Monday, December 30, 2013

Creating a Year of Gratefulness

Over the years I've slowly let go of the tradition of making new year's resolutions, largely because I am someone who tries to challenge myself in all areas of my life throughout the year - as soon as I am enticed by some new activity or goal, I like beginning the journey towards it immediately rather than waiting until some artificially "perfect" start date.

This year has been huge for me in accomplishing some of my biggest life goals - including adopting a compassionate diet, making yoga a regular part of each day/week and coming more in-tune to my true self's voice and desires. But one of the largest transformations I've noticed in myself over the last few years has been my attitude. I will admit that while growing up, almost any activity felt like a chore, and even the idea of having to do something made it that much less appealing. I wouldn't say I always saw the glass as half-empty, but it wasn't until these middle-twenties that I learned how to "do what you love and love what you do".
I've learned that a large part of doing what you love and loving what you do is deliberately changing your attitude and perspective to realize the beauty and joy that can come from the simplest blessings in life. Whether it's an unexpected compliment from your boss, or a friendly conversation with your check-out clerk at the grocery store, these little joys will transform your day and perspective if you let them.

I am proud of Jason and I for already establishing gratitude for these moments as a cornerstone of our family and life together, but I also think that it is something (similar to marriage) that takes daily effort and practice. So I decided to borrow and idea I've seen circulating on Pinterest and Facebook about a gratitude jar for 2014 (sadly I wasn't able to find the actual address where this image below came from so I can't give the original creator due credit):

The idea is to write down little blessings, funny memories or momentous occasions that happen throughout the year, and then go back on the following New Years to read-through and remember all the amazing things that the previous year held.

Step-by-Step How To:
First I went into Microsoft Word and changed my page size to match a 3x5 index card, then created a little sign that would remind us of the little things to document in this jar. I chose to indicate "LOL moments", "God's Presence in our Everyday Lives", "Exciting News", "Unexpected Blessings", "Accomplishments", and "Surprise Gifts":

After looking through our left-over wedding decorations I found a great fishbowl shaped jar that we had used with our candy buffet along with some other supplies: double-sided tape, colored index cards for the blessing notes, my paper cutter and a little votive candle holder to hold the blank blessing notes:

I used the double-sided tape to attach the sign to the jar, cut the colored note cards in half, and then wrote "date:" on each one so that we would remember to put the date onto the cards as we filled up our jar throughout the year:

Then I just place all the little note cards into the votive holder and Voila!

I would always roll my eyes when I heard others say things like, "Life is what you make it" or "It's all what you make of it" but now I see how much happier, exciting and peaceful life can be when you constantly remind yourself of the good things in life. Plus I think this will be a fun tradition to add to our annual new years get together with Jason's family (or even a cute way to collect memories to make a fun scrapbook page for each year with all of our memories and blessings).

Happy New Year!

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