Friday, November 2, 2012

The Gratitude Challenge




The Gratitude Challenge

This is a 20-day project created to help you live with an attitude of gratitude.  I created this from a variety of sources and my own ideas, and they are all simple and doable with a busy schedule.  If you choose to do the challenge, decide before you start what time of the day you will complete the challenge.  For me, that will ensure that I complete it everyday!  Some of the challenges require you to be thinking throughout the day so a good time of day would be in the first half.   I made my challenge into a little booklet for myself and the young women in my ward.    If you do the challenge, let me know what you thought of it afterwards.  And feel free to share it with your friends and family!  Eli and I are going to do this together and I'm excited to fill our minds and hearts with thoughts of gratitude this month.   Enjoy!!!

“My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.

“A grateful heat, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives.  This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude.” 
Thomas S. Monson

Day 1

Use the alphabet as a fun and quick format for making a list of things for which you feel grateful.  Write it in your journal (any form - written or electronic) and share it with a family member or friend.

Day 2

Write in your journal in gratitude for some of the “negative” things or trials in your life.  

Elder Robert D. Hales expressed that, “Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure.”

Day 3

Verbally express gratitude for your blessings throughout the day.  There are so many little things every day to be grateful for.  When you first become aware of a blessing, your feeling of gratitude can be strengthened by immediately expressing thanks.  You could even keep a list of these things on a google document if you use a computer for a lot of the day, on a piece of paper, in a little notepad carried in your purse, or on your phone.

Day 4

Dedicate an entire prayer to your expressions of gratitude.  Don’t ask for anything.  Be specific; go beyond the obvious. See how exhaustive you can be. Discover the truth in the lines “And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” (From the song “Count Your Many Blessings”)

Day 5

Take five minutes to write about how grateful you are for all of the wonderful things that you currently have in your life. Don’t long for what you don’t possess—instead, take stock of all the blessings you already enjoy.  After listing obvious blessings, shift to “smaller” blessings such as running water, a phone call from a friend, and so forth.

Day 6

Eliminate ungrateful thoughts and complaining.  When something happens and you want to complain, immediately find something to be grateful for.

Day 7

Take a picture of one thing, person, place or specific moment that makes you feel grateful. Share it with your family.  If you use facebook, share it with your friends on there.

Day 8

Express gratitude to at least 2 people who deserve a little recognition.  For example, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches.  You can call them on the phone or write a thank you card or email.  Be specific about the details of kindness toward you and how it affected you.  This will lift both you and the person receiving the gratitude.

Day 9

Think of your talents and spiritual gifts and list them in your spiritual journal. Pray with gratitude for these gifts and ask for ways that you can use one or more of them to bless the lives of others.  Heavenly Father has given you these gifts for a reason and will use you to bless lives.  

Day 10

Pick one of your five senses to focus on  today. Take note of how many gifts come to you through that one sense. Write about this experience.

Day 11

Pick three friends or family members you see regularly. View their actions and gestures through a positive lens, assuming their goodness and witnessing their best intentions.  Write them a note of gratitude for who they are and write in your journal about why you are grateful for them in your life.

Day 12

Open your arms in service to others.  Pray to Heavenly Father throughout the day that He will use you to bless the lives of others.  Then look for opportunities to help and lift those around you and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  We render thanks to God by loving and serving those around us.  The blessings that come from opening our arms to others are among the choicest this earth has to offer.

Day 13

Take the time to focus on yourself. Appreciate and give thanks for your unique personality, skills and talents.  Share them with a friend/family member or write them in your journal.

Day 14

Stand in front of the mirror for five minutes and focus on at least five things that you love about yourself. Write them down in your journal.

Day 15

Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today.  Don’t just say what it is; include details and emotions about why you are grateful for that experience, person, or thing.

Day 16

Read scriptures about gratitude.  Use the topical guide or bible dictionary to help you search for these scriptures.

Day 17

Read a talk or speech by a religious leader about gratitude.  Go to lds.org and search “gratitude” in the search box at the top of the screen.  Or search speeches.byu.edu.  There are so many very great speeches and talks on both of these websites.    

Day 18

Look back at your life and write about an experience or moment that you are grateful for.  It could be a moment that helped you become a better person, gain a stronger testimony of the Gospel, help you get to where you are today, etc.  

Day 19

Choose a challenge from any of the previous 18 days and do it again!

Day 20

Think about how the gratitude challenge has helped you gain an attitude of gratitude in life.  Reflect on what this process has meant to you.  Write your thoughts in your journal and share them with a family member or friend.  

To go along with this, I also listen to gratitude songs throughout the month of November.  Here's what's on my playlist: (I'd love more suggestions if you have any!)

"Thankful" by Josh Groban
"Thankful Heart" from the Muppet Christmas Carol
"Simple Gifts" by Hilary Weeks
"Simple Gifts" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
"But Thanks be to God" from Handel's Messiah
"For the Beauty of the Earth" - a few different versions

Finally, there are so many talks and speeches by religious leaders about gratitude available for free download on the internet.  Last year, I uploaded these speeches and talks to my ishuffle and listened to them as I ran, drove in the car, and cleaned the house.  It really brought the spirit of gratitude into my heart!  See Day 17 for where to find these talks and speeches.

Bonnie D. Parkin taught that “[God] has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.”


I'm excited to do the gratitude challenge this month and really reflect on how incredibly blessed I am.   Having an attitude of gratitude most definitely makes a person happier! Happy Gratitude Month!!!!








2 comments:

Heather said...

This is really cool, Sara. You are amazing!

Erin L said...

You are such a good example of all these things. I've been such a complainer lately, I think I need to take on the challenge.