Goals and gratitude have to be 2 of the hottest topics right now, and for good reason. As you may know, tons of research has been released showing that practicing gratitude and goal setting are key in your journey to success. What you might not know is how tightly knit gratitude and setting and achieving your goals are.
What is gratitude?
Being #gratefulthankfulblessed doesn't mean obnoxiously waving THANK YOU SO MUCH when someone lets you into traffic, or writing chapters in a gratitude journal every night (although these are great starts).
What it does mean though, is taking a few moments every day for self-reflection. It means acknowledging the things that went right in your day and being thankful for the circumstances that allowed it. It means making a conscious decision to recognize the people/places/things who made you your happiest today.
Why is gratitude important?
Gratitude has tons of benefits. One of the most obvious though, is its ability to change your perspective and become a more positive and optimistic thinker. Practicing gratitude allows you to take a moment out of your day to “enjoy the journey rather than the destination”. Gratitude creates mental discipline and puts you in a happier, healthier frame of mind.
By acknowledging the things that have gone right in your day and make you the happiest, you are priming your brain. This means you are setting up your subconscious mind to be more observant of these good things, and also to recognize and attract more situations where these great things present themselves.
Practicing gratitude puts the law of attraction into action.
So what does gratitude have to do with goal setting?
Gratitude’s relationship to goal setting is two-fold.
1. Practicing gratitude helps to guide you to what your goals should be.
Writing down what you are grateful for every day allows you to create a data log. It is something you can look back on and determine patterns and recurring themes. By understanding yourself and identifying what brings you the most gratitude and joy in your day to day life, you are better able to pick out that big fat goal that will not only make you feel accomplished, but also FULFILLED, satisfied and HAPPY.
Maybe your recurring theme is education. You are grateful you got to learn spanish in school because now you can travel and communicate with exponentially more people. Or maybe everyday you are grateful for home cooking/meal prepping or friendship. Determining your patterns of what brings you the most joy and gratitude in your life should guide your goal setting. Aim to meal prep every week, learn something or attend a webinar every week, or keep a goal to keep in touch with distant friends once a week!
2. Practicing gratitude makes you more likely to achieve your goals.
Once you have determined your goals, writing them down makes you 5 times more likely to achieve them.
Furthermore, writing down a few things you are grateful every day, or mentally contemplating and saying them out loud, has also been shown to increase your likelihood of achieving these goals. There are many hypotheses as to why this works, but creating a positive, forward-thinking mindset and priming your mind to attract future opportunities are 2 of them.
How do I start?
Take a couple minutes, maybe while your brushing your teeth, to think of some things you are grateful today. As many as you like, but 5 is a great start. Say them out loud, or better, write them down.
I blocked off a little section in my daily planner with 5 bullet points. Before bed, I write down my to do list for the next day, 3 things that went well to celebrate today and 5 gratitudes.
When it came time to set some 2020 goals, as a new business owner, they were all numbers. Boring numbers, based on no more than that from what I had learned and observed, were realistic and achievable numbers. See x number patients, make x number dollars, etc.
However, you achieve those numbers and then what? These goals aligned with my value of wanting to be a successful business owner, but I have more ambitions than that!
Then, I grabbed my planner and I looked back and searched for recurring themes in the things that I was grateful for every day. What I found was my relationships with people and time spent with loved ones brought me the most joy and gratitude.
So I restructured these goals through the lens of "what makes me the happiest every day"! Seeing x number patients every day might be great, but having x number of patients that I have a great, trusting, doctor-patient relationship with, and creating a community through my work would make me happiest.
Making x number of dollars would be amazing, but making x number dollars so I can plan a trip to see my faraway family and a trip to see my faraway friends would make me so much happier.
Set goals that matter, with gratitude as your guiding post.
Have a #gratefulthankfulblessed 2020, and go get those big fat hairy goals!!