Monday, January 3, 2011

Project Gratitude

I’d like to think I’m a pretty happy person. Am I happy all the time? Of course not. Have I gone through some happiness slumps in the past? Sure. But in general, I think I laugh a whole lot more than I cry, smile a whole lot more than I frown.


I don’t typically sit around pondering the origins of happiness, and I don’t feel a deficiency of happiness in my life. I have no intention of conducting a yearlong happiness project like Gretchin Rubin or eating, praying, and loving in foreign countries in pursuit of happiness a la Elizabeth Gilbert. But if I find a gem of wisdom about a simple way to increase my level of happiness, I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to try it out.


Two years ago, I read somewhere that one way to find happiness is to think about the things we’re thankful for on a daily basis, both the big things and the small. I decided to follow the author’s advice and learn to recognize and appreciate these things by keeping an “I Am Thankful” journal. For an entire year, I wrote down at least one thing I was thankful for every single day.


I can’t say the project made me any happier than I already was, but it did help me realize how many things I had to be thankful for in my life. Even on those horrible days when nothing seemed to go my way, I managed to find SOMETHING to be grateful for.


After that year, I stopped writing in my thankful journal. Unfortunately, it became yet another task on my to-do list. After my final entry (which I’m pretty sure was: “I’m thankful I’m finished with this journal”), I never opened the journal or thought about it again. Until last week.


I was reading a series of articles in Real Simple magazine about the history, science, and psychology of happiness when 2 sentences jumped off the page and hit me in the face:


“Happiness comes in small moments while you’re pursuing the big stuff. After a while, the small moments become the point.”


After reading that article, I knew I wanted to resume my thankful journal. I may be pursuing the big stuff, but I want to remember to pay attention to and be thankful for those small moments along the way.


So as one of my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions, I’m starting Project Gratitude. At the end of every day, I’m going to think about at least one thing I’m thankful for. My hope is that this will help me remember those small moments in life that I typically take for granted. 


I can’t promise to post my daily contribution to Project Gratitude on my blog, but I do vow not to let a day pass by without at least a thought of thankfulness.


Care to join me in Project Gratitude?  All it takes is a sentence or two every day.  Sneak it in at the end of a regular blog post or use it as a short post on those days when you can't think of anything else to write about.  And let me know if you have a Project Gratitude post because I'd love to see what everyone else is thankful for in their daily lives.


***For simplicity, the day on the post will be the chronological day of the year (e.g., today is January 3rd which is the 3rd day of 2011, hence Day 3). ***


So here we go...


PROJECT GRATITUDE DAY 3: I am thankful that my first day back at work after the winter break went smoothly and quickly.



What are you thankful for today?

11 comments:

  1. This is a great idea! I'm thankful that I'm able to stay home with my little guy and watch him grow and learn.

    Thanks for joining my blog frog group- glad to have you. I am now following your blog and hope you'll stop by mine when you have a chance... http://www.nestingwithniall.blogspot.com. Looking forward to reading more of your posts :)

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  2. I LOVE this idea! You've given me something else to write about during my husbands upcoming deployment :)

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  3. That is a really nice idea! I don't know how many more projects I can take on right now though! LOL. :) I will give it some thought!

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  4. I'm thankful my fat @ss is finally on the body fat % charts. Still not good, but better than I was and now I'm less fat than everything else (combined). LOL!

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  5. I am thankful for laughter when I least expect it.

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  6. Fabulous idea!! I used to keep a "gratitude" journal when I was in college and just after I was married. Somewhere along the way I got busy and stopped. I have been thinking about it again recently. After reading your blog post, I'm thinking now is the perfect time to resume it! Thank you. Today I am thankful that I had food to cook for my family. :)

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  7. Awesome idea. Life is the moments - I work on being thankful every day, but am not always so good at it - thanks for the reminder!!

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  8. I am thankful for comfy cardigans that I can wrap myself up in at the end of the day. I call them my granny sweaters.

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  9. I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my grandchildren. That memory stays with me even when we are apart.

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  10. I like your project, so I'll try to post at least one of the things I'm grateful for once a week starting today.
    Aloha,
    Sue

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  11. I wanted to let you know that I am still posting my weekly Project Gratitude. Stop by to see today's.
    Aloha,
    Sue

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