As we are still in the first week of the year, I keep thinking of what could help us make this year a little bit better. And when I say this, I do not think about unrealistic bucket lists or general advice that will lead us nowhere. I am thinking of little habits that we can easily do, but that can change us in some way. Because little habits can cause great changes.
Today I want to share a one year-long project that can help you be more grateful, more optimistic and happier. It is called the gratitude jar. And you can start this project anytime, but it is recommended to start it in January and keep at it throughout the year. You take an empty jar and you start filling it with notes about the good things that happened to you. You can add a note each day. Then, on New Year’s Eve, or whenever you feel like it, you open the jar and read about all the great moments of that year.
Why would you do this?
I think this habit truly helps you become more grateful and more positive. So if you have negative thoughts and worry a lot, this project may be perfect for you! As you decide to do this, you will start thinking about what to write on those pieces of paper. So you will find yourself thinking “Hmm…what is the thing I like best about my day?” or “What can I be grateful for today?”. By asking yourself these questions, you think about your day and start looking for the good. Some people say that this rewires your brain and makes you more optimistic. If you do this often and for a long time, you will realize that your thoughts are no longer predominantly negative. And even if you have a terrible day, you will realize that there is at least one good thing that happened to you. You just have to look for it.
This project also makes you appreciate the little things more. An average day of a normal person is not always full of excitement and life-changing events. In a normal day, we may feel tired, anxious, nervous, bored and so on. We are not living on cloud nine and this is perfectly normal. But even on the dullest day, there are sweet moments of joy, satisfaction and fun. Those moments can be anything from reading a book you enjoy, drinking a cup of coffee, smiling at a stranger. It is these little moments that constitute about 90% of our lives. Why not learn to appreciate them?
I started this project in January 2016. And as I was reading my notes, I realized how much things can change in one year! For example, in January I added one note about being grateful that I went on my first date with Radu. When I wrote that, I was just excited because he was a great guy and we had a nice time together. Little did I know that I would end up loving him and sharing a home. When I read that note, it made me smile with joy. I realized how something that can seem so small can turn into a life-changing experience.
Make this a pleasant experience
If you decide to create your own gratitude jar, do it your way. Make this habit easy and enjoyable if you want to stick to it. Here are some things you can try:
- Keep the jar on your desk or somewhere close to you. If you see it often, you will think about what you are thankful for more often throughout the day.
- Add notes as often as you like. You can add one every day or every week. Or you can a note whenever you feel grateful about anything.
- Choose a beautiful jar – this way you will be excited about filling it up.
- If you love color, use colored flashcards.
- Have some flashcards handy so you can easily write a note anytime.
We all know that a lot of things can happen in a year – both good and bad. Our mind will remember all of them, but somehow, it may focus more on the bad. If you start this project, you can change this. By choosing to look for the good every day, it will become easier for you to find it. Start this project today and reap the benefits throughout the year.
I hope this little habit will help you appreciate the good things and the great people in your life more. The truth is that we live great lives, but we sometimes need to (re)learn to see it. I hope you will have at least one reason to be thankful for each day of this year!
Since I believe in the power of gratitude, I want to help you experience it in your life. This is why I will start a gratitude challenge. You can sign up for it here. For one month, you will receive a daily email that will encourage you to appreciate the great things you have in your life. You can also sign up using the form below.