LOOKING BACK AT A MONTH OF GRATITUDE

I took on the 30 Day November Gratitude Challenge and this is how it worked for me.

NOVEMBER AND GRATITUDE

November was National Gratitude Month. I wouldn't have known this if it wasn't for a post I read in October from Leah on her blog - My Cup of Cocoa. Leah had created a Gratitude Challenge in previous years and was sharing her updated version which really caught my eye. I ended up printing off her 30 Day Gratitude Challenge and pinning it to my fridge to remind me what to look for each day. And this is what transpired....

Firstly, here is the Challenge (you could do it on any month of the year)

The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge - and how it looked for me

HOW IT LOOKED FOR ME 

I loved the idea so much that I decided to share each day's suggestion on my blog's Facebook page and encouraged others to join me in the comments by letting me know how they achieved each challenge. I had some wonderful responses and I really enjoyed how gratitude can look different for each of us. One person's thoughts can be quite different to another's and it was a good reminder that we all look at our world from our personal perspectives.

There were some very honest and open comments about issues that were being lived through and the lessons learned and insight gained through the tough times as well as the good times. I really appreciated people's willingness to share their sadness and some of the blows life had dealt them. I was equally encouraged to see how they had moved forward through those challenges and were still engaging and encouraging others, and grateful for all they still had in their lives.

FRESH EYES

I also really appreciated how each day was an opportunity to look at my life with fresh eyes and to not take the little things for granted. I have a really lovely life and sometimes I forget that when the little annoyances loom larger than they should. To be brought back to basics, and to look for small joys each day was really encouraging.

Gratitude isn't just about the physical things we've been given in life (although it's important to be thankful for those too!) It's also about the people - family and friends and the love that comes to us through them. How poor our lives would be without the relationships we have with others and the care we give and receive.

ENGAGEMENT

I was really pleased that several of my FB followers left comments each day - some quite poignant when it came to the people they care about and the losses they've endured. There were also chronic health conditions that are part of their lives and made me appreciative of how fortunate I am, and how I often take my loved ones and my health for granted. It's really good to stop and be thankful for all that we have in our lives that others may not be so abundantly blessed with.

I also shared this lovely quote below and was quite amazed at the number of re-shares (105) and people it reached (6,750) - which is quite amazing for Facebook who are reluctant to share most of what we put on our pages these days. Obviously this quote resonated with others as it did for me. There is a lot to be said for choosing an attitude of gratitude and how that impacts on our worldview and our joy.

Perception is a key component to gratitude, and gratitude is a key component to joy

THE WAY FORWARD FROM HERE

I don't want to pay attention to gratitude for a few weeks and then go back to taking what I have for granted. I want to remember to look at my world with eyes that see wildflowers and not weeds. It's so easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom and all the bad stuff that's blasted at us through the news, but there's a lot of good stuff too - maybe it's time to focus on that and celebrate it more than we do.

Life is short, things can change in an instant, who knows what tomorrow holds? I intend to start each day with a grateful heart and to finish it with a word of thanks - because life is good, abundance is everywhere if we look for it. Joy is ours for the taking if we only open our eyes and take time to be thankful for all that we've been blessed with.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Did you do any of the gratitude challenges in November? Are you remembering to look for the positives in amongst the doom and gloom? Are you admiring life's roses and wildflowers?


I took on the 30 Day November Gratitude Challenge and this is how it worked for me.

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51 comments

  1. I love that quote and will be using it in this week's corporate newsletter. Thanks!

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    1. I loved it too Jo - nice to think it's getting shared far and wide :)

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  2. Leanne, I totally appreciated your gratitude posts throughout the month. I've been a bit swamped with my clients (busy fundraising time of year) - and making progress on my book, but I enjoyed the daily reminders popping up in my facebook feed.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them Janet - I thought they were worth sharing around and I liked the idea of looking at the small things (and different things) each day.

