Thanksgiving came and went. We all said our thanks and then moved on to prepare for the next round of holidays – Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Day. Yet, wouldn’t it be great if we embraced the spirit of giving thanks all year long?
Many of us take time in December to review goals and make plans for the coming year. That’s an important part of achieving success. At the same time, let’s plan to take a moment every day to reflect on our efforts and give thanks for what we’ve experienced.
A few years ago, I read a slim memoir by John Kralik, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. The premise was simple. Kralik was facing the end of a terrible year and bleak picture of his life – a failing business, two divorces, distant relationships with his adult children, health issues due to being 40 pounds overweight. He knew something needed to change, but he didn’t have the wherewithal to take on anything big.
Inspired by a simple thank you note he received in the mail, Kralik committed to a simple experiment. He would write one thank you each day in the coming year.
He began by writing thank yous for Christmas gifts he’d received. Easy enough. As the year progressed, however, he struggled to find something daily for which he could be thankful. He had to dig deep. He wrote a note of gratitude to a client who paid her bill on time. He penned a thank you to the barista who greeted him with a smile. He sent a note to a friend who met him for a Friday lunch after a hard week. Kralik realized over time that thinking about small blessings each day improved his attitude and made life’s challenges easier to overcome. His life improved in ways he never expected.
The connection between gratitude and success has been touted by many – from John F. Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey to Charles Schwab and Willie Nelson. It’s something we all can embrace.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude,” said Brian Tracy, international entrepreneur and best-selling author, “and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”