Home » 21 Day Mini-Course: Establish a Gratitude Practice » Day 4: Choose Your Gratitude Practice

Day 4: Choose Your Gratitude Practice

Yesterday you identified how you want to feel and the types of behaviors that already make you feel that way. Today, it’s time to choose your new habit. Take out your worksheet from yesterday (“Decide How You Want to Feel”), and look at your list.

HomeworkWhat To Do Today

Task #1: Pick a gratitude practice. Here are two ways to decide.

Look at your list of what you want to feel, and pick what you MOST want to feel. Which gratitude practice most reliably makes you feel that way?

For example, one gratitude practice I’ve done before that makes me feel happy and blissed out is photographing something I feel grateful for on my walks — it tunes me in to nature. Another gratitude practice that makes me feel loving and connected is to reflect on something I appreciate about another person, and to jot that down or share my appreciation with them in a quick note or text. Neither of these practices were habits for me.

I decided that I’d like to feel more loving and connected with this new habit (cause you can’t go wrong with love), and so that is what I MOST want to feel. Writing down or sharing what I appreciate about someone else reliably makes me feel loving and connected.

Choose the highlighted activity that you like the best. What activity will you look forward to? What feels fun? What seems easy? What could actually count as play, or as a leisure activity?

I’M SERIOUS. If your habit feels like a chore, or it feels hard, or if it feels like work…YOU WON’T DO IT IN THE LONG RUN. If it is something you feel like you “should” do, but that you don’t actually want to do… eventually you won’t do it at all.

For now, pick just one activity to start with. My strong suggestion is to pick low hanging fruit, people. This is the behavior that you want to do the most.

Task #2: Give yourself permission to do something fun and easy. To take time for yourself. You have a choice: Do something hard and ambitious for a short period of time and then quit it, or do something fun or relaxing for the rest of your life. I promise, the people who know about these things (like your doctor, therapist, or coach) want you to pick the gratitude practice that you are going to stick with. This program is about hardwiring a gratitude habit into your brain that you can build on later.

Other people, women especially, struggle with this fun and easy criteria because it feels selfish to them. Their own needs lose out to the needs of the people and institutions around them–their kids, spouse, boss, business, etc. “This leads to a disturbing paradox,” writes Michelle Segar in No Sweat “When we do not prioritize our own self-care because we are busy serving others, our energy is not replenished. Instead, we are exhausted, and our ability to be there for anyone or anything else is compromised.” So it isn’t at all selfish to take care of yourself in a way that is fun, that will truly replenish you, and that will make you feel happier and healthier for the rest of your lifetime. Gratitude—and the happiness and connection it creates—is essential if you want to make a difference in the world.