2017's Lessons in Gratitude

"Every morning when I open my curtains for that first look at the day, no matter what the day looks like—raining, foggy, overcast, sunny—my heart swells with gratitude. I get another chance." - Oprah Winfrey.

“How often do you give thanks?”

Living in New York, without a doubt one of the greatest cities in the world, I give thanks multiple times a day. It is currently cold outside and I am thankful to have warm clothes and coats to choose from, hats, scarfs, and often most importantly, gloves for my hands. Nothing is worse than not being able to feel your fingers. Trust me, I learned that the hard way freshmen year of college in New York...and it is awful.

Monday through Friday, walking from Grand Central Terminal (Midtown East) to my office in Herald Square (Midtown West), I pass those who are less fortunate, with no coat, and even a few with no shoes on their feet in freezing New York weather. This serves as just one reminder of how blessed I am.

We should all look around more often and say thanks. We should do this more than just during the holidays and special occasions.  Daily we should find gratitude in learning new skills, seeing children, new life, cute animals and smiling faces.

As 2017 is coming to an end, I am grateful for God’s blessings and favor over my life including my loved ones, mentees, career growth, new relationships, lessons learned, teaching opportunities and growing in my purpose.  

Now, as a member of the ‘30 Club’, there are a few things that I know for sure: be prepared for the unexpected and remain grateful for the good, bad and ugly because it all strengthens and molds you.

In 2018, I truly welcome the opportunity to incorporate the following acts of gratitude into my daily routine:

The Power of Inspiring Visuals: Vision & Gratitude Boards

As a very visual person, I’ve created vision boards in the past to inspire me to take on the upcoming year by storm. I am constantly motivated to achieve my goals simply by looking at my annual vision board.

Powering ahead, this year, I’m committing myself to creating an ongoing gratitude board, filled with photos, quotes, happy reminders and scriptures in which I am thankful for. On my gratitude board, I am planning to include photos of loved ones, mentors, my childhood photos to show my progression out of awkward phases, memorabilia and even simplistic sticky notes with affirmations and words of encouragement.

Gratitude boards are awesome because they can be an individual or family project. They serve as excellent way to engage loved ones in a progressive and fun activity. For example, writing a sticky note of gratitude and putting it into a jar or box, and by the end of the week sharing each note with family.

The Power of Reflection:

Journal - write it down, read it later, recap and rejoice

Who really carries around a journal nowadays? However, we probably all have a note function in our mobile devices. My cell phone is my new journal, and sometimes it is exchanged for Google Docs, my iPad or any type of technology readily available to aid me in sharing and documenting my thoughts, ideas and feelings.

A good ol’ fashioned journal never goes out of style because journals are limitless. You can write as much as you like and always refer back to read one’s progress and growth. I recently read one of my journals from graduate school, and my goodness have I dramatically grown in every area of my life.

Don’t consider yourself to be a writer? No problem! Don't be intimidated. You can begin journaling by simply writing about one or a few things that you’re thankful for and why. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro. For example, I am personally thankful for opportunities to meet new people and moments to learn and grow.

I am very thankful for new life, as a few of my closest friends are expecting children next month and early 2018. I truly cannot wait to meet them. I love babies and children! Their newness, is beyond exciting and I know that they’ll be a blessing to world.  

The Power of Saying, “Thanks!”

How often do you get something handwritten in the mail to your home? Not often enough! Regardless of how busy we all become, we can each take the time to write a thank you note and warm someone’s heart through a simple, but personalized memo.

One of the most traditional forms of gratitude is a simple thank you note. A handwritten thank you note speaks volumes. It says that you took the time to purchase a thank you card and pay for postage (postage is not cheap anymore! :). It notifies the receiver that you took the time out of your busy schedule to think of them and put your thoughts to paper. I believe it is appreciated more than sending an email which takes just a second and is done at the convenience of your mobile device. We all appreciate those who go above and beyond.

These three simple acts of gratitude are each something that we can start doing immediately. Please join me!

I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because — for sure — what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
— Oprah Winfrey

H A P P Y N E W Y E A R !