What can you accomplish in a month? According to science, that’s all it takes to start forming a new habit, and good habits lead to good results. That’s the goal behind our Monthly Challenge, to help you form the right habits – physically and mentally – to make significant strides toward your best, healthiest self.
It’s such a simple sentence. Just two words. Yet, that saying can completely alter a person’s day, week, year, or even life!
Seriously, think of the last time you heard it from someone, a time when they truly meant it. How did it make you feel? Appreciated? Respected? Did your day turn around? Did little annoyances no longer bother you as much? Did you feel more optimistic? Were you happier?
My guess is you answered “yes” to at least one if not all, of those things. You see, that’s the power of gratitude. And the best part about it is the positive effects go both ways.
Whether you’re receiving gratitude or showing gratitude, that act forms a positive connection with someone else. Research shows that positive connection then has a significant impact on our lives. From feeling more and greater positive emotions – to relishing good experiences – to improved health – to the ability to better deal with adversity – to stronger relationships, gratitude is shown time and again to be the key to unlocking a happier life.
Sounds incredible, right? That’s why it’s our challenge for the month.
The challenge: Perform a daily act of gratitude
It’d be great if every time you did something for someone else, they expressed gratitude towards you for it, but the reality is that’s reality. In a society that is becoming more and more selfish, gratitude is often in short supply.
And when you don’t feel gratitude from others, it brings you down, often making it, so you don’t feel the need to show gratitude, and the cycle continues to devolve.
It’s time to stop that cycle, and it starts with you.
Every day this month, we challenge you to show gratitude toward the people in your life. And if you think saying “thank you” more often will cut it, it won’t. We’re talking about true gratitude that lets people know just how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are they’re in your life.
That type of gratitude takes effort and intention, which can be done by acknowledging, reciprocating, and celebrating someone else.
So, what does that mean?
For acknowledging, the easiest thing is, indeed, to say “thank you” when someone does something helpful. Yet, you can take it a step further by complimenting someone on a specific skill or personality trait you admire. And when you do it, look them in the eyes. It is a simple act that helps to show that you are fully present to them.
Reciprocation seems pretty straightforward. If someone holds the door open for you, you then hold the door open for them the next time. If they listen to you during a hard time, you make sure to be there and listen to them in return. Simple, right? Not exactly.
You may notice these examples start with them doing something for you first, and then you reciprocating. For this challenge, we’re asking you to take the leap first, but make sure to watch their actions after you show gratitude. If they show gratitude back and continue a positive cycle, that’s a good person to have in your life. If they don’t, this is a telltale way to weed out selfish people from your life and stop you from getting taken advantage of in the long run.
Finally, we come to celebrating. Be it showing true excitement for someone’s good news or sharing a coworker’s good efforts with others on the team, celebrating is a way of praising an individual that can have a truly profound impact when done correctly.
And if none of those things give you an idea on a given day to show gratitude, sometimes the best thing is to just give someone you care about a hug. Because a deep, caring hug says “thank you” sometimes even more than words.
Sean Ostruszka is an active creator. A national-award winning writer for numerous industries, Ostruszka also delves into photography, design, product development and more, while being an avid family man, outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast.