Welcome back to work! If you’re still looking for an impactful practice to integrate into your life in 2015, let me suggest gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most powerful ingredients in your recipe for happiness and success. One thing that has really hit home for me lately is the power of having a regular practice to give thanks and appreciation. I started making that shift last spring when a couple of injuries derailed me from my usual activities. And I got a great reminder of what a consistent gratitude practice can do for us when I recently attended my first Tony Robbins event.
I’ve also noticed how a gratitude practice has impacted my son’s life. We started out by talking every night about three things he was thankful for that day. He then started keeping his own gratitude journal. And let me tell you: This kid is on fire about gratitude. Even on difficult days, he goes to his journal and writes down the good things that happened despite all the stuff he would change. This has helped show him that even “bad” days aren’t all bad, and he’s able to end the day on a positive note.
I want to share a simple practice that can help you bring more gratitude to your life this year. Throughout 2015, think about being grateful for these three kinds of people:
- Your supporters and advisers. Who have you turned to again and again? How will you let them know what a difference they’ve made in your life? One idea: Positive psychology pioneer Martin Seligman recommends “Gratitude Visits” as a way not only to honor that special person but also to improve your own well-being.
- Your high performers. How and when will you recognize and reward the people that deliver time and again? In the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes we leap from one project to the next without taking time to celebrate successes. Or we may take our high performers for granted as we redirect our time to underperformers who need more help to get the job done. Don’t forget that when someone feels appreciated, it can affect their engagement, morale and productivity.
- The people who have tested you. At first, you may not see any reason to be grateful for your abrasive boss or difficult colleague who puts everyone on edge. But, whether you realize it or not, these individuals have taught you a lot about your values and who you are as a leader. I suggest writing thank-you notes (not to be sent!) to the people who drive you crazy. This practice can be liberating and help you identify the positives in a difficult situation.
When you express gratitude and appreciation to others, you’ll notice that it will give you a boost of positive energy too. As you start off the year, consider the three categories above and identify at least one person you will express appreciation to this week. A small shift toward gratitude will yield powerful results for you in 2015.