It’s not happiness that brings us GRATITUDE. It’s gratitude that brings us HAPPINESS. ~Author Unknown
It's been over two weeks since I even sat down to my computer to write a post! So today I am grateful to the time I have allotted to do just that and the young lady that is entertaining my youngest while I do so!
So how are you doing with your gratitude journal? When I last posted, I shared with you that I was not doing so well with keeping up with my personal goal of 5 a day. I did lay the journal back out and started to improve again...and then, well..... it's been several days now since I wrote in it.
So I thought I'd review a few pointers on how to make this a habit!!! I checked out a few web posts about forming new habits. One such place was this: http://jamesclear.com/habit-guide
The above posts suggests starting small. Okay....
So my goal is 5 a day. But maybe to get myself back on track, I should accept just 2 a day? It would certainly get me writing more than my current last week of zero.
The post also said to increase in small increments. Okay. Well, maybe I can start with 1 or 2; then after a few days, or when the mood strikes me, I can then try for 3, then 4, then 5!
The suggestion I find most helpful is the suggestion of breaking it down. I often try to get my 5 out in the morning along with my morning devotion/prayer time. I think that's my downfall. It's all I can do to focus on reading my bible or current book I'm reading about my faith, let alone think of 5 things (all at once )I'm grateful for while still sleepy and irritable because, well, it's MORNING. I'm probably picking the wrong time of day to do this and probably should not attempt to thinking of 5 things all at once unless it's an unusual instance in which they come to me easily at that moment.
The next suggestion given is when you get off track, get back on track QUICKLY! The author states, "top performers make mistakes, commit errors, and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible." Okay....I'm stopping now to write one thing in my gratitude journal....be back in a second.....
There.... okay...so I've written one in for today. And I can pat myself on the back and know I'm doing okay. I'm up to #245. That's 245 things to read when I'm down in the dumps about things that are good in my life.
And the last pointer this blogger shared was to...
Stick to a Pace You Can Sustain
Ugh. Yes. Be patient. That's a hard one for me. I can easily be not very patient with others...but especially MYSELF!
So if you find you haven't started your gratitude journal, these are some good tips to form your new habit. And if you have faltered, like me, in keeping it up- these are some good tips to lift ourselves up and get back on track, sticking to a pace we can sustain and, in doing so, transform our minds and spirits!
The struggle ends when the gratitude begins. ~ Neale Walsch
Keeping a gratitude journal (Joy Journal, Happiness Book, Whatever YOU wish to call it) can stop the struggle and the pattern of negative thinking that can create even more stress in our lives. Gratitude can stop the negative thinking and greatly lessen the impact of stress. In forming our gratitude lists, we are essentially cultivating and retraining our thoughts to be positive. We are stopping ourselves to see the amazing things happening around us instead of dwelling on the everyday stresses, the chaos, the grief. And there really are AMAZING things happening despite all of those things. And if we focus, truly focus, on looking for these things- we will begin to notice more and more and our grateful hearts will swell with goodness - with GOD. And while stress and grief will still occur, we will not struggle as before as it will not drag us down into nothingness- for we will keep on focus on what is good. And we will look to God. And we will conquer all.
Occasionally, I'll share a few tips with you to help you keep motivated in keeping your journal and making sure it stays a positive experience for you to help focus on thanksgiving rather than the complaining so many of us in today's society takes part in.
Today's Tip:Be CONSISITENT. Change takes intention and formation of habit. Write in your journal EVERY DAY. Some journal keepers suggest doing it at the same time every day. I always start adding to mine at the beginning of the day at the same time I do my bible reading (another new habit I hope to keep up with) as that is when I am already focused on positive thinking and seeking God in all things. That's what works for me, and I keep it handy on the kitchen counter through the day to add as I go. But you do what works for YOU. Maybe it's the beginning of the day. Maybe at a coffee break. Perhaps at the end of the day when the kids are in bed (something to add to the list...). Find a time, and make it happen! Use the gratitude challenge to end the struggle. Remember, change takes intention!
Pascha - Pascha is the feast of the resurrection of the Lord as celebrated by Orthodox Christians... the ultimate celebration for the greatest reason. My favorite verse from the service "Come receive the light from the light, that will never be overtaken by night, and glorify Christ who is risen from the dead" will be in my head for weeks to come! Christ is Risen!
My six-year-old spotting a rose-breasted grosbeak on our deck! I'm not sure what part I'm most grateful for... seeing this beautiful bird for the first time ever, or the fact is was my six-year-old that spotted it- KNEW what it was- and not from me teaching him....just from all the time he spends looking at the bird book....and yes, he obviously read that name and remembered it ALL ON HIS OWN... wow.
erasers - because we don't need to be perfect; we just need to keep trying and give glory to God for second chances!
Sharing gratitude with others.
The sound of my husband's hum... happiness, contentment, love.
Develop an attitude of gratitude, 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.
~ Brian Tracy
Matthew Kelly, author of The Seven Levels of Intimacy, tells us in addition to the need of a disciplined way of eating to fuel the body and bring it to maximum performance, we also need a diet of mind, heart, and soul. I believe gratitude is a part of this diet. We must have gratitude for not only the big things in life - new job, new home, new baby - but we must have it for the little everyday things as well - the smile of the person in your office, the dishwasher working one more day, the giggle of that sweet baby. Seeing all of this with a heart of thanks will change your perspective. It takes discipline to stick to any diet, including the diet of giving up negativity and sticking to a heart of gratitude. Make it a daily habit. It will change your life.
Foods on the earth - God's creation!
Morning coffee time - reflective, encouraging, intimate, time with God.
Glue - to show that pieces CAN be mended!
Weeding away the old to make way for beauty and newness underneath.
The Lamentations of Good Friday....piercing the soul, weeping that leads to the glorious resurrection!