Embracing gratitude to create more abundance and clarity in twenty-one days will require creating new habits, commitment and focus. Here are twenty-one ideas for maximising your efforts, to make your clutterfree lifestyle as joyful and stress-free as possible.
- Surround Yourself with Beauty
Look for ways to add visual beauty in your surroundings. Treat yourself to fresh flowers every week. Get rid of clutter. Find ways to incorporate images that bring you peace into every day items such as your coffee mug, your mouse you’re your pens, inspirational posters—even your yoga mat!
- Dress for Success
No, this doesn’t mean wearing a power-suit, or whatever is most fashionable in women’s business wear today. We’re talking specifically about Yoga clothing!
DO wear moisture-wicking, breathable clothes (PARTICULARLY sensible, cotton underwear—no lacy nylon); and if you wear shorts, make sure they are neither too tight/short, nor so loose that your mat-mates behind you get treated to more than they wanted to see!
Ditto tops. If you wear open back or loose tops, make sure that you have a well-fitting, no-nonsense Sports bra on underneath.
- Incorporate Color
Color has been shown to enhance mood … or knock it down. If you’re most comfortable hiding in a dark, dull colors, that’s okay … but now is your perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and wear gorgeous, rich and vibrant colors to boost your mood.
This is especially relevant to yoga clothing! Light colors or whites show up sweat—as do dull colors. Go neon, even. Rich magenta; energizing, jewel-toned turquoise; bright, playful purple; happy orange—whatever color speaks to you the most, dare to wear it. Embrace your joyful side.
And see where else in your life you can use color for mood-boosting and gratitude enhancement too.
- Practice Gratitude Waking and Falling Asleep
The quickest way to get into the habit of gratitude: Find three things to be grateful for, first thing in the morning—before even opening your eyes. And when your head hits the pillow, think of three things you were grateful for that happened during the day. (And feel free to add more, if you like!)
- Heal Relationships with Gratitude
No matter how angry you are with someone, don’t go to bed without thinking about, finding and telling them something you love about them.
- Find Small Things You Take for Granted
Sometimes the things we should be most grateful for, we miss. Instead, we take them for granted.
Looking for these small, over-looked details of our lives helps teach us to be more situationally aware, so that our appreciation for all the wonders of life naturally grows—including what is wonderful about others.
- Volunteer Your Time
Nothing helps us see our blessings more clearly than volunteering to help those who are in pain. Nothing helps us love others more than working with others for a common, positive goal.
You may already be donating money to do your part—and that’s wonderful. But volunteer your time too, and get out there in your community. When you help others, you quickly learn that you are the one blessed, with something to be grateful for, in the transaction.
- Be Grateful for Your Business
What happened today in your business or career that made you happy or made you feel enriched? Which client had a breakthrough or made you feel appreciated? Which team member came through for you, or caught a potentially costly mistake?
Don’t be one of the millions who gush about their personal lives and treat their business, clients and staff as part of the furniture. A little appreciation and gratitude go a long, long way to increasing our enjoyment of life in all its facets.
At the very least, finish with a message such as: “You’ve downloaded my nifty [XX ways to XX something”]. If you’ve found it useful, please share it with your peeps.” (Then include your SHARING BUTTONS.)
- Reframe Your Conversation
Ever catch yourself complaining about someone or something? Ever berate yourself with negative self-talk?
Don’t. No matter how justified the former might be, you hurt yourself when you fall into negative thoughts. If something is wrong, tell the person directly and do your best to resolve it. Don’t complain in a forum or gossip with your best friend.
As for negative self-talk, if you don’t talk kindly to yourself, you’ll find it much harder to love others.
- Forgive Yourself, as well as Others
Forgiveness is a wonderful healing tool, especially when you let go of old griefs and long-standing hurts. It often helps us more than it helps those we forgive. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. You can forgive someone, but not allow them repeat hurtful behavior. You can forgive someone, recognising they are stuck in a dark place, even when they are not sorry.
Forgiveness is liberating. It is an act; not a feeling … just as you are not your mistakes. You are a whole person who loves and evolves and grows. So, among all the other hurts and humiliations and mistakes you are forgiving, be sure to forgive yourself too.
- Write Thank You Letters
Think of people in your life who make your life better. Write them thank-you letters … even if you never send them.
Putting in words what you appreciate about the people in your life (past or present) is a wonderful way of creating neural pathways of gratitude in your brain.
