Accentuate the Positive: Motivate Yourself with an Attitude of Gratitude
"When flowing water meets with obstacles on its path, a blockage in its journey, it pauses. It increases in volume and strength, filling up in front of the obstacle and eventually spilling past it...." - I Ching
So often when we think about our lives, most of us tend to look either back at the past and its accomplishments and failures or we look forward to what we will start doing or stop doing in the future. Although it is not necessarily a bad habit to review goals met or not met and formulate goals to work toward and attain, I want to suggest that you also take the time to look at the present moment and concentrate on all the things in your life, right now, for which you are grateful.
Concentrate deeply on those feelings of gratitude and think of as many people, places, things, experiences, etc. that you appreciate, that have made your life better and more enjoyable, that have taught you important lessons, etc. Allow yourself to be filled up with your emotions of gratitude and notice how your energy shifts ever further toward greatness.
This is a wonderfully uplifting and often enlightening exercise that I regularly use with clients in December as a great way to complete one year and kick-off the next. I make a gratitude list for myself that I share with my family for the new year and we all celebrate all the things we are grateful for together.
I further recommend that you take up this habit as an everyday practice. Start a gratitude journal to have a record of all the wonderful things that come your way. The benefits of experiencing gratitude and being consciously aware of the things in your life for which you are grateful include a more focused view of your own priorities and values, increased optimism, greater awareness of just how wonderful your life is - and if it isn't then the benefit can be the push you've been waiting for to make changes - and a lighter spirit overall. All this is worth a few minutes each day, either in the morning when you get up or at the end of the day, to pause and consider all the events, people, environments, experiences, etc., that make your world better.
Perhaps you are grateful for a strong relationship with family or your significant other, for the job you love, a beautiful home, the view out your kitchen window, the way your Mom cooks, the way your child smiles, your vocabulary, the way you look in your jeans, blueberry muffins, fresh scones on Sunday mornings, the geographical area in which you live, that you live near the ocean, anything big or tiny in your life that makes you glad to be you right now, today.
So, my challenge for you is, rather than wait for midnight of December 31st, begin now to take a few minutes each day to review in writing everything, great and small, that you are grateful for having in your life. Buy a notebook or journal to use solely for keeping a gratitude record. On difficult days, reading this record is a great “pick me up.”