A Practice of Gratitude. Making Every Day Thanksgiving.

Gratitude flows strong on Thanksgiving Day.  Does it carry on any further for you?  After giving thanks for everything and everybody in your life one day, do you move on or do you continue the practice of gratitude?  I’d like to challenge you to keep the gratitude going throughout the year and give thanksgiving daily.

I spent many years looking forward and not looking back.  I was always on to the next “want” instead of being grateful for all I had achieved and had.  Satisfaction was seldom present in my life and I always had a feeling of needing more.  I had been blessed with a beautiful wife, two healthy and loving kids and a job that could provide for all of us.  I always had plenty to be grateful for, but it wasn’t often that I sat down and recognized it.

A little over a year ago, I started reading about being grateful and practicing an “attitude of gratitude”.  I had opened my mind up to change and being a better dad, and gratitude was a recurring theme in everything I was reading and hearing.  I decided to give it a try and I’m grateful for the change in attitude.

How to Start Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a simple exercise, but it produces great results.  How hard is it to take a few minutes out of the day and recognize a few things you’re grateful for?  Those few minutes can have a profound effect on your mindset and your day.  Here’s what has worked for me and I challenge you to begin a practice of gratitude.

  1. Buy a small notebook and get a comfortable writing pen.
  2. Determine a time each day to dedicate towards being grateful.
  3. Sit down with your notebook at that determined time and write down one thing your grateful for that day and one thing you’ll be grateful for in the future.
  4. Put your notebook down and move on with your day.

It’s that simple.  After you begin your practice, take a little extra time and visualize and feel what you’re writing.  For what you’re grateful for on that day, your mind will be ready to focus on it.  For what you’re grateful for in the future, your mind will be able to work towards.  Here’s a sample entry from my gratitude journal:

  • I’m grateful we had a great time at the football game yesterday.
  • I’m so happy and grateful for the opportunities I have in life and the fun I have with friends and family.
My actual journal. Pretty simple.

My actual journal. Pretty simple.

I always use “I’m so happy and grateful” for any of my future items or goals.  It helps to bring the feeling of the future to the present.

I’ve made my gratitude practice a part of my morning routine.  It’s as ingrained as brushing my teeth and taking a shower.  It’s a great start to the day and helps to keep me present in dealing with friends, family and coworkers.  I can always reflect and be grateful instead of looking ahead and wanting.

Practicing Gratitude With Your Family

Carry your gratitude practice to your entire family.  Find time to share what you’re grateful for with your family and ask them to share as well.  I share each morning with whichever child I’m taking to school that day.  I give them two things I’m grateful for and they give me two back.  I’ve also challenged my wife to do the same with whichever child she’s taking to school.  Another great time to practice gratitude with your family is around the dinner table.  While everyone is eating, just go around the table and share what you’re grateful for from the day.

Start your practice for gratitude today.  Go out and buy a notebook, gratitude journal or even use an app on your phone.  Here are a few links to help get you started.  Don’t hesitate.  The few minutes you place on gratitude will payoff in hours throughout the day.  Please share this with others if you think it can help.

Resource Links

Gratitude Journals

Gratitude Apps (These two links will take you to reference articles.)