[Money Mondays - 21 Ways to Express Gratitude in January] – The Next Six Ideas (#13-18)

Embracing gratitude to create more abundance and clarity in January will require creating new habits, commitment, and focus.

Here are the next six ideas for maximizing your efforts, to make your new lifestyle as joyful and stress-free as possible. 

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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 bulletin 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.”

16. 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.

17. 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!)

18. 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.  

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!

Kae Wagner

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