Week One- Getting Started
This week we’ll get started on The Appreciation Project (TAP), growing a thankful heart. An attitude of gratitude is beneficial to you and those around you. Do you find it hard to be grateful? Are things around you gloomy? Life can seem that way.
If you have grown a spirit of gratefulness it will be easier to find something good in every situation. Being thankful seems to comes easy for some people. Playing a piano seems to be simple for some people too. One thing these people have in common is practice. Playing a piano is not something you just decide to do one day and walk to a piano and play a piece by Mozart. You start simple and practice.
The term practice makes perfect comes to mind. That is what The Appreciation Project aims to do. Make sure you print out a copy of Week 1 activities. Keep it handy to be reminded of each day’s activity. This week we will start simple.
Day 1- Get or make a Gratitude journal.
You can go as simple or extravagant as you like. Get something that is easy to write in. Something that invites you to write in it. I chose a small spiral notebook with a pretty flower and verse on the front. It spoke to me!
Day 2- List 2 things you are grateful for (do this daily).
Some days are easier than other to think of things you are grateful for. Start simple. Don’t overthink it. Jot down the first two things that come to mind. For this one though only think of things, not people or events. I modified this for my children and I had them tell theirs at the table. One child said he was thankful for “cheese”; obviously, we were having cheese with our dinner and he likes cheese. My other son said “food”, he expanded to all food. Both things were visibly right in front of them as something to be thankful for. That’s OK though. It got them to think. Put the date in your journal and simply write two things and you’re done.
Day 3- Pick one thing you are grateful for & write why.
Today think of something different form yesterday. Again, think of a thing and not a person. With this one once you write it in your journal, expand on it. Write why you are thankful for it. When my son expanded on being thankful for food he said he was thankful for food because it was good, helps keep us alive and not everyone has what they need to be healthy. This will help you to start thinking a little deeper about why you may be thankful for something.
Day 4- List 2 people you are grateful for (after today write a total of 2 people or items each day).
Today think of people only, not things. This can be harder. No one needs to read your journal so write the first person that comes to mind. Don’t worry about offending someone for not listing them first. This is an exercise to get you thinking about gratefulness. You’ll be choosing more people as the project progresses. For this exercise only write the person’s name. Don’t expand on it just yet. Your people may be your parents, children, spouse, best friend, co-worker, teacher, etc. The list is endless. Simply choose the first two people who pop into your mind.
After today’s activities continue writing everyday two people or two things (or a combo of a person and an item) that you are thankful for. Do this in addition to the other activities to keep you thinking of all the people that have come into your life and the things that have brought you happiness, relief or given you good memories.
Day 5- Pick one person you are grateful for & write why.
In this exercise, you will think of only one person. Once you have this person written down, expand on it. Why are you thankful for them? Are they kind, treat you well, taught you something or some other reason? Remember no one will be checking this so no worries about hurting anyone’s feelings for not putting them down. My youngest was thankful for me. It made me feel good to hear him say this. He explained he was thankful because I was his mom, did nice things for him, took him places and took care of him. Straightforward things to say but they are true and he became aware of them having never considered it before.
Day 6– Pick another item or person and explain.
Today choose either an item or a person. Once you have thought of it write it down and expand on what about the item or the person makes you thankful for them. These are baby steps but you can make great strides towards your end goal working through them.
Day 7- Reflect on the week’s writings. Start a habit of writing a thankful list each day.
Today is a day of reflection. Look back on each day’s entry. Read what you wrote. Does it make you feel more appreciative of the things you wrote or the people you wrote about? Now you want to keep up what you started. Each day for the rest of the 30-day challenge continue to write a few things or people you are thankful for. Expand on at least one of them each day. Do this in addition to the activity of the day. Remember practice makes perfect. Like the piano player, you want to keep practicing what you have learned and soon we’ll start to add to your repertoire.
This week you may also want to take a look at the negative influences in your life. It is difficult to be positive and thankful when negativity surrounds you. Try to minimize them. If television programming is all negative, cut some of it out or try to find shows with a positive message.
I love crime shows. They are inherently negative. Typically, there is a happy ending, but someone always dies in them. Criminal Minds is one of my favorites. I have noticed that I seem to have a damper on my attitude when I have watched it though. Therefore, I limit how much I watch it or I will watch a funny show soon after.
Consider the phrase, what goes in must come out. The same goes for negativity and positivity. What do you want to come from you? What attitude do you want to have? Let me know how you’ve done this week.
Don’t forget to print your copy of Week 1 activities from here.
You can get your printable of the entire 30-Day Challenge here.
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