I've promised for some time I would share more about #365DaysofGratitude, something I've committed to do this year (along with #Blog452). These were 2 of the 5 goals I set for 2017 and so far, I'm happy to say its something I've stuck to doing every night. Yay to goal-setting AND actually executing as I recently shared in my 2017 Q1 check-in!
Over the Christmas holidays, I happened to stumble upon a Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my favourite books Big Magic & the well-known Eat, Pray, Love. She talked about what she called her 'Happiness Jar' and it sparked my interest to want to do something similar. The results from something so minimal, free and easy seemed so transformational. The concept is similar to what many authors suggest in keeping a 'gratitude journal' where you write down three things you are grateful for each day.
I know, a lot of people after reading something like this think:
- Its a nice thought but I don't really have the time;
- I would never stick to doing this everyday;
- Why would I write down what I'm happy/grateful for, seems pointless when I KNOW what I'm grateful for.
But for some reason, the idea stuck with me.
It was exactly the constant daily, habitual reminder I needed to appreciate the small things that make up each day that I've perhaps neglected over the years. I think its just human nature to worry more about the big ticket items of less trivial meaning and what went wrong/what could have been, rather than what is in our control that makes us happy in a day. That despite the fast-paced world we live in, cherishing the small details along the way is what gets us through life. That, and a positive attitude.
I liked Gilberts' way of putting one thought in a jar at the end of each day, because I would be able to visually see the results of sticking to it each day as the jar get fuller.
I also loved the simple fact of using bright coloured sticky notes to document my #365DaysofGratitude. Colourful sticky notes always = happiness! ;)
Writing down one simple thing I'm grateful for at the end of each day... or something that has made me laugh, appreciative, happy or feel fortunate for.... has been such a fun exercise since starting on January 1st.
On bad days when I've need the boost to see that 'this too shall pass,' the daily habit of reflection has provided the retrospect that was so needed in moments like those.
On the good days, it has made me love and appreciate these days even more.
And the best part about using a 'jar' is it feels a lot like the passage "my cup runneth over." Its only April and my jar is already filled, to the point that I may have just underestimated how committed I was going to be to this daily challenge, because I may have bought too small of a jar. A larger jar is an upgrade I am excited to invest in.
Not only has it changed my daily mindset of how to approach things differently in professional and personal settings, I really can't wait to get to the end of the year now so I can dump out all 365 gratitude notes on my coffee table and read them back to myself. Some I know I'm going to laugh at; others I will cry at for good reason; and I suspect that at the end of the year, I will know what areas of my life I'm routinely grateful for.
This has been one of those goals I've loved executing everyday that really, anyone that has access to pen, paper, a jar/box of some type and a commitment to do it everyday, can do.
It is a worthwhile #2017 goal that has had such a profound payoff.. and its only April!