By Mary Montgomery
It’s that time of year again. It’s a brand new year, and many of us are feeling the urge to wipe the old slate of our lives clean, and make a list of resolutions designed to make our New Year’s living better and better.
Hey! Making those resolutions is not a bad or foolish thing. In fact, it’s a venerable tradition. New Year’s resolutions have been essential to ringing in the New Year since 2000 B.C., when the Babylonians held semi-annual festivals around the spring and autumn equinoxes. Back then, people marked the beginning of a New Year by paying off debts, and returning borrowed goods.
Modern-day resolutions usually involve breaking negative patterns, and setting positive goals. Those are lofty goals. Unfortunately, for most, the follow-through rate is very low. For example, research from the University of Minnesota indicates that 80 percent of adult Americans give up on their resolutions after two months. (From an article from December 2008.)
This statistic got me to thinking; could there be a “secret sauce” that would make taking action on our resolutions more palatable—and, therefore, more doable?
I remembered a story that I heard Near-Death Experiencer and researcher P.M.H. Atwater (pmhatwater.hypermart.net/) tell during a workshop at an International Association of Near-Death Studies (iands.org). At one point in P.M.H.’s life, she struggled with her weight. Like most of us in this situation, she tried to push thoughts of pies, cakes, and other goodies away with mental statements like: “Oh, that will go right to my thighs!” or “I’ll gain five pounds if I even look at that slice of cake!” Then, one day at an office party, she heard two other ladies making comments like this as they stood next to a table laden with baked goods. Of course, both ladies then filled their plates with these guilty pleasures.
It was an “aha” moment for P.M.H. From that moment on, she decided to approach her food; all of it; with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation. She started to mentally praise the artistic swirls of frosting on cakes, the creamy texture of custard pies, and the velvet smoothness of candy creams. She refrained from joining in the negative chorus of complaints and lamentation.
And guess what? Her weight just melted away. Her feelings of these sensations of appreciation and gratitude changed her relationship with these “forbidden” foods from one of struggle to one of friendship and cooperation. She found that praising and being grateful for these foods filled her up. She could eat a bite of that custard pie without wolfing down the whole thing. She also started being grateful for her body, instead of berating it. The best part: This was not a yo-yo thing! At 78, P.M.H. Atwater remains a long, tall, beautiful drink of water.
Hmm … I’ve been keeping a “Thank You Universe” journal for quite some time. I know, first- hand, how the power of being grateful enriches my life. This idea goes beyond being grateful for the good things, big and small, in your life. It goes to the heart of how we can utilize gratitude to help us manifest those resolutions; New Year’s or otherwise; that we want accomplish in order to enrich our future lives.
Recently I rediscovered The Missing Secret: How to Use the Law of Attraction to Easily Attract What You Want…Every Time; a set of CDs by Dr. Joe Vitale (blog.mrfire.com). It had been languishing in my bookcase. I was going on a long driving trip, and what better way to pass the time than with some inspirational pep-talking. There were many things in those CDs that struck me, and stuck with me. The value and power of gratitude is one of them.
Joe tells the story of his humble beginnings, and how in the midst of struggling with deep depression and suicidal thoughts, he attended a lecture that stressed the importance of gratitude. The only thing he could find to be grateful for at the time was a pencil; after all, he could write a suicide note with that! Then, as he looked at the pencil, he began to see its beauty, and its many other uses. These observations led him to expand this feeling of gratitude to other aspects of his life. This one act of gratitude was like the pebble thrown into the pond. It was the beginning of a ripple effect that helped make Dr. Joe Vitale one of the top motivational writers and speakers on the planet today.
To get an “in a nutshell” idea of Joe’s view on the power of gratitude, and to hear his pencil story, check out his YouTube video, “Joe Vitale’s Clearing Technique #3 Gratitude and a Law of Attraction” at youtube.com/watch?v=RdH3CVP-Tqo. Joe begins the video with this statement:
“Gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to transform yourself, your moment, your energy. You can transmute everything that is going on with gratitude. Gratitude will accelerate your ability to pull into your life all of the things you would love to have, all of the things you think would be cool; your experiences, your relationships, your health; all of these different things.”
So the message is: If you’re serious about following through on your New Year’s Resolutions, you better be sure to add an “Attitude of Gratitude” into the equation.
Agreeing with this and actually doing it are not synonymous. How can we get from “I understand that!” to “I’m doing that?”
