T h e S T R E A M :
Rediscover the Little Things:
A Guide to Gratitude in the New Year
Acknowledge the good
With the hectic holiday season behind us, we are taking a break from the chaos, breathing deep, and reflecting on the past year.
Resolutions are great, but a long list of things to change can be hard to stick to, and is quite frustrating when they don’t all work out. We encourage you to keep your list simple with one goal: Acknowledge the good.
Take these four simple steps to a more grateful (and joyous) you in the New Year!
Speaker, trainer, and coach Jill Ann Anderson says gratitude will never judge you for starting small. “If all you can come up with is one word, then just start there,” she says.
She suggests keeping it simple, but staying consistent. “Once you get your mind in the flow of gratitude, more will come to you.”
While being grateful for family and friends is definitely important, stretch yourself to look beyond the ordinary. For example, “I’m grateful for five minutes of solitude in the midst of a full day,” or “My husband filled up my car with gas, saving me time this morning.”
Keep this exercise light and fun by noticing new and unexpected gestures as each day unfolds. You will be shocked to see exactly how much there is to be thankful for throughout each day, much of which would go unrecognized without this habit.
Set a daily reminder on your smartphone with a simple prompt like, “What are you grateful for right now?” Even in the midst of a busy day, Anderson says there’s always time to consider gratitude.
“Talk with your kids in the car while you’re driving to soccer practice,” she says. “It opens up this energy of gratitude in your life.” This will also encourage your friends and family to get involved in thinking about what they are thankful for as well.
Write it down
Whether it’s a journal by your bedside or a gratitude jar on your kitchen counter, write it down. A simple action such as this makes the process both tactile and visual, making it easier to remember.
Spend a moment at the end of your day reflecting on what made you smile. On New Year’s Eve of the following year, read through your journal or empty your jar and review what you wrote. Smile and laugh and get ready to do it all again.
66 days to a new habit
Kate Walsh Soucheray, licensed marriage and family therapist, says it takes 66 days for the brain to learn a new habit. So start today to get the most out of your year!
“When we are grateful and move in a positive direction, that thinking creates new pathways that allow us to let go of negative thoughts,” Soucheray says. “As we do that, we literally create new neuro-pathways that lead to and nurture more positive thinking.”