I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I tried a few times but by the end of January life would be back to normal.
That being said, I am a big fan of goals. And I believe goals can be life changing when you find 1 word that gives the goal meaning and focus. (If you don’t believe me, just read the chapter “Just One Word” in the book Wisdom Walks. To be fair, I haven’t read the book but I did read a blog about it.)
Shortly after I turned 30 I realized I needed to change my mindset. I was pregnant with my 2nd child at the time and felt I owed it to my kids to make some improvements in my attitude and outlook on life. (I blogged about this here) I was letting little things get to me, and this was getting in the way of enjoying the journey that is life. Determined not to be such a Negative Nancy (no offense if your name is Nancy- it just rhymes.) I chose the word “PERSPECTIVE” and said the word over and over in my head anytime I felt negative thoughts enter my mind.
Last month I turned 33 and realized it was time for a new goal. I’ve made significant progress with my perspective on life and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. There are a few things I feel the need to improve upon and there were a few words I had been toying around with (Excellence, Gratitude, Focus).
And then I read this beautiful blog post by my cousin-in-law Laura House. It’s funny how things seem to fall in your lap just when you need them to.
My new word? You guessed it- GRATITUDE.
There are so many things in my life I’m grateful for. So I’m going to do a better job of expressing my gratitude. And not just a standard “thank you for the gift/visit/dinner”. I’m going to do a better job of expressing my gratitude to the many people in my life who make every day a gift.
On January 2nd of this year my dad turned 60. It was a big milestone so my siblings and I decided to do something special. Anyone who knows my dad will tell you he’s incredibly sentimental. For years all he has asked of his children is to write a letter to him on his birthday. So this year we went all out. We made a photo and letter book for my dad from all 3 siblings, all 7 of his brothers and sisters, all of the in-laws, almost all of my 30 cousins and a few close friends. It took me almost 10 hours to put it together, but as I watched him tear up reading the letters and reminiscing I knew it was worth it. I couldn’t think of a better way to express my gratitude to my father for being such an amazing dad. (If you know my dad- ask him to see the book next time you see him. It turned out perfect. Thank you so much to all of you who took time to write and send pictures. It is a gift he will treasure the rest of his life.)
Here’s the cool thing about gratitude. It feels really good to catch someone off guard with a thank-you. Not only do you get to make someone’s day, but you are making your own too. And in this digital age it’s easier than ever to get creative and express your gratitude. Recently a customized card came in the mail for my husband from his aunt. I reached out to her to ask about how she made the card, and it’s a free app you can download to your iPad/iPhone. You can find the app here. There are no excuses NOT to find the time to express my gratitude.
Just One Word. Mine is gratitude. What’s yours?
(Thank you to Woodleywonderworks for the awesome “Thank You” in every language Wordle on Flickr!)