There seems to be a great partnership with #NationalGratitudeMonth and well the month that has Thanksgiving… but as I always say, why share gratitude and appreciation only one day of the year? You should share it every day.
Showing gratitude or appreciation really only takes a moment but the effects can be life changing or at least resonate well beyond the moment you share it. However words can lose meaning if they’re just words. Be sure when you express your gratitude you do it sincerely, or show it through heartfelt actions.
In honor of National Gratitude Month and celebrating what The Appreciation Factor is all about…
Here are 30 ideas to show your gratitude this month (1 for each day):
- Keep a gratitude journal or jot down 1-3 things your grateful for each day Remember, gratitude starts with you. If you’re not appreciating yourself or the things around, it’s harder to be grateful for other things and/or other people. I love the Happiness Planner there’s a space to provide things you are grateful for each day and/or each week.
- Write at least 1 thank you note per week this month
- Ideas: Colleagues, a provider (e.g., think your exercise coach, Barre3 instructor, personal trainer or even the mailman who always puts your packages under the bench to keep them hidden), your local librarian, a friend who always just seems to be there, and/or family members are just a few who I know would appreciate a heart-felt note.
- Create 10 www.kindnessrocks.org rocks and place them around your neighborhood While the movement started on the beach, I recently found one in my neighborhood (not at all near the beach) and the message was so important for me to read at that time. That rock now sits prominently on my window sill.
- Create a holiday card list Compile a list of everyone whom may have helped you this year; it can even include your boss. Getting ready now means you can beat the holiday rush and mail these out either around Thanksgiving or at the very beginning of December to cut through the clutter and make an impact.
- Volunteer Find and organization that is meaningful to you and see if you can lend a hand. Many groups have annual events that you can help staff. You can also help them with a mailing or make deliveries. How and where you help is really up to you. *I do recommend that you find an organization that you can stick with – at least for a year or two. The longer you volunteer, the more responsibilities you may be given.
- Not sure who’s looking for volunteers? Try www.volunteermatch.org which matches you with local organizations based upon your ZIP code and across multiple categories.
- Clean up We’ve all come across trash/debris during our day. Keep a garbage bag in your trunk or backpack and pick up the litter when you see in on your walk or commute. You’re saying thanks to your town/environment by keeping it a little cleaner and greener.
- Donate a book(s) to a Little Free Library We’ve all been there. We’re cleaning up our home/apartment and come across books we’ve read and just don’t have the room for anymore. Consider a neighborhood Little Free Library for these gems. The concept is that anyone can take a book and/or leave a book. Check out the link above for locations that are near you, or ask to create one in your neighborhood or town.
- Donate food to a food pantry Be grateful for your ability to buy or have food on the table by sharing food with those who may need that extra help each month.
- “Buy” Make Lunch/Dinner Keeping food allergies and preferences in mind, make or buy lunch/dinner for a friend. This is even better when it’s a surprise. It’s different way to say rather than simply sending a note or sharing it verbally.
- Donate your clothing/household items You can select the charity you prefer, but why not give life to your gently used items by donating them. (Just a FYI: Goodwill accepts all kinds of fabric scraps — from the one sock, to ripped T’s they make things from these miscellaneous items and ship them around the world.)
- Create a “Honey it’s what you Do” list Most have heard of a “Honey Do” list where you list chores and tasks you want our significant other to help you with. Instead, create a list of all of the things that make him/her special to you.
- Social shout out In a world that’s become fixated on social media, share your gratitude, recommendation and/or shout out on social for friends and colleagues to see. Everyone likes to be recognized!
- Send a small meaningful gift Keeping meaningful in mind, find a small token to show your appreciation for a friend, family member, colleague or provider. Pick something that they’ve had their eye one, one that will make them smile and/or something that they like to do. e.g., I have a friend who is addicted to iTunes. I bought a $5 card for her to buy a couple of songs to add to her collection.
- Reach out and touch someone – via the phone So often we text our conversations. Instead, pick up the phone and make it more personal with a call.
- Say thank you Some things that people do for us may seem like their job or expected. However, saying thank you to the checkout girl, sales associate, or your boss will be noticed and appreciated.
- Provide a Recommendation/Referral Provide an unsolicited, positive recommendation on LinkedIn, or offer to be a reference for a new job. Don’t wait to be asked, make the offer instead.
- Call out great service to a manager Whether it be in the retail store or at the office, making a point to call out – and be specific as possible – how someone has helped you to their manager is huge. So often managers only hear the complaints. When you are praising their employees, in a small way, you’re also praising their management. It’s a two-fer!
- Write a thank you note to a service member Being in combat or in the field can be a lonely, challenging and scary place. They may love making a difference but they miss those here at home. A note from a stranger thanking them for their contributions can brighten what may at times feel like a bleak situation. Operation Gratitude is just one organization that can help you can share your thanks with the troops.
- Pick/Buy Flowers Pick a bouquet (if out of your own yard of course!) or buy a small bunch at a florist or Trader Joe’s. Nothing perks up a day like a thank you via flowers!
- Help a family member or friend do something they need (even if it’s not something you enjoy) There are always those tasks that no one likes to do, but as their friend or family member, lighten the load and let them know you care by helping them out. (e.g., raking leaves, cleaning the house (you could clean 1 room) etc.)
- Say you’re sorry Being grateful also means that you care enough to say sorry when you’re in the wrong/have hurt someone.
- Make a gift The most appreciated gifts can be those that are homemade. Again, identify something that would be meaningful to the recipient. Do they like the beach? Make a shell collage from their favorite location.
- Visit Like our penchant for texts vs. calling, actual in-person visits are going by the way side. Find time to spend with a family member or friend and truly be in the moment with him/her. *Note this means putting down your phone while you do!
- Do the dishes or make dinner without being asked Instead of a trade-off (I cook, you clean), simply take over the clean-up or cooking.
- Lighten the load Offer to take on a colleague’s project if appropriate. You know you would appreciate the help if it were offered.
- Write yourself a “love” letter As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to appreciate yourself. Take 20 minutes to really call out what makes you special and unique from everyone else. (It’s OK to brag here.) It’s a great way to give yourself a boost if you’re feeling less than spectacular – today or in the future.
- Tell someone that they make the world a better place What a powerful statement to hear!
- Provide a Loan If you’re able, loan someone some money that s/he may need without the expectation of having it paid back. Or loan a tool/book or other object, again without expecting him/her to return it.
- Bake something Bake a sweet or savory treat for someone to show how much you care.
- Celebrate a tradition or holiday that you may not already celebrate but someone you care about does. Diversity is important, and respecting and supporting traditions and holidays that are important to those you care about shows your respect and gratitude for having them in your life.
WOW 30 ideas! Are you inspired? Don’t fret if you’ve come across this post after November 1st or even months from now. You don’t need a special day or month to share gratitude and appreciation. If you read this in mid-November, many of these ideas are easy to do and you can accomplish more than one in one day if your goal is to complete 30. However, I strongly recommend that you pick those ideas above (or create your own) that are most meaningful to you or things that you’d like to do (or things you don’t really like to do #19,) which show you care.
On December 1st, count up how many tasks you completed. How many did you cross off? I bet your outlook on life and attitude in general has improved! I know I’ve attracted great things and am happier when I’ve taken more time to share and experience gratitude for things and people around me.