Every year, the week before Thanksgiving, I block out some time to get quiet and make a list of all the things I’m thankful for. The challenge is to fill one piece of paper with 100 things that I am grateful for in my life – the things that fill my plate! I created an easy worksheet to simplify the process. Writing down the first ten to twenty things I’m grateful for is easy. Writing down the next twenty gets a little harder. After years of doing this exercise, I can get to forty pretty quick. After that, filling in the list and reaching 100 things I’m grateful for takes more thought.
Over the years, I’ve discovered three things doing this exercise…
- As I am working through my list, many of the spaces get filled with the names of people that I am grateful for. Some I see every day, some I only talk to on the phone or on Zoom, and others I haven’t connected with in years. As I write down each name, their face pops into my head, and I’m reminded how they’ve made my life fuller and better. It’s led me to reach out to some of them to reconnect and say “thank you” for the way they’ve impacted my life.
- There are also a lot of little things in my life that I take for granted. A beautiful sunrise, sweating at the gym, my favorite jeans, good hair days, time with friends, walking through the woods, driving my kids to their activities… I often take many of these “little” things for granted. Coming out of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize that the little things are actually the big things, and I am grateful for the simple things in my life. Each one of these “little things” ends up on my gratitude list, and it’s fun to spend some time appreciating them.
- Past challenges are also great candidates for the gratitude list. Am I saying you should be grateful for your struggles? Absolutely! Some of my greatest challenges have led to the things I am most grateful for, and I am not afraid to write those struggles down. They remind me of how far I’ve come and the breakthroughs I’ve experienced along the way. Every challenge comes with an opportunity. Be bold, and add some of those to your list.
Every year when I’m about to sit down to work on this gratitude list, I find myself feeling too busy. There’s too much to get done, too much to prepare for Thanksgiving, too many distractions – and no way that I have time for this. I have to remind myself to give gratitude the attention it deserves and be intentional about making that happen. When I do, I ground myself and reconnect with all the things that are important in my life. It helps me refocus on what really matters… all of the breakthroughs, all of those little things, and all of the people that make my life so full.
Take my challenge and make your list of the 100 things you’re most grateful for this year. You can download your worksheet here. It will fill you up, help you recenter yourself, and refocus you on all the great things you have in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!
Ready for more?