I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape.
I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.
“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.
Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.
Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.
How to Practice Gratitude
- At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
- During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
- Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.
An image I posted
on Insta got
I told the cat this as
I cleaned her box.
I said again. She jumped
in, peed, got out,
and moved to the next thing.
don’t change the fact
that I clean a cat box.
Our best selves don’t happen by accident.
Most of us don’t just fall into our dream jobs or instantly have the lives we want. In fact, most people who succeed have been quietly working at it for a very long time. They’ve been making steady progress.
The good news is that success is replicable. By following these three steps, we can each create the lives we want for ourselves:
- Picture it. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then act as if you’re already there.
What does it feel like and look like? Imagine a movie of your ideal life playing on a screen and then step into it. Let yourself experience the joy of this new life.
- Plan it. When you’re in this joyous state, list out the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal. Begin with the end in mind, as the late leadership expert Stephen Covey said.
- Take intentional action. Take your list of steps and break them into bite-sized tasks, then put each of the tasks onto your calendar.
The idea here is to keep the tasks small. That way, you’re taking baby steps toward your goal while still managing your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s this steadiness that leads to success.
Whatever you want to accomplish, there is no perfect time to begin. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goals.
How would it feel if you gave yourself
permission to reimagine
what you view as true?
If you shoved the lead door of “I can’t” open just enough to
get a glimpse of daylight,
to peek at possibilities?
If you unchained yourself
from having to be right, and
from doing things the way they’ve
always been done,
how could you better
be the person
the world needs you to be?