November and The Illusion of Gratitude

How seriously do you take being grateful and/or having a heart of gratitude? Is gratitude something you practice daily or just in November around Thanksgiving? How much better could our lives be if we practice gratitude daily? Not just during November challenges, but every day.

This time of year gratitude seems like an illusion. Everyone is “grateful” and posting about it on social media. Guilty! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a good gratitude challenge or gratitude BINGO. In fact, I created my own version here. I’ll do just about anything to help others see how much they have to be grateful for. There is always someone who has more challenging circumstances than me.

What Gratitude Means

Practicing gratitude regularly is something I started about 3 years ago. It was right around the time our school adopted Steven Covey’s Leader In Me program for schools. The very first habit is to be proactive. I am in charge of me. You are in charge of you. I could either get my attitude straight or live in the land of lost positivity and the complaint capital of the world. I have worked in public education long enough to know 1) there can be an excuse for everything 2) there is plenty of blame to go around and 3) the principal doesn’t always hear the good news first.

There is always, ALWAYS, something to be thankful for.

-Me

I share my gratitude journal, and what gratitude means to me, on social media all the time. It’s that powerful for me. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis has changed my life. I was going through some rough patches in life. (Those of you who know my story know “rough” is an understatement.)  Challenges kept coming like waves. Once we got past one event, the next wave came and knocked us down. We’d get past that event and another wave would hit. Eventually, the waves quit coming. There is a lot of life left and more waves will come. I really think my gratitude journal has helped me get back up and will help me with future waves of stress. Maybe a gratitude journal can help you navigate the rough waters? 

Here’s how it works:

There is a little daily planner from Happy Planner next to my coffee maker. There are actually two daily planners now because I have recently incorporated positive affirmations. But that’s for another post. Every morning when I make my coffee (true confessions …when I load the Keurig) I write down three things I am grateful for.  I do not write down God, family, friends, etc. and the most obvious things. Those are just, well, obvious. I write little things from the day before or something coming up the current day that I am thankful for.

Examples from Gratitude Journal:

October 28th: (1st night of P/T conferences)

  • My neighbors
  • Take out food
  • Coffee

October 29th: (2nd night of P/T conferences. My garage door came down on me yesterday and my neighbor helped secure it until it could be fixed. Like legit fell ON ME. My expletives did not express gratitude I can assure you.)

  • Old friends
  • Garage door company
  • Tylenol (Do not try to catch a falling garage door.)

Every day. This is what I do every day. Life. Changing.

Ideas for you to get started:

  • What do you do every day for about a minute that would “trigger” your habit of being grateful? You don’t even have to write it down to start with. Just think it or say it out loud.
  • What about putting some paper in the bathroom so when you get ready in the morning you can jot them down?
  • Before bed when you are in the kitchen cleaning up for the night and preparing for the next day?
  • As soon as you get to work and get settled?

If you made it this far, I am thankful for you! LOL! Seriously, if this message helps literally one person find the light again it is a day well spent at the library blogging. Okay, seriously this better help more than one person! 

Did you pick up a copy of Lead With Appreciation yet?