the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
While it should be a year-round practice, being thankful is not something that many tend to think about 365 days out of the year. After all, why practice it daily when there is an entire day… wait, practically an entire month dedicated to it?
While it has been picking up in popularity, as it has promising benefits, practicing daily gratitude is a habit that many have yet to hone in on.
Don’t miss out on practicing gratitude. Achieve your goals by practicing daily thanks!
The Benefits of Gratitude:
Practicing gratitude has been shown to have a variety of benefits.
For example, gratitude has been found to have a significant relationship with happiness.
In fact, a study conducted on college students ended up finding that the adaptation of gratitude tendencies could enhance happiness (Kausar 113). This means daily practices of thankfulness can improve your overall mood and outlook. This is extremely important because we all know how powerful our mindset and moods are at influencing our actions.
When it comes to nutrition, there is a lot of talk about eating healthy, but eating healthy is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. In order to reach your goals in health, you need to build habits that support your healthy eating and beyond. Diet is just a small piece of the puzzle and if you aren’t in the right head space, your new way of eating might just find itself heading out the door.
Thus from the standpoin of a dietetic professional, mindset is an important player when it comes to a healthy lifestyle as it can play a role in nutrition.
For example, a negative mindset can foster feelings of shame and guilt. These feelings of shame and guilt tend to sabotage people in their weight-loss goals. The focus on what you shouldn’t eat in order to reach your goals can lead you to feel guilty when you do treat yourself. This forms an endless cycle of a negative mindset.
You were stressed and upset because you had a bad day, you reach for some ice cream, now you feel guilty because you didn’t honor your goals, now you’re upset again… and the cycle continues.
Approaching your goals with this kind of mindset is dangerous, and often time we don’t realize the negativity we harbor. Practicing Gratitude can help pull us out of the trenches of negativity. Incorporating the practice of daily thanks into our lives can not only help us be happier but can help us be healthier.
Achieve your Goals with Gratitude
Achieving goals requires a few things:
Strength, determination, hard work, dedication, and the will to succeed.
Like I mentioned before, negativity has no place in goal setting and progress. Positivity, however, is incredibly important.
How can we be more positive? There are quite a few ways supported by science that can boost your happiness. Things like mindfulness, self-compassion and other forms of self-care, are all ways to start building a more positive outlook. However, gratitude is an easy habit to start focusing on.
Gratitude Focused Habits
Sold on using gratitude to help achieve your goals? Here are some ways (some of which I use quite often in coaching clients along their dietetic journey) that you can practice gratitude to help revamp your mindset.
Keep a gratitude journal and add to it every day. Some simple prompts to try out:
Every day add something you are grateful for to an ongoing list (this makes a great page of thanks for referring back to when you feel like you just need a break)
Every day write down something you are thankful for (no matter how small)
Challenge yourself to write down a certain amount of things you’re grateful.
For example, you can challenge yourself to list 3 things that you are happy happened that day or week.
New Day, New Focus
Every day challenge yourself to focus on a different aspect of your life. Writing down what you are grateful for in relation to that aspect.
For example, Monday you list things related to relationships that you’re thankful for, and Tuesday you list thing you’re grateful for that are related to your career and so on and so forth.
Every morning, sit down and write out a few things that you are happy that you get to do that day. If thoughts of “I have” or “I must” come across your mind, try to think about how you can approach them in a more excited manner.
For example, when I am not excited about a task I have to do on a certain day, I’ll tell myself that I get to do something fun after (or before) to help associate that thing with something happier.
Text, email, call, or meet-up with someone daily/weekly and let them know how much their presence has impacted your life. A simple, thank you for always being there can be enough.
If you frequently meet up with friends and or family, make a habit to start or end your time together by each sharing something you are grateful for.
Challenge your Hate
Whenever you find yourself being hard on yourself, challenge yourself to be compassionate. For every hurtful comment you make about yourself, come up with 2 things you love about yourself. Feelings of hating your body, personality, choices, etc. can sabotage your goals. In this same light, make sure you are checking your judgments of others too. If you find yourself making negative comments to yourself about other people, challenge yourself to come up with 2 positive comments for each negative one.
Give yourself grace. Accept that you are human and that mistakes happen. Understand that there is room to grow no matter what, and this one slip up does not define you or your outcomes.
Commit to your Goals
Set yourself up for success by making sure your negative mindset isn’t sabotaging your goals. Be thankful for what you have, what you can do, and ultimately what you get to do.
You can start by telling yourself you get to have healthy nourishing meals every day as opposed to telling yourself you have to.
But that is just a starting point, once you get used to practicing thanks, the world really does become your oyster. You can start to see the opportunities in the dark.
Suddenly, you don’t feel like the world is against you but instead, you see it working for you.
Do you practice daily gratitude? Let me know in the comments how you stay thankful daily!
Kausar, Rubina. “Relationship between Gratitude and Happiness in College Students.” Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 109–113. EBSCOhost, doi:10.15614/ijpp.v9i01.11752.