I was in a new hire meeting yesterday when one of the managers asked if anybody had any great tips to share on how they stay productive throughout the day.
In being the somewhat of a suck-up that I am, I popped my hand as high as I could, much like a child would when asked who wanted ice cream.
For me, this was an opportunity to give some insight into my morning routine. I told the rest of the new hires that I liked to wake up early, grab my journal, and write down a list of tasks that I needed to get completed with the most important ones at the top of that list.
Because I wanted to take it a step further, I grabbed my planner out of my backpack, opened up one of the pages with color-coded writing on it. I proudly showed off my work, and said that in addition to mapping out my day, I also set an intention for the day first thing in the morning, and I write down five things that I am grateful for.
One of the other new hires asked why I do this. My response was that it helps to put me into a good state of mind first thing in the morning. If I can set an intention, write down some things that I am grateful for, and map my day out within a few minutes of waking up, then I believe I am going to be more successful throughout the course of the day.
Most of us are beyond blessed in life. With the rare one-off situations, we come from amazing families, have friends who are there for us, and other loved ones who genuinely care about us. We have a shelter over our heads and a place to keep us warm at night. We are in good health and don’t have to worry about if we are going to survive through the night. And we have the ability to pursue whatever dreams and aspirations we can think of. What could be better than all of this?
Where we tend to go wrong, though, is that we do not appreciate all that we have in life as often as we should. We all say that we are blessed, but how many of us can actually say that we take a minute out of our day to stop and truly think about all that we have in life? I can only speak for myself, but I don’t do this nearly as much as I should.
It’s almost as if all of us are playing this never-ending game of cat and mouse. We want something, set goals for ourselves, and work towards achieving our wants. Once we achieve our wants, we simply move on to our next want while failing to appreciate what we have just achieved.
And yet for some reason, we wonder why it’s so difficult to be happy. Happiness doesn’t come from having more. It comes from appreciating what you have and the journey you are on.
Force Yourself to Be More Grateful
Sometimes we need to force ourselves to do things in life that we either don’t want to do or that we forget to do. For you, learning to be grateful may be one of these things. If you truly want to take your life to the next level, then here are 4 great ways to force yourself to be more grateful so that you can find that abundance of happiness that you have long been searching for.
1. Make a list of things you are grateful for.
Grab a journal and jot down five things that you are grateful for immediately when you wake up in the morning. Any time that you enforce a behavior immediately when you wake up, you will have a much easier time maintaining that behavior throughout the course of the entire day. That’s why it’s so important to practice gratitude, mindfulness, and kindness immediately when you wake up. You are essentially setting the pace for the rest of your day.
2. Show your gratitude in public.
Express your gratitude towards others. If somebody makes a positive impact in your life, let them know. Write them a thank you note, send them a text message or email letting them know how grateful you are, or take the time to talk with them directly.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your parents, a co-worker, or random stranger who went out of their way for you, take some time and share your gratitude.
3. Schedule a time out of your day to stop and reflect.
If you need help practicing gratitude, set a daily reminder on your phone or computer to stop for a few minutes to just stop and reflect. During this time, close your eyes and slow down a little bit. Take this time to reflect on the things that you are thankful for, reflect on your day up to that point, and just focus on all of the good that fills your life. Trust me, there is plenty of it.
4. Think bigger than yourself.
This is probably the most challenging one to do, but a great way to force yourself to be more grateful is to think bigger than yourself. When you think about those around you, you will truly see how fortunate you are in life.
There are people who are fighting to stay alive through the night, people who are struggling to put food in their stomachs, and people who are battling life-threatening illnesses. Be grateful that you are not dealing with any of these.
No matter how bad you have it, just remember that there is always somebody out there who has it worse.
Life truly is a blessing. Sometimes you need to remind yourself about the blessing that you are living, but it’s better to force yourself to be more grateful than to not be grateful at all.
Treat each day like the gift that it is, learn to slow down and take some time to appreciate all the beauty that is around you, and live each day as if it was your last. You never know, it just may be.