Can you turn your attitude to gratitude?

It goes back 10,000 years, so it’s not a new concept.

You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Chinese, Aztec, and Iroquois cultures, in the old and new testament, the Koran, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.
Celebrating life through an attitude of gratitude recognizes that the choices being made, both big and small, aren’t easy, and it is essential always to take a moment to be thankful for all that you have.

Practicing gratitude celebrates the small things in life and puts the focus on the positive all of the time. Start by celebrating gratitude before you go to bed each night.  Once you’ve done that for a week, add a morning gratitude reflection, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. What happens with this attitude of gratitude is that you make more space in your life for the things that matter most. It will foster a gratitude mindset. Since 75% of our thoughts are negative by human nature, reflecting on positive outcomes is an essential counter-balance to negative emotions. If ten things happened to you today and only 1 of them was negative, you’d remember the negative one! It’s backed up by research, too.

So, you have to actively seek out the positive. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went right. You may have had a hard time getting up in the morning because you woke up with neck pain, or perhaps you got a flat tire, or you jumped on the scale and found out how much you really gained during COVID lockdown! When you put your attention on the negative, that’s all you see. Focusing on adverse outcomes can cause your attitude to change for the worse and keep you in your comfort zone where there’s no momentum. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time losing weight,” can turn into “I’ll never lose weight.” By celebrating the little victories with a gratitude moment, you can fire up your “attitude” muscle and empower yourself to take action. This empowerment leads to momentum. It is more than simply going for a walk or eating a healthy meal. Momentum is believing that you have the power to make things happen, one choice at a time. Having a choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, is the first step. Momentum comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated in your darkest moments. Otherwise, you’re stuck suffering from getting on the scale tomorrow with that same dread.

Here’s an easy way to make this happen.

Make a list of all of the things you’ve done in life that’s given you a sense of accomplishment.

This is a partial list:
-Graduating High School or College
-Buying your first car or house
-Getting an award
-Adopting a pet
-Having a child
-Closing a big deal at work
-Landing your dream job

Do you remember how these made you feel? That rush of excitement when the Dean shook your hand on stage and handed you your diploma or when the new puppy licked you for the first time or when your newborn child wrapped his tiny hand around your pinky. Dr. B.J. Fogg, who wrote “Tiny Habits,” calls that feeling “Shine.” It’s a rush of one of your brain chemicals, such as adrenaline, oxytocin, and dopamine. When you recall the scene where you felt this, you create a brain chemical dose. It’s one of the reasons it gets locked in your memory. So when you take advantage of “Shine” by recalling these events, you reinforce the memory as positive and rewarding.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, fist pumps, high-fiving your kids, taking a deep breath, and smiling. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Let’s use this as a brain hack to create momentum with new habits. It works!

Keeping track of the numerous little moments of gratitude in your life can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of these gratitude moments you keep track of are a baseball-sized snowball. Because it is so tiny, it is challenging to push. At first, you must get down on your hands and knees to push the snowball forward to keep it moving. Despite the difficulties, you focus on momentum.  When you celebrate another moment of gratitude, you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going, gradually, the snowball grows larger, and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the gratitude moments you’ve counted and celebrated. Finally, you can actually stand back and marvel at how well your behavior is driving your progress. It all starts with the attitude of gratitude. Keeping that momentum going longer is easier because it doesn’t need you to get down on your hands and knees. Now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of considering everything you want to change with dread, look at them with gratitude. Reflect on the tiny victories you’ve already achieved. It will develop an “attitude” muscle that allows you to tackle your challenges with courage and ease. Keeping the list of accomplishments in mind, you’re ready to take your next. Each choice makes a deposit in your life bank account. Be grateful for your sense of purpose, which is your compass- keeping your choices built on a solid foundation. Where fear and discomfort have stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your success.

It’s easy to forget celebrating gratefulness in your life. But, for everything that you complain about, all the bad things, imagine how much more positive your life will be once you start practicing gratitude.  You will start seeing all these opportunities for appreciation will expand and become more and more.
You can become a much kinder, gentler, and more friendly version of yourself when you are full of gratitude.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your choices to live life fully?

Take a deeper dive into exploring your biggest lifestyle challenges by taking one of these complimentary assessments: click here.

Become. Be Strong. Be Grateful. B3.

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