What do you think of when you hear the word gratitude?
Reflection always plays a big part of my goal setting processes. Looking back and seeing what has already happened – including successes and challenges – helps us to learn and grow. It also allows us to set purposeful goals going forward, and stops us going off on a tangent or chasing the wrong things.
When you’re running your own business there is a constant stream of tasks to get done. We find it hard to switch off. Thoughts of our business, which is often also our passion, consume our minds and fill much of our time.
This can sometimes make us a little less aware of all the great stuff we have in our lives. And this becomes especially true if we are often focusing on things that we’re not quite getting right. Or on things that we’re unhappy with and want to change.
If we continue to notice mainly the things we’re not happy with, we can begin to think our lives are not enough. That we don’t have enough, or that we’re not good enough. Or that we will be happy when (fill in the blank) happens. Things like when I reach this target, or when I get 20 new clients or when I can afford a new car.
We then always end up chasing the next high, or achievement. But we fail to spend much time noticing the present moment, or all the positives we already have in our lives.
This is why practising gratitude is so vital. What better way to feel we have an abundant life, than actually taking time to recognise what we already have. Where we already are. And what we are so thankful for.
Whether your gratitude focuses on the people around you that enrich your life, or your home environment. The experiences you have each day, or the simple sunshine or blue sky that day. Whatever it is. Recognising what you have here and now, is a sure fire way to feel you have more. To feel your life is abundant, and that you are happy RIGHT NOW. Not when you reach the “magic” point in the future.
This kind of thinking makes us happier, more fulfilled, and more positive on a daily basis. We almost train ourselves over time to focus on the negatives – what we haven’t done, what’s missing, what isn’t quite wrong. Rather than the positives.
As Oprah Winfrey says:
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
So as we approach the end of the year, I am grateful for so many things. My happy, healthy children, loving husband and our lovely home. My friends and family. My brilliant business partner and our fantastic first year in business together. All the opportunities I have.
My ‘gratitude’ list could go on and on, and it’s a very worthwhile exercise. So whilst you do your end of year planning, how about taking some time to write down everything you are grateful for in your life? Even better, make gratitude a regular, even daily practice.