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  3. I have never heard of gratitude month - it is certainly something I practice regularly and encourage those around me to practice as well . I do feel that as a practice it has changed dramatically the shape of my inner and outer life. I notice with the questions that they all centre around what has come in and very little on what we have given gratefully - so I think that if I was devising a month of practice I would include questions around what /where/who have I touched this day with honest gratitude?
    Like anything there is a give and receive within this energy. I love the quote too. just yesterday I made a series of bookmark poems that I am sending out and one of them has this quote/poem of mine . "thankfulness is a prayer that sustains our way of living and brings us closer to the infinite circle of the Source from which we all arise. " blessings leanne and grateful that you are in my life . x

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    1. You're right Sandra - looks like you have the challenge now of writing a thank you list for next November that includes giving and receiving gratitude. I loved that this list extended my ideas of gratitude - yours could take it even further. I'll wait and see what you come up with over the year ahead :)

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  4. Hi, Leanne - I didn't realize that November was National Gratitude Month. That's interesting because I was immersed in 'Gratitude Research' that month as I was writing a Guest Post on this topic. Thank you for taking us through your challenge. I love your summary and your conclusions. The sentence "How poor our lives would be without the relationships we have with others" also deeply spoke to me. That is something that we should never forget!

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    1. Hi Donna - it's interesting how there are all these different months of focus that pass us by without us even noticing. Gratitude is a big one for me and the list helped me appreciate even more, all the blessings I have in my life - and so many of them are from relationships with others - no woman is an island!

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  5. I think that challenge would be great for journal writing! Staying in a mindset of gratitude can really help shift our perception year round.

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    1. It would be a great focus for journalling Bethany - I think any idea that helps us focus our thoughts towards the positive and how much we've been blessed with is great. Too often the world is focused on the bad - it's time we turned it around isn't it?

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  6. Good for you to complete the challenge. It is a great list and so true about the roses and thorns and perception!

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    1. I thought that doing it as a daily reminder on my FB page would be a good way of actually working through the list in a proactive way Haralee - I tend to start and then run out of steam - this kept me accountable to the very end.

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  7. I love this, Leanne! Everyone benefits from an attitude of gratitude. And most especially oneself!

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    1. It certainly opened my eyes to a few of the things I take for granted Diane - and also that those things are always as easy for others - healthy body and healthy relationships in particular.

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  8. Hello Leanne,

    I grew up in a religious family and we would pray together every day at night. Back then, my siblings and I felt it was part of our chore. One we're not really excited about. After moving away from home, I didn't kept up with many of my family's practices, including the daily prayer.

    As part of the prayer, we would say what we're thankful for. I didn't give much thought on the benefits of saying those prayers. But recently, as I started reading more and more about the practice of gratitude, I could not help but remember those prayers. Looking back, I now know that those prayers helped me. And now, being thankful helps put things in perspective for me.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your month of gratitude.

    Best,
    Sigrid

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    1. Hi Sigrid - we often take the foundations of our upbringing for granted and don't appreciate the values that were instilled in us. I'm glad to see that you can look back now and see the benefits of those evening prayers - stopping for a moment in our day to think back and remember all that we've been blessed with is a really good thing.

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  9. I'm trying to turn my attitude around, Leanne! I talked myself out of being a big Scrooge and decided to go ahead and decorate for the holidays. I'm also planning on a nice volunteer event that will take myself out of my own experience and see how others are so less fortunate. And I hope to spend some time with good friends in December.

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    1. I read your post about decorating Jean and I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes it's hard to generate the Christmas "spirit" isn't it? I'm grateful for the fact that my adult kids will visit us over the Christmas break and we need a tree to make it special - it gives me incentive to jump thru the Christmas hoops rather than leaving all the decorations in storage.

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  10. I missed the Gratitude Month too, Leanne, but I agree it can be done any time, and all the time. I think it would be a lovely way to start the new year in my FB group as well. Thank you to both you and Leah for the reminder!

