I’ve been reading a lot about personal development including blogs and books on the subject. Invariably, you’ll hear a lot of people talk about becoming grateful about everything that happens to you and for you. I remember a while back watching Oprah talk about how she maintains a gratitude journal and showed a clip of her interviewing Lady Gaga who said she took Oprah’s suggestion of creating a gratitude journal way before she was a popular singer. I remember thinking, ‘Yes, I’m grateful too!” but I never took the time to actually produce a consistent gratitude ‘journal’. It’s one thing to hear about a good idea and it’s another thing to actually ‘implement’ it.
Now remember I was saying before, in the past, I used to write out like 15-20 goals each year and it was just overwhelming? It was part of the legacy ‘perfectionist’ attitude I carried which ultimately gave me an excuse, or cop out, to give up. After hearing things over and over, one day I realized, instead of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I wanted to actually change what I was doing. I started with only picking a couple goals to focus on each year and with little achievable (quick win) habits I can easily track daily to see my progress. Not only has it been working and improving my self-efficacy, I now feel so much better knowing I am making small changes and it feels good to see the baby steps in action.
Getting back to gratitude. About a year ago, I decided I needed to take action around gratitude. I have been extremely grateful but I wasn’t committed to writing it down in a journal. For some reason, writing it down is critical. Last year, I started with writing 3 things a day. It was spotty in the beginning (I didn’t track my habits last year) but then I started following a cadence to coincide with my prayer/meditation in the mornings. It was easy at first, but then, I really had to think about what I wrote because I wanted this to be a deep exercise. I wanted it to have true ‘meaning’ to me about what I was REALLY grateful for in my life. Instead of things that felt shallow at the time to just check the box on my ‘to do’ list for the morning but to dig deep.
It’s a year later and I continue to capture all those things I’m grateful for and let me tell you, it really makes a difference. Why? Because I started to see things differently. I capture my ideas in the morning (my handwriting isn’t the best @ 5 AM) and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. My mind is looking for those things to be grateful for instead of seeing the negative side of things. It’s subtle but definitely worth the exercise. In the past, I found myself focusing on what was missing in my life which led to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Feeling that ‘lack’ was not supporting my weight loss efforts. Instead, it was a cycle of pain and internal suffering of not feeling good enough or loved enough to make the right choices.
Weight loss takes planning and preparation. It also takes changing your thinking, beliefs, habits and behaviors. If I continue to begin to change my thinking to focus on those things I am grateful for, it helps me approach tough choices around eating. I’m convinced this is a habit that will support me through this journey and I will continue to keep you posted as I progress.