Happy December! As we approach 2020, not only is it a new year, but a new decade. A chance to truly take ownership over our lives and create the life we want for ourselves.
“The fastest was to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit.”- Tom Ziglar.
Each day for the month of December I’m going to share a good habit I developed that has helped me change my life, in hopes that I may be able to encourage others. I will rotate through the Wheel of Life, so we touch on all components of our lives.
Habit: Gratitude as my first and last thoughts of the day
The first spoke I’m going to touch on is mental. A few years ago I was REALLY struggling internally. On the outside I had a huge smile and appeared happy to everyone around me, but inside I was suffering. We had many stressors coming at us from every direction, and it caused me to lose my joy. I didn’t know how to get it back.
Then, I heard a message that quoted one of my favorite scriptures, James 1. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance ”
I was reminded that during the tribulations we say thank you because these are the moments that shape us, refine us, and grow us. And in the best of times, we say thank you. On the good days and the bad, there is reason to be grateful.
I started beginning and ending my day with gratitude. In the mornings, before I looked at the time or my phone I would realize I had woken up to experience another day, and I would say thank you. Before bed I would put the phone away, rest my head on the pillow and lay there thinking of things I was grateful for as I fell asleep. I noticed that soon after I began this habit, the joy began to re-enter my life. It was all mental. I had to re-frame the way I was seeing the experiences around me.
This habit really paid off when my family faced our hardest trial yet. When my son was 2 months old we had to call 911 because he could hardly breath. He and I were whisked away on an ambulance and transferred to a Pediatric ICU for 7 days where he was put on life support fighting off RSV. It was a total of 11 days in the hospital and we came very close to losing him.
By this point, gratitude had become such an ingrained habit that it was my default method for seeing the world. In the midst of chaos, all I knew was to find the joy where I could. I survived every day through that season by being immensely grateful for the people who showed us kindness, the staff at the hospital who were absolutely amazing, the family and friends who rallied around us, my co-workers who picked up my slack so I could be there with him the whole time and the list goes on. In a dark time, through my tears, through my heartache, I never lost the joy because of the gratitude.
As you prepare for 2020, consider what habits you could create that would allow you to experience more gratitude.