One Simple Hack to Be A Thankful Person

When it comes to fighting off worry, anxiety, sadness, and discontentment, there may be no better life hack than the practice of gratitude. There is now significant science around the many benefits of being a thankful person (not to mention, being a more awesome person to be around!).

During this Thanksgiving week, are you up to start one simple habit to maintain a thankful perspective? It’ll take a good 5 minutes, but can drastically improve the other 10,075 minutes of your week — yes, it improves your sleep minutes, too ;).

  1. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Slow down for a second. Take a couple of deep breathes. Think about this past week’s victories, moments, interactions, accomplishments – both big and small. Don’t worry if the list isn’t complete or pretty. Don’t even worry if your list is cheesy. But get it all down.
  2. Email it to yourself, scheduling it to hit your inbox one week from now. (instructions for Gmail, Outlook)
  3. When you receive the email a week later, read through the list and add to it. Highlight a few items. Edit a few items with more description. Add a little note to one you are especially grateful for. Remind your future self to be grateful for something about to happen.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 every week.

It’s as simple as that. You’ve now just given yourself a personalized weekly reminder of to practice gratitude.

Here’s my list collected over a few months of doing this:

  1. Great coffee
  2. Orange/pink/purple sunsets with clouds
  3. Forgiveness from God and others
  4. That first bite into a great meal
  5. Being a dad
  6. Being a husband
  7. Being a brother
  8. Being an uncle
  9. Being accepted even while being warty
  10. Hitting a personal record on an Olympic lift
  11. Mindless action movies
  12. Family farms
  13. The lime tree near us
  14. Freedom to choose
  15. Guacamole with just the right amount of lemon
  16. The wind and the shade on a hot day
  17. The peeking sun on a cold day
  18. Friendships
  19. Occasional, random instant chemistry with a new friend
  20. That I can type my thoughts here instead of writing them
  21. People with great curiosity
  22. Good bye kiss from the wife in the morning
  23. Facetime, I can talk to anyone even from the remote places of the earth
  24. That last lift in a tough crossfit WOD
  25. Those crane grabbing prize machines in arcades
  26. Craftsman who love their craft
  27. Quotes that suddenly pierce through the cloud of lalaland
  28. Fermented vegetables in just about every major culture
  29. Awesome nieces
  30. Oh, and a pretty awesome nephew (Nathan, I’d be surprised if you’re reading this)
  31. How the human body heals itself
  32. Simple ideas that have worked through their complexity
  33. Stillness in the early morning
  34. Hot showers
  35. Watching grandkids play with grandparents
  36. Kids eating ice cream
  37. Hot sauce of every kind
  38. Being able to laugh
  39. Perspective
  40. Time, today
  41. iPhone
  42. eBooks
  43. That feeling of zapping a mosquito with a zapper
  44. A good nap
  45. YouTube
  46. Purpose and calling
  47. Minions
  48. Teachers, coaches, and mentors
  49. Discovering an insect you’ve never seen before
  50. People who have little but are so grateful
  51. Spare tires


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