I have spent the past few weeks wishing my clients, colleagues and friends a Happy brand New Year. Because, that’s exactly the way I see it. To me, it’s like a perfectly clean, shiny new slate. Something that is so precious and new, you almost hesitate to write on it for the first time.
A new year provides an opportunity to set new benchmarks for ourselves and to bring into action things that we may have been thinking about doing for a while. It’s about momentum and energy. When the new year arrives, we normally think about things like getting back into an exercise routine, or eating healthy, or the one I struggle with the most– getting enough sleep! These are all great goals to set, all very important. But this New Year I am thinking more and more about mindset. Because how we think and feel about our lives, our work and our family are as important anything. Since the summer I have been connecting with a speaker named Steve Foranwho has based his entire professional consulting practice and speaking career on one simple word: Gratitude. The act of being grateful helps us see our situation in a way that can improve perspective, and can open up our thinking is so many ways. When we can see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck. The more I read about gratitude, the more I have learned that people aren’t hardwired to be grateful. And, like any skill worth having, gratitude requires practice.
I was struggling to establish my daily gratitude practice and Steve knew this. I started by trying to record daily ‘gratitudes’ on my iPhone. Then felt the need for a daily prompt, so I added it to my outlook calendar so I would get a reminder ‘ping’ each morning. None of these routines seems to stick. And then I received a small moleskin journal from Steve. He sent it to me in the mail just before Christmas. There was a quick note inside the cover that said the journal would really help me with my gratitude practice. He later explained that the act of putting pen to paper will have a much greater impact on actually ‘feeling’ gratitude and keeping a daily practice alive. After all, it’s nice to put away technology and pick up a good quality pen and jot down notes, thoughts and things to be thankful for. Gratitude strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and, in general, makes us happier. And being grateful doesn’t have to stay at home. Imagine what this mindset can do for companies!
Steve has been on the leading edge of gratitude-based research, writing, and teaching for more than fifteen years. His science-based program, Gratitude at Work, is an innovative approach to business growth. With programs like counting blessings, asking before assuming, thanking and not expecting, gratitude transforms business cultures into proud, positive, satisfying environments, where people are grateful, productive and ultimately at their best.
So as you think about some goals for this shiny brand new year, think about doing one small thing, like starting your own gratitude journal and reflecting on all those things we already have. This will help us achieve more of the things we don’t. How simple is that?