In preparation for Thanksgiving this year, we’re going to do a practical gratitude exercise. This is Thanksgiving week. (YAY!) Think about where you were last year at this time: how old were your kids? who was with you Thanksgiving week? where were you? what were you working on? what things were you wishing you were doing better?
Do not focus on the negative. Life happens. Maybe this year had a lot of bad things happen. Now is not the time to talk about those.
Focus on the growth. Pick (at least) 2 things that are better this year than last year.
My Grateful Year-in-Review:
Though I could pick a whole bunch of things, I’ll stick with just a couple of things:
- Last year, I was pining about how I was failing at two main goals: exercising consistently and learning Cambodian. This year, I’ve actually made headway on these two things! First, I got a buddy for exercising and signed myself up for a couple of classes (Piyo and Water Aerobics if you really want to know). Then, I found a Cambodian teacher and started lessons via Skype. Having classes (especially ones I pay for!) holds me accountable do doing something. I’m feeling stronger physically and am actually making progress on learning Cambodian!
- Last year, we were actively updating our house for the Alaska Energy Rebate Program. Our evenings were spent crawling around the crawlspace, calculating material costs, and updating everything in our home as quickly as possible before the program deadline. This year, I can say that we’ve enjoyably wasted some time in the evenings and have only done two minor house projects this entire year! (Mr. T updated the cracked counter top in the kids’ bathroom & added a belt drive to our garage door so the noise wouldn’t shake the house every time the door opened.)
- Last year, we were actively preparing creations for a Christmas bazaar. We were forcing it to work and we really didn’t enjoy the process at all. It turns out, we hated selling at the bazaar as well. We took a step back from the whole project. This past weekend, we revived our Etsy shop, but we’re not actively marketing it or selling at any events. We don’t want creativity to turn into the miserable experience it did last year.
Step Backs and Move Forwards
Again, we’re not focusing on the negative here, but you’ll realize that my three examples showed that we’ve consciously stepped back in some areas (house updates and art selling) and taken steps forward in other directions (learning Cambodian and consistently exercising).
During this review, be sure to consider step-backs as potential opportunities for gratitude. I am grateful art creation has returned to bringing us joy because we’ve stepped back from actively trying to make it a side hustle. I am grateful I get to spend my evenings relaxing instead of learning the inner-workings of insulation and which spider carcasses are hiding in my crawlspace.
How to Perform Your Own Grateful Year-in-Review:
- Make a list of things you were doing, thinking about, and worrying about a year ago. Look on your calendar from a year ago, browse your old blog posts, read your journal entries. It’s fun looking back.
- Cross off everything that is the same… but be careful here. Most things are bound to have changed. Mr. T has a calendar reminder to take the recycling out on Wednesday nights. That hasn’t changed. I still blog consistently, but a lot has changed in a year on the blog (new friends! new inspiration! lessons I’ve learned!). So, I crossed off “take out the recycling” but not “blogging.”
- For the ones remaining on the list, write how they’ve changed (as I did in bullet #2 for blogging). Again, focus on the good.
This grateful year-in-review will also help set you up to make goals for the next year because you’ll have a better sense of what you like about life now vs. last year and what things you would change for next year. But remember, this week, focus on the gratitude!