- Say Your Own Grace
Even if you are not particularly religious, say a “Grace” when you put on a meal for family and friends. If you don’t want to say a prayer. Simply tell those at your table that you are grateful for each one of them, and
- Don’t just Say Thank You
‘Thank you’ is a beautiful phrase redolent of gratitude—yet when we say ‘thank you’ we often say it the way we say ‘how are you?”—without waiting for (or wanting) a real answer.
People say, “You’re welcome”, and they say it automatically too. So next time you need to say ‘thank you’ to someone, turn it into an opportunity for genuine gratitude. Acknowledge what you are thankful for and note any sacrifice that was made for your benefit. For example, “Thank you for working this weekend, Sarah. I know you were looking forward to going hiking, and I appreciate you giving up your time to help me get the launch ready when Jane called in sick.”
Not only will that person feel truly appreciated, but your mindful gratitude will warm your own heart too—and remind you how truly lucky you are.
- Re-read Old Journal Entries
Formalize this. Go back through your entries once a month, and again once a year. Make sure you include things you are grateful for every day in list form … so you can go back whenever you’re feeling down (or at those regular times we mentioned) to note and really count your blessings.
- Be in the Moment
Get into the habit of stopping yourself several times a day simply to notice what you are doing and how you are feeling. Notice the sun shining, if it’s a sunny day. Notice how clean and pretty your office looks, with your bouquet of fresh flowers. Notice that funny little drawing on your bulleting board that your six-year-old did for you. Say to yourself, “I am alive in this moment, and I am grateful for the gift of my life.”
- Be Specific
Take the time to detail the things you are grateful for. Get in the habit of being specific.
For example, don’t just say, “I am grateful for good food”. Really think about what you just ate (or are about to eat) and describe it to God or to your journal. It will have a much richer meaning for you, when you go through old journals, years from now. “I am grateful for Grandma’s hot, home-made biscuits and the way she loves to make them,” is far more meaningful than “Had good food today”. Re-reading your own words, you will recapture wonderful memories—sights, sounds, scents and faces—for years to come.
- Make Yourself a Gratitude Template
If certain things you’ve expressed gratitude for in your journal really resonate when you re-read them, use that comment as a template for the way you write down other expressions of gratitude.
In addition to what you are grateful for, also list things like:
- Why you are grateful
- How it makes you feel
(Note that journals you purchase often are set up like wonderful templates too!)
- Take the Time to Find the Right Journal
Not every journal works for every person—and if you go onto Amazon.com and search for “gratitude journals” or “daily journals”, you’ll find they can be as varied as snowflakes (and almost as prolific!)
Take the time to find a journal that works with your learning and communication style. If you’re a visual learner, find one with pictures or illustrations you find inspiring. If you are factual and left-brained, look for journals that provide lists. If you adore nature, choose a journal that contains images of beautiful places. And so forth.
Having just the right journal—one that you love to write in—increases the chances that you’ll stick to your 21-day commitment … and beyond.
- Keep it Short
With everything new you are doing, don’t be over-ambitious. Take a realistic look at yourself. If you’re someone whose only habit is not creating new habits and aborting challenges, then it is especially important to keep all your new methods and gratitude/mindfulness practices short.
Don’t force yourself to meditate for an hour, if you’ve never done it before, for example. Don’t make yourself run a mile if you get tired walking across the room. Don’t force yourself to write fifty things you’re grateful for—start out with a number you can easily achieve. (It should almost feel TOO easy!) Write down three things you are grateful for (not thirty). Do five minutes of meditation—not fifty.
Less is more, when you don’t mind doing it every single day.
- Write Testimonials
Write testimonials for everyone in your life. Note what they contribute to your well-being or business, personality traits you admire or enjoy and at least one detailed example of how they put their skills or values into practice.
Even if you don’t plan to share these ‘testimonials’ yet, you will affirm or re-affirm their value in your own eyes. And it will show up in your interactions—as well as being ready-at-hand should a former client or contractor ever ask you for an actual testimonial.
- Pass Your Gratitude On
Getting into the habit of passing on your gratitude—doing or saying things that show people how much you appreciate them, or sharing positive things that you are thankful for and love—can be catching. It can transform relationships, shift negative office atmospheres to positive ones and change lives—and businesses—for the better.
Gratitude has a habit of spilling over into every aspect of your life—especially when you honor your body and mind with exercise, good food, rest and mindfulness. It’s like sunshine on a dark day, when it is genuine and really lived.
And pretty soon you will find that people are grateful for you!
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