When I first started running my programme there was always the same homework that we asked people to do between days two and three – a gap of about two weeks. We asked them to write down a list of 50 things that they were grateful for – every day. Yes, every day! You can imagine the typical reaction, “50 things every day, you have to be joking!”, “can it be the same things each day?”, “but I won’t be able to find 10 let alone 50” ………… and so on.
I know that it is too easy to go through life taking all the wonderful things that we have in our life for granted and to end up putting all our attention on the things that are going wrong, irritating us or just driving us mad – well, it can be for me! When ‘The Secret’ written by Rhonda Byrne first came out it was a really good reminder and I clearly remember her saying that if there was only one thing that you were going to do, start a gratitude book. So, I do it – most of the time. It is a part of my life that keeps me on track and the more I remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life the better my life is.
The last few months have been really challenging for me – a family issue with one of my children. I found myself in a position where all of my attention was going there, very negative attention, and one would certainly say, deservedly so. Guess what went out of the window – my gratitude book! Rather than keeping it up and directing my thoughts on all my other fabulous children and grandchildren I allowed myself to go in a downward spiral of worry, hurt and unhappiness. Despite everything I know and teach I found myself on the slippery slope of forgetting it all.
So, gratitude book back to the fore – daily! There is no question in my mind that what you put your attention on expands and what you take your attention away from withers and dies. I truly believe that by changing your thinking you can change your life and having a habit of a gratitude book really does powerfully impact the way your life unfolds. For me it is remembering the little things that I can so easily take for granted – a great night’s sleep in a really comfortable bed, a hot shower, an easy drive to a client meeting, a dramatic sky as the dawn breaks, a car that is comfortable and never let’s me down, an unexpected little gift from my eldest daughter and so many, many other little things that happen each and every day.
When I keep this habit up there is absolutely no question – I create a better day, a better week and a rosier future and above all, I am so much happier. I would recommend it to everyone and starting it young. When you kiss your children goodnight ask them “tell me three things that went well for you today?” If they know you are always going to ask them that they will start to think of them earlier in the day so they can proudly tell you – and – guess what? You will be setting them up to create a great life!