Great Habit – Build on Thanksgiving!


It’s hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving – for me at least, 2011 has gone by in a blur (…time flies when you’re having fun?)!  Thanksgiving is always a great reminder to take a little time for yourself and think about what you’re grateful for.  Even better – use the time for reflection and start a new habit of appreciation that you can carry throughout the year.

I first thought about doing a straight list of things I’m thankful for, but Jason over at Blue Gurus beat me to the punch with his 10 Things We’re Thankful for this Year post, so I decided to take a slightly different approach.

Why be Thankful?

For starters it turns out that being authentically grateful for what you have confers a whole host of mental and physical health benefits!  Check out this great article from the Wall Street Journal – Thank You. No, Thank You.  There’s a lot of really strong information in there, including research that shows the following:

Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.

All in all, that’s a pretty strong list of benefits – and it doesn’t even touch on the idea that people are naturally drawn to those with the confidence and humility to give credit to others.

Try This

Obviously there’s no deep secret on how to feel grateful – odds are you’ve had that experience.  The more challenging part is to give yourself the time and the mechanism for doing it on a regular basis (and not just over turkey). 

One approach that might work for you is to use a Gratitude Journal…every day or maybe every week sit down somewhere quiet and write down 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for.  Try to be specific and remember it doesn’t have to earth shattering, often it’s the little things in life that add a lot of meaning.

If you’re a little more high tech…and thankful for your iPhone or iPad, you might want to check out the Gratitude Journal App from HappyTapper (I love that name).

It sounds overly simplistic that just reflecting and journaling on the positives in your life can make a difference, but the reality is that you are what you think.  (On a related note – here’s a great article from Entrepreneur on You Are What You Think).

Me?  I’m thankful for a lot of things:  I’m thankful that my family is healthy and despite often crazy schedules we still have time to get together and have fun now and then.  I’m thankful for all the things my wife does to support me (and make the family thing actually work…).

I’m thankful for my great clients – not only are they all great people that I enjoy hanging out with, but they are attempting and doing a lot of interesting and important things and every day I  appreciate the opportunity to help them get to where they want to go.

Finally – I’m thankful for the times we live in.  Yes the economy is awful and politicians across the board continue to be selfish, short-sighted and often stupid.  But despite all of that, we are truly living in amazing times with technology and societal wonders happening all around us.  We don’t have flying cars or Hover Boards just yet, but we are seeing a lot of cool things every day.

What are you thankful for?  Take some time to write it down…or share your thoughts in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

Photo by Kevin Dooley