How to Combine Gratitude with Goal Setting
January 1, 2014 by Stephanie O'Dea
It’s a brand new year! Congratulations, you made it!
I have a rather radical suggestion for you this new year. I know I’ve shared my love for lists and charts and goal setting in the past, but I wanted to share a new idea.
Gratitude Goal Setting.
I’m sure you’ve heard of keeping a Gratitude Journal ~~~~ Oprah talked about them a lot on her show and she (I believe) talks about them in her magazine (I don’t subscribe to magazines, but read them on planes. and while getting my hair cut! And that’s only because I don’t like spending money and I don’t like clutter and big magazines feel wrong to throw out so then I hoard them on a shelf and then I worry I might turn into one of those hoarder people on TLC.)
(but you should totally subscribe to Simply Gluten Free Magazine because I’m a contributing writer and Carol, the founder, is absolutely wonderful).
So how to you combine an Attitude of Gratitude with Goal Setting? How can you be simultaneously happy, thankful, and thrilled with your current life situation but still sort of want something different/better/more prosperous?
Don’t the two cancel each other out?
No. I promise.
It feels wrong at first to want more when you have a non-leaking roof over your head, your children are healthy, your marriage is (above) average, and you aren’t scrounging to put food on the table. I struggle with this, and do make a conscious effort to give more than receive.
And if you are reading this article, then you ARE VERY BLESSED. You have internet, and you probably have accumulated an awful lot of “wants” to go along with your “needs.”
Take the time to be thankful. Take inventory of all that is right in your world. If writing it down helps, do so. Life is so very very very good, and we are the only species that is able to pontificate our lives, and to self-reflect.
We are also the only species that can decide what is working and what needs tweaking. As Dr. Phil says (I met a camera guy who worked on his show, and heard some interesting stories. Ahem.), “how’s that working for you?”
If you have a New Year’s Resolution to work out more and eat healthier, try writing down this year’s goals in the positive — and in a thankful way.
For instance, instead of:
I need to lose my muffin top and start running. Try: Thank you for my strong, healthy body that allows me to plank for 90 seconds and run a 10-minute mile.
I need to drink 8 glasses of water a day and cut out alcohol. Try: Thank you for fresh, clean water that tastes even better than margaritas.
I need to not yell at the kids. Try: Thank you for the patience I have with my children.
I need to put away the phone/tablet and hang out with my spouse. Try: Thank you for my awesome spouse who I like spending quality time with.
(I ended that sentence with a preposition. Thank you for not being OCD. )
If you are looking for a BIG change, try being thankful for it before it even occurs. Before there is even a glimmer of hope that it can occur.
Here’s a few examples:
Thank you for this home that we all love that we can easily afford.
Thank you for this new job where I am respected and properly compensated.
Thank you for the opportunity to take this dream vacation that has been fully paid for upfront.
It is hokey. It feels childish, and it doesn’t seem like a simple change such as this could possibly work, yet there are TONS of anecdotal and scientific studies that show that your sub-conscious doesn’t know if something has actually occurred or not when you focus on it. This is why dreams feel/seem so real. Yes, you can rationalize them to death and assure yourself that a monster isn’t under your bed, but your harddrive doesn’t know the difference. (need research? google “do positive affirmations work?”)
So try it.
There’s really nothing to lose.
Give yourself 10 days of writing 10 positive affirmation/goal setting phrases down in a notebook. Don’t refer back to the previous day — your ideas, needs, and goals change sometimes on a whim. What was important three days ago might not be important today. But if you track your thoughts and wishes for 10 days you’ll find a pattern.
This pattern is what is the most important to you. And you only. Your goals are not your neighbor’s, not your mom’s, and not the current Pinterest trend. Your goals are your own and are private.
We are all a work in progress, and it’s okay to acknowledge where you could use some tweaking.
lots of love and a very VERY happy 2014.