These days it’s certainly no secret as it’s been published fairly widely as a best practice by many coaches and thought leaders, it’s a gratitude list or gratitude journal. I use it and I coach my clients to use it as a daily leadership development ritual. This tool is a powerful and effective weapon to combat resistance of all kinds, frustration and bad moods that try to attack and immobilize us from becoming our best selves.
This week is Thanksgiving week, so it seems only fitting that I share some thoughts about both the gratitude list and my own personal gratitude list. Positive psychology research shows that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. This simple ritual helps you feel not only more positive but also improves health, adversity approaches and build stronger relationships.
Usually all it takes to become grateful is becoming stopped. That’s right, by simply pausing, getting quiet and re-directing our thinking, speaking and emotions toward a more positive direction. This tool, the gratitude is often the catalyst we need to re-direct ourselves because if done correctly, our gratitude list causes us to realize all the wonderful things in life we possess. Whatever you focus on becomes bigger to you. By flipping your focus away from the bad issue and re-applying your focus to your gratitude list, your gratitude items become the bigger, more important items to you. Whatever you give your energy to gets bigger!
I am not saying you need to begin to see the world with the proverbial silver lining. This world is not perfect, nor will it ever be in this life. At the same time, I promise your gratitude list will help you see the glass more half-full than half-empty.
My list is electronic and stored in the cloud because I want to access it at any moment. You may want to write out your list by hand if it makes it more meaningful to you. Mine was originally created by hand and I’ve added to it over the years electronically. Today, my gratitude list has over 250 items on it. Typically, I cannot review it past the 4th or 5th item without becoming very grateful, humble and happy. I update the list every few days and record the date I last updated it in the heading.
I’ve taken a moment to publish my first 10 items here for you:
My Gratitude List (11/20/18)
- My God Almighty and the Godhead (Father, Son Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit)
- My salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
- My wife, Ann Marie, my partner in life and in all that I do
- My dog friends, Oreo and Davey and the happiness they bring
- My Father and Mother, Dickie and Shirley who always did the best they could
- My brother and his family and all my wife’s family
- My inner circle of friends who love and trust me in all things
- My clients who believe in me
- My employees who diligently work alongside us
- My health and abilities that God continues to bless and empower daily
Although I won’t publish names of people here that I don’t have their permission, I have many names on my list, because I want to see them in my mind when I review my list. I think about how they have helped me and many of them bring an instant smile to my face as I am so thankful they are in my life or that I encountered or spent time with them at some point in my life. I have former coaches, colleagues, bosses, teachers, and speakers; some I have close relationships with and some I have never met, but they were influential and critical to my life and philosophy. There is one particular minister who changed my life completely whom I have never met personally but to whom I will be forever grateful.
I think you get the idea behind the gratitude list. This is the perfect week to build this powerful tool for yourself. Who knows? I might make your list simply by writing this week’s post for you about the gratitude list.
Remember, Thanksgiving is about thanks and giving. Be a grateful giver in all that you do!
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