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    1. I found it a really useful way to look at the blessings in my life from different perspectives Agnes - and reading what others wrote helped me to appreciate what I have in my life even more. I'd love to see you do it in the new year x

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  11. Hi Leanne - Good on you for completing the 30 day gratitude challenge and intending to practice it every day. I read somewhere that gratitude contributes to aging well and living with joy. I practice gratitude daily, as part of my meditation. #MLSTL

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    1. It's so easy to let life get in the way and being too busy to stop for a second and ask ourselves what good things we have in our lives at that particular moment. I think meditation and intentional living are great ways to include gratitude every day Natalie.

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  12. I should do this 30 day gratitude.. I often get grumbly - some say Im very grumbly ...and I should be more grateful for my lot in life xx..

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    1. It seems to get easier to be grumbly as you get older doesn't it? I did the 30 Day No Complaining challenge this time last year and it made a big difference to my mindset. It helped me to look at the annoyances from a proactive view point rather than fatalistically thinking there was nothing I could do about them. It motivated me to make a few changes that saved my sanity.

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  13. Hi Leanne, I watched this gratitude challenge with interest. Was planning to participate but decided I had too much happening in November. I enjoyed following you through the challenge on FB. #MLSTL Shared on SM

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    1. I'm glad you checked them out Jennifer - you didn't need to join in with the comments, just reading them and letting them simmer in the back of your brain was exactly what I had in mind for the month x

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  14. When I remember (and it's not often enough) I try to write down 5 things I'm grateful for each day. They have to be specific, with a "why" but I find that when I'm consistent with it I have a more positive attitude.

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    1. I failed dismally at finding that many things without repeating myself Jennifer. Instead I started a Gratitude Jar where I add a few things once a week - that seemed more do-able for me and I might even do it again for 2019.

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  15. We do tend to take our blessings for granted until reality smacks us in the face. Good for you for realizing what you have to be grateful for. I am grateful for things that are so different than they were a year ago.

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    1. Hi Victoria - long time no hear. I hope things are going well for your husband and that you'll be back sharing your stories with us at MLSTL next year. Gratitude looks different for all of us (something I learned from the comments on the FB posts!)

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  16. Hi Leanne, I didn't know that November was Gratitude month but I did notice your daily posts on Facebook. I love these monthly challenges because they put the focus back on a topic or in this case gratitude. We do tend to take things for granted and just need a friendly reminder occasionally. I am so blessed in my life and regularly just stop and feel thankful for all I have. I'm grateful to have you as my BBB and co-host for #MLSTL which has already had a fabulous start. Enjoy your time on Rottie xx

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    1. Hi Sue - I noticed you were doing the Wellness Challenge instead - also a great reminder for being appreciative of our physical and mental health. Gratitude just adds another layer on top of things and I think blogging has been a great source of encouragement for me in seeing what life has to offer and appreciating all I have (including your friendship and support xx)

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  17. While I did not actively engage on each of your daily Facebook posts, I did read them all and thoroughly enjoyed pondering the different aspects of gratitude. Like you, I try not take my life for granted but reframe the events through the lens of thankfulness.

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    1. Hi Molly - I didn't expect that people would engage in the comments much - just putting out the daily thought was enough and hoping that people stopped for a moment (as you did) to challenge their thinking about all those different aspects of gratitude.

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  18. A perfect post that, yes, is good for ANY month of the year. I especially love Amy's quote you used about the roses/weeds/perception. Excellent!

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    1. It always interests me to see what FB decides to share and what it doesn't bother with Trisha - you'd think if you followed a page you'd see it all, but that's not the case anymore. I'm grateful that the FB gods decided to share that post because it certainly resonated with others as much as it did with me :)

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  19. Revisiting from #MLSTL... I think this is the third time because I really love the daily listing. copied it to my own Pinterest board... a first for me! I'm thinking of doing a bullet journal next year, with a section on gratitude. These prompts will be helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm glad you liked them Pat - I thought Leah had chosen really varied ways to look at the whole gratitude concept and I will be re-visiting it next year too. I'm going to empty my Gratitude Jar on Dec 31 and begin again in January - maybe using a few of these as prompts when I get stuck.

