Inside: Learn how to start a daily gratitude practice as part of my Year of Simplicity Challenges series.
You won’t find any big, year-long goals on I Dream of Simple this year. I decided that big long-term goals, while work beautifully for some, just don’t work for me.
I love the process of coming up with the goals more than the actual follow through. Perhaps you are in the same boat?
While I do think that in order to move forward and make changes in life you need to have something you are striving for, this year I decided to change up how I approach goal setting a bit.
This year instead of making lofty resolutions I decided to focus on one word for the next 12 months. Read here to learn why I chose the word BREATHE as an anchor for how I approach the year ahead and download your free guide to choose your own word too!
While keeping the word breathe in mind, I came up with 12 different areas that I want to simplify this year. The thought is that these mini goals or challenges will help me breathe a little easier and make a little more breathing room in my life. At the end of the year I hope that these challenges bring me closer to living a more intentional life.
How can you get involved?
I am so glad you asked! At the beginning of each month I will share the challenge or mini goal here on the blog. I will share my action plan and how I will measure success using the SMART goal system.
At the end of the month I will share how I did in my weekly-ish newsletter (sign up here and receive a free decluttering checklist!), on my Facebook page and on Instagram. Feel free to follow me in one of those places and let me know how you did with the challenge as well!
First up is gratitude!
My first simplicity challenge: Daily Gratitude Practice
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” — Melody Beattie
Why practice gratitude
I think that quote above says it all. When we approach life with an attitude of gratitude we start to realize that we already have everything that we need. We start to appreciate what we do have and realize we don’t need to buy more, do more or be more.
According to a leading gratitude expert, there are two key parts to gratitude: first, we affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits that we have received; second, we recognize the source of goodness is outside of ourselves. I think the key there is that we recognize a social aspect of gratitude. Gratitude not only brings awareness to what we already have, it also brings us closer to each other.
Research has shown so many benefits to practicing gratitude, including happiness, reduced anxiety, better sleep and improved relationships. Just those things alone are enough to convince me to be more mindful during my day to practice gratitude.
Gratitude and Minimalism
Further, gratitude is a practice in minimalism and simplifying life. The blog Simple Lionheart Life describes this mentality:
“Gratitude leads us to feel content with what we have, because we value and appreciate what we have. It takes us out of the cycle of wanting more, newer, better, etc. And further encourages us on our path of minimalism.”
Now that we know what gratitude is and why it’s important, let’s look at how to practice gratitude in our daily lives.
1. Read one book on gratitude. I chose to read The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks.
2. Start a daily gratitude journal. I am using an app called Grid Diary on my phone. This works great for me because I always have it with me and it syncs between my phone and iPad. My grid is setup like the 5 Minute Journal where one of the squares on the grid asks for 3 things I am grateful for. I have never been into keeping a journal (not since I was a kid and had a diary!) so this format and app work great for me. I link to some other options below if you want to try something else. 🙂
3. Thank one person each week by sending a text, card or phone call. This links back to the idea that gratitude is social. I think this will get me out of my comfort zone a bit but will encourage me to invest more in my relationships. This is also a great opportunity to engage my oldest kiddo with writing thank you’s.
Would you like to join me?
Here are a few simple steps to start your own daily gratitude practice.
1. Decide where you want to record your thoughts.
- This can be written in a paper journal or in a digital app like Grid Diary, Evernote, or google docs;
- You can choose to keep your ideas personal or make them public on social media.
2. Decide on how you will think of things to write.
- Simply think of 3-5 things you are grateful for;
- Follow pre-made prompts; or
- Answer the same questions every day.
3. Develop a routine. For example this could be during your morning or evening routine.
4. Be present during this practice. Take a deep breath and truly be in the moment. Don’t just check it off another to-do list!
5. Give yourself grace if you miss a day. Don’t get upset with yourself, just keep going the next day!
If you would like to track your practice for a month, download your FREE daily gratitude journal here!
Resources for a Daily Gratitude Practice
- Books about Gratitude:
- Journals: Grid Diary, 5 Minute Journal, Book, Printable
- My Pinterest board about self care (including several pins about gratitude)
Do you have a daily gratitude practice?
Share in the comments below how you practice gratitude on a regular basis!
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.