:
Could you try being grateful for a few things each day?
Are there things you’ve been griping about that you could be grateful for instead?
Is all this gratefulness talk too corny for you? Why is that?
Leave your thoughts on this and your stories in the comments.
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PS. If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy my book Life Is What I Say It Is. I cover topics that will help you gain freedom and contentment.