#30DaysofGratitude: Building Habits


A stack of cards ready to go out

Today is Day 18, over halfway through 30 Days of Gratitude. I'm thrilled to report that I've written a full 18 thank you notes so far, although my writing practice has not been daily. Instead, I've written in sprints, completing several cards at a time.

My greatest struggle is keeping up the practice of daily writing, and is at the top of my 2012 First Quarter priority list. Little projects like these are an excellent nudge to keep me on track.


My favorite card so far, from Black Heart Letterpress

As I write the thank you cards, I've been asking myself the following questions:

  • Who taught me a new skill?
  • Who gave me an unexpected opportunity?
  • Who helped me view my world in a new light?
  • Who showed me kindness?

I find that as I'm writing one card, the idea for the next recipient pops into my mind. I reach the end of the card and I don't want to stop writing. As I go through my day, the little moments of kindness stand out more clearly. Gratitude begets gratitude.

Andrew and I got into an argument earlier this week that stemmed from a lingering lack of gratitude. We spend so much time together that we forget to acknowledge each other, to say thank you, to go beyond saying"I love you" and actually express it in deeds. Neglect begets anger.

As I review 2011, both to express my gratitude and to craft my goals for 2012, I see the ways in which small actions and risks have big results. My approach to 2011 was chaotic, drifting from one whim to another. I'm excited to take the lessons I've learned from 2011's successes and failures and put them to work building purposeful habits for 2012. Just as writing daily, exercising, and eating right are important habits, so too is the daily expression of gratitude.

Do me a favor, right now. Step away from the computer, give someone you love a hug and say "thank you, I appreciate you."