Back in January, I shared in my blog that my word for 2022 is GRATITUDE. I explained that:
Each year, I choose a Word for the Year. Something to guide my thoughts and attitude, and hopefully create new habits. This year’s word: Gratitude.
If you are like me, and if you peruse some of the self-help hippy-dippy web sites and magazines that I peruse, you’ve probably heard plenty about “The Power of Gratitude!” and “Keeping a Gratitude Journal will Change Your Life!” and so on and so forth. And, if you are as naturally cynical as I, you’ve probably thought: “Yeah, so maybe I’ll feel better for 10 minutes, but how can it really make a difference?”
For the past six months or so, I’ve been writing gratitude lists in my journal. Every day (OK, well, almost every day!), I write down three things for which I am grateful. I try to get specific. For example, I don’t write “I’m grateful for my home.” Instead, I’ll write something like “I am grateful that my home has a fireplace, and that I’ve put up twinkle lights and lit candles, so it feels extra cozy and warm on a gray and snowy day.”
I can report back as follows: It works. GRATITUDE WORKS. Having a regular gratitude habit has shifted my perspective even when I am not writing in my journal…
To show you what my gratitude practice looks like, and to stay accountable and encourage myself to continue my daily moments of reflection and being grateful, I thought I’d give you a peek at some of my gratitude pages in my journal. Of course, I’ve blurred out the actual writing! But you’ll see how much I write, and you’ll also see how I have integrated one of my hobbies, artful lettering, into this practice.
Do you need to write “Gratitude” in a fancy or fun way in order to maintain a gratitude practice? Of course not! I do it because I enjoy lettering, and when I take a few minutes to carefully construct the word Gratitude, it gives me some moments of pause and reflection. I can focus on the notion of gratitude in a different, nonverbal way. It helps me set my intentions.
Of all of the images above, the one I really want to draw your attention to is the one on the bottom right, where the page looks half full. This is a page that I created today, and it represents just ONE day of gratitude. Yes, I can fill up nearly half a page with the three things I am grateful for on one day! As I described in my earlier blog post, I don’t just list three things in quick succession; I really dig in to describe three things each day, what they mean to me, why I am grateful for them, etc. By really focusing on both the “what” and the “why,” I make sure that I’m not just dashing off three things to check them off my list. I am mindful and intentional with my gratitude.
Again, you don’t have to make your pages look pretty. That’s my way, but it doesn’t have to be yours. If you like the idea of making your gratitude musings look good, you could write with a Sharpie over interesting magazine pages, use colorful pens, try out the graphic design options on your computer, and more. But, really, that’s just window dressing. It’s the content, and the intention, that matters.
Gratitude has changed me. It has changed my attitude, my sense of perspective, and my overall mood. Do you have a daily gratitude practice? What does it look like for you?
Don’t miss out on new ideas and great tips on fundraising, leadership, writing, philanthropy, and lots of related topics. Join the PITCH list to get Lauren’s monthly newsletter delivered straight to your inbox, and get a free gift when you sign up!