Baby steps

Baby Step #10 | An attitude of gratitude

This is the tenth of a 12-part series titled “Baby Steps.” On the first of each month, I post 1 tiny step toward better health that you can take every day for that month – practically without trying. Soon, that tiny step will be part of your daily routine, and you won’t even remember you never did it before. The next month, add the next baby step. By the end of 2016, you’ll have accumulated 12 new healthy habits, and you’ll notice a difference – not day to day, perhaps, but definitely between any before and after photos you might take and any journal entries you might make. Check in during each month with a comment below and/or on Facebook – I’d love to hear about your progress!

If you’re new to the Baby Step series, you can catch up on the first 9 months by following the links below:

  1. starting your day with lemon water
  2. pausing to breathe
  3. eating your greens daily,
  4. turning off all screens at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime
  5. switching to sea salt in your kitchen.
  6. asking yourself, “Why is this happening for me (as opposed to to me)?”
  7. curing the sugar blues
  8. moving from “I have to” to “I get to”
  9. try on a new eating style

If you’ve been following along all year, how’s that all going? What’s been easy? What’s been more difficult?

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since we started this series? I hope that you have lived into a few new healthy habits in the past nine months and are still working on others, whether of your own choosing or based on my suggestions above.

Last month’s baby step was to try on a new eating style: like curing the sugar blues (baby step 7), it is one of the harder ones to undertake, so don’t worry if you’re still working up to making that a regular habit. If you succeeded, how are you feeling? Is it a style you can stick to for the foreseeable future? Keep in mind that changes in your age and stage of life might necessitate more shifts in the future, and don’t be afraid to make them again.

if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it

For this month, we’re turning our focus back to developing habits of a healthy mindset. If you’ve ever worked with me as a coaching client, you know that the first question I ask at each session is, “What’s new and good?” (I’ve even had clients tell me that they prepare for this question: “Oh no, I need to have an answer to that by the time we talk!”)

Why ask that question? Have you ever noticed what happens when you ask, “What’s new?” or “How are you?” I think that nine times out of ten, we get a litany of, “Oh my gosh, I’m exhausted, my job is killing me, my kids are driving me crazy, my husband/wife doesn’t help me enough, blah blah blah….”

And if you ask, “What’s new and good?” you may just get a surprised look, a laugh…and a more positive answer.

There are more and more people talking about the power of positive thoughts, and the quickest way to fill your head with them is to practice being grateful—develop an attitude of gratitude.

There is no right or wrong way to develop a gratitude practice—try one of the following once a day for the next month:

  • Start your day off on a positive note by listing 3-5 things you’re grateful for right after you wake up, before you even get up: it can be as basic as having had a good night’s sleep or having a bed in which to sleep or a new day or the sun coming into the room….
  • Take a moment to give thanks for the food you are preparing and/or eating: include the farmers who grew it, the earth, air, sun, and water that nourished it, the creatures who pollinated the plants, those who picked it, those who transported it, prepared it….
  • End your day in gratitude by listing 3-5 things that happened that day for which you are thankful: time with family, meaningful work, a success at work or school….

Need more ideas? Check out A Network for Gratefulness, where you can even sign up to get a daily quote about gratitude. I make it a habit to open that email first every morning as soon as I’m ready to log in to work for the day.

As always, work toward making this a habit, journal what you notice about your practice and about how you feel over the coming weeks, and let me know in the comments how it’s going!

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