John Kralik wrote a wonderful book, 365 Thank Yous: How a Simple Act of Gratitude Changed My Life. Here is how the book is described on the jacket:
One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams—including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge—seemed to have slipped beyond his reach.
Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year’s Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn’t have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had.
Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal—come what may—of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year.
Isn’t that an intriguing idea? Mr. Kralik wrote notes to people he had never thought to thank before. He even wrote one to the young man at the coffee shop because every day when he served John coffee, he remembered John’s name.
My good friend, Karen, gave me the book. She has a knack for finding really good books that give a clear life message in a very entertaining way. Her outlook on life is always positive. For example, on her birthday she is going to do a random act of kindness for every year that she has been alive. She is afraid that she won’t be able to do sixty-nine random acts of kindness all in one day so she has asked fifteen of her closest friends to each do one for her. Can’t wait!
Our good friend, Oprah, said, “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today is to start being grateful for what you have right now. No gesture is too small when done with gratitude.”
If you want to lead a life of gratitude try these tips from Oprah:
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Every day find five things that make you grateful. They could be as simple as being grateful for the pretty sunset or a call from a friend.
2. Take a walk around your neighborhood and pay attention to what you hear, see, and smell. Find things for which you should be grateful.
3. When you wake up in the morning, look for things for which to be thankful instead of dreading what might come with the day. You will be more receptive to good things that will come your way.
I heard that the two biggest new year resolutions are to exercise more and to lose weight. I am thinking that exersicing more gratitude and losing a negative attitude might produce results that are just as good.
I am grateful that you readers have visited my little blog more than 3,500 times since I started it last September. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read my little offerings. I have enjoyed writing them and look forward to what might appear in 2013.
So, in a spirit of gratitude, here are five things I am grateful for today:
1. I was able to get the Christmas tree down and the decorations are put away.
2. I had a great conversation with my friend Sandy who always makes me laugh.
3. The leftovers I defrosted were still tasty.
4. I watched the HGTV Dream Home show and I am pretty sure that I will win the home this year.
5. The computer guy was able to fix my printer.
That wasn’t hard!
I challenge you to show more gratitude. Take out some paper and write thank you notes to the friends and family who sent you Christmas presents. You may not be able to write one thank you note every day for 365 days like John Kralik. If you do, then good for you! Be grateful for what you have.
We all need to be happy. As I say in this blog, “Create and be happy.” There is a lot of joy to be found in arranging flowers, writing a poem, setting a pretty table and cooking a meal for your family.
Thank you for stopping to read this post. Happy New Year!