Here are a few internet and social media resources that can help you and me take the leap:
The Secret Prayer (thesecretprayer.com/): Released in 2015, The Secret Prayer: The Three-Step Formula for Attracting Miracles is Dr. Joe Vitale’s latest advice on manifesting. I just downloaded it to the Kindle app on my iPhone and guess what step #1 is: ACTIVE GRATITUDE!
Other books: I scoped out Smile.Amazon.com, and found a slew of books on how gratitude can help you live a better life. This list includes: Happier: How Gratitude, Appreciation and Kindness can Transform Your World, a guide on How to Find Happiness by Andy Lacroix; The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan; Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; and Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity by Robert A. Emmons.
Gratitude Journal app (getgratitude.co/): Apps can be some of the key tools for helping us organize our lives. This is one of several gratitude apps that I found listed on my iPhone at the Apple App Store. Following a recent upgrade, some of the recent reviews have been less than stellar. However, I was impressed with the company’s quick fix: The upgrade came out November 30th, and the fix was done by December 2nd. What I also like about this $2.99 app is that 10% of the profits go to charity. The app is designed to rewire your brain to make gratitude a daily habit. The focus: Write 5 Good Things each day; Write Daily for 3 Weeks (It takes 21 days straight to form a new habit); and Never Forget! Automatic reminders help you start and stick to your gratitude habit.
Other Gratitude Apps: There are lots of intriguing gratitude apps out there. Here are a few of the ones I plan to personally check out: Gratitude Journal 365 Pro ($1.99, gratitude365app.com); The Gratitude Habit: a Happiness Workshop (free, goodgamesbydesign.com/products/testing/); and Gratitude Rock ($0.99, energizesoftware.com/support/).
Gratefulness.org: This is an online sanctuary, where you can nourish and deepen your gratitude awareness. The invitation is to discover gratitude practices. These include: Daily Question, Light a Candle, Send an ecard, and ABCs of Grateful Living. These are right at your fingertips. For example, just subscribe to the Daily Question, and you will get food for thought like this: December 8: How do I love trees? Let me count the ways, and December 7: If I let go of my complaints, what might be underneath? A more in-depth experience can be obtained by becoming a member of the Gratefulness community.
Other Gratitude Websites: These include 365 Grateful (365grateful.com/); Gratitude Log (gratitudelog.com/); Gratitude Club (gratitudeclub.com/); and the Art of Gratitude (artofgratitude.com/).
Facebook: The mother organization of gratefulness.org, A Network for Grateful Living, has a Facebook page at facebook.com/Gratefulness.org/. Other gratitude focused Facebook pages to Like or Join include: Gratitude Habitat (facebook.com/GratitudeHabitat/); Gratitude Works (facebook.com/GratitudeWorks1/); and Gratitude Rocks (facebook.com/groups/gratituderocksgroup/).
Twitter: You can Follow and Tweet Gratefulness.org at @Gratefulness.org. Other Twitter accounts that may interest you include: Social Gratitude (@GratefulEnergy); Appreciate Gratitude (@2thank); and Gratitude and Trust (@GratitudeTrust).
Podcasts: I just subscribed to some of the gratitude podcasts that I found on iTunes. I’ll have to give them a listen before making any definite recommendations. However, here is my list so far: SuperThank Podcast – Stories of Gratitude; Liquid Gratitude; Working Gratitude; and Women’s Grace Grit & Gratitude.
My Advice: Join me in keeping a gratitude journal. Make it one of your resolutions to write in it every day. Sometimes I get lazy and let chunks of time pass before I get back to my journal. Yet, if I write in it every day, I am amazed at the wealth of stuff I am thankful for. When I write in that journal every day, the day becomes one of my Spiritual Traveler journeys. I see beauty and grandeur, not only in the big ticket items, but also in those many small things that enrich my life: a kind word from a friend or stranger; a child’s smile of delight; someone’s encouraging words; my encouraging words; the antics of the squirrels and birds at my feeder; a flower; a blade of grass… Also join me in my 2016 resolution to take this “Attitude of Gratitude” to the next level and use it to transform myself, my moment, my energy. I hope that some of the resources mentioned here help all of us commit to and follow through with this resolution, and all of our resolutions.
Mary Montgomery’s company, Montgomery Media Enterprises, specializes in public relations, writing projects and social media development, especially in the non-profit sector. Ms. Montgomery has a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). She has completed the coursework in doctoral studies with a focus on Altruism and Unconditional Love. Contact her via email at: email@example.com. Please use Cyberweave in the subject line. You can also visit her at her new blog, SpiritualTravelerGuides.com.