baby steps | give (and receive) thanks

Thanks. It’s one of those words we automatically drop.

So this month—appropriately the month many of us celebrate Thanksgiving and post about gratitude on social media, your baby step to health is to give thanks—and do it well!

What does that look like?

Catch yourself saying “Thanks,” then rewind and rephrase it. Well, it’s hard to rewind, so think about adding to it.

adding to thanks

It’s really easy to add to a simple thank you.

Start by thanking someone for what they did / what they gave you. We’re super quick to complain about someone’s poor service and slow (or completely fail) to acknowledge the good service. Think about it: how often do people post a terrible review vs. a glowing one?

  • To the customer service rep (yes, even the surly one): Thank you for taking the time to deal with this—I’m sure your day is full of tasks like this!
  • To the mail delivery person: Thank you for doing this no matter what the weather is—I’m sure you’d rather be home safe and warm right about now.
  • To that friend who is always there with a shoulder to lean (or cry) on: Thank you for being there for me—I’m so glad you’re part of my village!
  • To the child who is making an effort (and occasionally succeeding): Thank you for  taking all your stuff to your room rather than leaving it on the kitchen counter.

showing appreciation

Ready to uplevel?

Try appreciating someone for who they are rather than what they do.

  • To the nice customer service rep: I really appreciate your friendly smile—it’s made a bad day better.
  • To a child: I really appreciate that you’re a morning person—makes my life so much easier!
  • To a partner: I really appreciate how considerate you are—I never have to ask you to take out the trash/unload the dishwasher/etc.

recognize the difference

The ultimate statement of gratitude, according to gratitude expert Mary Ceccanese, has three parts:

  1. The gratitude
  2. The recognition of what was done/appreciation for the doer
  3. The explanation of the difference it has made for you

And it sounds like this:

  • Thank you for proofreading my cover letter! I appreciate how much attention you pay to detail because you’ve made it much stronger, and I’m much more optimistic about my chances to get this job.
  • Thank you for driving the car pool an extra day this week. You made it possible for me to finish up that big project at work so I could spend more time with my family this weekend.
  • Thank you for finishing up this report. I’m trying really hard to exercise every day, and by being able to leave it in your capable hands, I’ll be able to keep on track with that goal.
  • Thank you for taking the time to explain this process to me so clearly—I’ll be able to do it myself with confidence from now on!

prepare yourself

People often don’t expect to be thanked—especially not so thoroughly and so well—so prepare yourself for a few blank stares and dropped jaws. It’s okay—you may just make their day!

And prepare yourself to receive thanks; quite often, we receive thanks about the same way we receive compliments—poorly!

So as part of your practice this month, try to accept the thanks you get—whether well or poorly delivered—with grace. Think: full sentences.

  • You’re welcome—please reach out any time. (Yes, you have to mean it, or don’t say it.)
  • You’re so welcome—I’m glad I could be of help to someone who’s been of so much help to me.
  • You’re very welcome—it makes me feel good to make a difference.

A final piece of advice: never, ever underestimate the power of a handwritten note: writing thank-you notes is becoming a lost art—don’t let it die out completely! (Yup, I’m THAT mother that always insisted my kids do it—and now they do it without being told. Most of the time.)

thank YOU!

Ready? Here goes:

Thank you all for being part of my online (and IRL) village: knowing you and having the chance to be in touch with you in person, by text, by Zoom, by phone, and by email helps me wake up every day ready to do the work I love!

make the connection

This is the eleventh challenge in a 12-part series that will run for all of 2022: every month, I’ll share a small, simple, sustainable shift to make on your way to healthier food and lifestyle choices. By the end of the year, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your health! (And LOOK! We’re almost there.)

“A YEAR?!? But that’s so long,” you may be thinking. Remember: a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

Let me ask you this: how long have you been making poor food and lifestyle choices? I’ll bet it’s been more than a year, maybe even more than a decade….

And those poor choices have resulted in poor health.

The good news is that you can reverse the downward trend by making better choices, and the only way those will stick is if you make them one baby step at a time.

Practice giving and receiving thanks with grace for the month of November and beyond—then come back for our last Baby Step to Health in December! Want to make sure you don’t miss a single challenge? Join my email list.