Today is sun-filled with perfect blue skies and hints of a crisp Toronto winter teasing me on my morning walk along the lake. There is something about a chilly autumn morning that has me lost in thought.
Post Updated September, 2018
This morning in particular, I was thinking about the last twelve months of my life and all of the things for which I am grateful.
Last year I moved my entire life of 17 years back to Canada. I did this for many reasons. The biggest reason was the passing of my step father quite suddenly, leaving my mother on her own. I felt the need to be near my family.
On my walk, I started listing the things that have happened over the past year, and noticed that my gratitude list generally fit into one of five categories:
- Learning and growth
- Giving back
It occurred to me that a yearly gratitude list is as important, if not more important, than the January goals and resolutions list so many of us feel compelled to make. So this is how you go about creating a yearly gratitude list:
1. Make your list in December – a nice way to conclude your year, before the frenzy of Christmas and New Year, is to spend time being grateful for all that you have. Reflect on your relationships (the people you love and who love you), your health (new habits you’ve created, challenges you have overcome), your wealth (new jobs, direction and ideas, debts paid, profits made), learning and growth (courses taken, things you’ve learned, ambitions achieved) and giving back (donations, helping family/friends and strangers, volunteering, paying it forward).
2. Write it down – I started a mental list on my morning walk and came home and began to write it down on my makeshift Ikea whiteboard (courtesy of Ikea Hackers). There are many benefits to writing things down.
You gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut out. You gain a new perspective of what’s important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life. You become more self aware, and on melancholic days, you can re-read your list and remember that you have great people and things in your life. Lifehacker reminds us that regular writing may also have mental health benefits and boost your creativity.
3. Notice the gaps – I noticed my gratitude list is heavy on the learning and growth, and a little light on giving back. The giving back that I’m referring to, is the kind you do when you expect nothing in return. Like my lovely friend Victoria, who has adopted a 9 year old girl through the Children’s Aid Society. At the age of 44 she has become a single mum of a young girl with many challenging issues. Giving back doesn’t have to be so monumental – I was in the drive through recently at Tim Horton’s and when I came up to the counter to pay for my tea and donut, the woman said: The car in front just paid for you. That gesture made my day!
4. Blow your own horn – This is not the time to be modest. This is YOUR gratitude list. If you are not used to observing all the good in your life, I give you permission to spend at least one hour tooting your own horn. I spent many mornings this summer diving into a cool lake to swim to the other side – darn right that goes on my list!
5. Celebrate – Decide on a completion day for your list (and keep adding to it). I’ve decided to complete my list by December 19th. Then perhaps print your list and pin it up until the start of the New Year. Revel in the life you have lived for the last 12 months. And finally, CELEBRATE your achievements, success, relationships, health, wealth and growth! You deserve it. Why not crack open a bottle of bubbly … cheers to you!
I’m grateful to all of you for reading my blog and continuing to support Posture Videos. Thank you – Having you with me, makes this journey a lot more interesting and worthwhile!
If you would like to share a few of the things on your gratitude list in the comments below, I’d love to read them!