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  20. Oh My Goodness! What a wonderful response you've had to your Gratitude Challenge. I'm so happy for you and that it touched so many people in so many ways. Isn't gratitude and sharing amazing? I think I'll be smiling the rest of the day thanks to you and your sharing. True confession: you did better with the challenge than I did. I only posted about half the days! Thanks for being an inspiration. #MLSTL

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    1. Leah I loved the idea and that the days were each completely different - some really easy and some quite challenging. Once I started copying one off for each day, it became a nice little evening addition to my FB page that I hoped others were enjoying as much as I was. Thanks for designing it and letting me share it x

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  21. This is a lovely post leanne and I enjoyed dipping into your daily gratitudes on your facebook page. I missed that quote about perception being the key to gratitude (and blame annoying facebook algorithms) but I have since visited your page and shared it on my page too. It is so true. I'm enjoying Sue's #my25daycountdowntoahappychristmas challenge at the moment. Good on you for your month of gratitude, it was a great idea. I'm grateful for my health and ability to live the life I live. Shared for #mlstl

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    1. I get so annoyed at the FB gods and what they decide to share and not share with our FB followers Deb. Thanks for hunting it down and resharing it - obviously it spoke to the hearts of a lot of people and I think that was because it was so true - it's all about how we choose to look at our lives isn't it? PS: I'm enjoying Sue's 25 days of Christmas too - trying to do them while we're away on holidays :)

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  22. What a beautiful quote and what a lovely challenge. I will take it up in January, when I tend to get a little case of the winter blues. I think that will really help. Thanks as always for hosting the #MLSTL party. I enjoyed my blogging break, but missed you guys.

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    1. Hi Christie - it's always lovely having you and we missed you too. I'd love to see you do the challenge in January - it'll help you move past the post-Christmas blues :)

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  23. I love the Amy Weatherly quote - and I know quite a few people who see only thorns in a field of roses. I think gratitude is a matter of perception when it comes down to it - some people just aren't capable of feeling grateful, it's as if the world owes them a favour. I have also been guilty of feeling like this at times in my life, but now, older and wiser I'm much more of a half full cup person, and seek the good and the glorious in as much of my day as I can :) Shared on SM #MLSTL

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    1. I love the idea of seeking "the good and the glorious" Jo - and yes, I know people who are constantly mired in their problems (real and imagined) and who miss out on so much joy by not looking up and experiencing the sunshine and the blessings they have in their lives. It's so easy to take things for granted and we all need to stop for a moment here and there to just smell those roses and say thank you.

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  24. I love that quote Leanne! I haven't done any gratitude challenges for quite some time. Back in late 2012 and well into 2013 I did a 365 Grateful Challenge where I posted a photograph a day for 365 days of something I was grateful for. I was not in a good way back then. Doing that challenge changed my life! It was hard at first and then became easier and eventually became habit ... to be observant and notice things that gave me joy that I was grateful for. It could be even the most simplest thing! I could do with a bit of a refresher to be honest, but I am a very strong advocate for the benefits of practicing gratitude. :-) xo #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I struggle to find something fresh every day to be grateful for - maybe I need to open my eyes more? Instead I've been adding a few each week to my Gratitude Jar - it's very easy to find three things each week when you look back at all the good things that we take for granted. I'm looking forward to reading them all at the end of December and then I'm going to do it all again in 2019.

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  25. It's definitely something I need to do more. I've occasionally started diary entries (or similar) where I identify things I'm grateful that day (but like as has mentioned they're usually the same things most days). I guess there are versions of that as well and identifying what you've appreciated or even what you've regretted.

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    1. I find a daily gratitude journal way too difficult to maintain Deb - repetition abounds and it seems a bit pointless (maybe my life is just a bit humdrum??) Noting a few things once a week is my limit and worked well this year - and I'm hoping to repeat it again in 2019 because it's good for me to remember the lovely things that come my way.

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  26. I try and express and to live gratefully, but the lies of the enemy can creep in and rob us of the joy that a grateful life gives. Thanks for the reminder, Leanne.
    We will feature this reminder to be grateful.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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