A Tweak on Gratitude Practice

MontmartreToday, I want to return to UJ Ramdas' book The Five Minute Journal. If you read the May 13 post on "the gratitude barometer," you'll remember that one of the morning questions he poses for his readers is "What can I do to make this day great?" Business consultant Adam Dudley of Deliver Your Vision advises a similar question to his clients when he asks "What would it take for this next week to be a 10?"

These are such a good and provocative questions. They lead to intentionality about the role in creating the experiences and the feelings we want today. And then, they lead to concrete actions or attitudes that will create those experiences and feelings. Such a great exercise in awareness.

In my own morning process, turning to this question at the end of my gratitude listing seems like a natural movement toward immersion into day before me.

And I’ve found that there are levels of answering this question. So below, I demonstrate how you can use it to focus three arenas:  larger life goals or intentions; foundational practices that need to be in place every day; and then finally, the nitty-gritty to-do list. Once I go through this process, I feel aligned with how I want to “be” in my day as well as what I want “do” in my day. It’s quite an effective process.

So the question I’m answering is “What do I need to do to make this day great?”

1) Big Picture:

"I can move slowly and with openness, knowing that things get done when I am not pushing, striving, worrying. There is a plan, there is energy and impetus for the plan, there is forward movement of the plan toward benefit to me and all those I come into contact with. I am but a player in the plan. I am not the director. Get over it."

This focuses me on the over-arching life value and intention I want to infuse into every movement of every day. This is more attitudinal than actionable, but it's vitally important to the way I want to be in the world.

2) Foundational Practices:

"I can meditate well today. This will give me better access to the wisdom I need today. I can practice yoga well today. This will align me with my deepest energy and lend to my presence today. I can eat well today. This will fuel my energetic and biological tank today."

This answer is focused on my personal foundational practices that support everything I want to do in the day. Without these practices, I will not be my strongest, my most focused, my most energized. A day without these foundational practices doesn't mean I won't be competent; I just won't be bulletproof. Good Foundational Practices are vital to living my best creative life.

3) Action Items:

"I can send all of the follow-up emails to CFAWL participants sent out.

I can make phone calls to two leads I have, and set up Creative Momentum Sessions with them.

I can go get the papers I need to grade at school so that I am ready to do the work tomorrow here at the house. Do this after yoga this afternoon. Then, feel good that I have myself set up to grade all day at home tomorrow."

You can see that this paragraph gets down to nitty-gritty tasks, the action steps  I need to take to accomplish the business of my day. You might think of this as the to-do list. It's concrete. It calls for specific steps toward completion. Establishing it in this early morning ritual allows the mind to  orchestrate the day, pulling in the resources and directing my focus appropriately to complete tasks. You have to manage the brain, you know. Otherwise, it suffers from a lack of direction and will most definitely get all wild and crazy on you. Been there; done that.

I hope this tweak on keeping a gratitude journal has been helpful. Try it for a couple of days and see what you think. But as I said on Tuesday, I believe this is one foundational practice that will reap a variety of rewards in your creative living.

Let's Rock Your Foundations!

A reminder: If you want to learn more about the importance of Foundational Practices in the creative life, please join us for the July 24 Creative Momentum Gathering. We’ll share tips and strategies to develop the core practices that genuinely support your artful living.

Thank you for stopping by the LifeArt Studio today.  Be in gratitude.


Photo credit:  Creative Commons License John Althouse Cohen via Compfight

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