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The Most Important Exercise

The most important daily exercise? Practicing gratitude. Believe it or not, this was my favorite Christmas gift from this past year:

I didn’t realize it at the time, but here I am 49 days into 2016 and incredibly thankful (get it, thankful?) for this small book. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to simply keep this on my nightstand and write in it at least 4 nights per week before I go to bed. I’ve missed just 3 nights. And this small book? Well it has made a world of a difference. 

We have all heard it. Give thanks…blah, blah, blah. I always considered myself a thankful individual. Heck, I am a trainer, a motivator, and even ran a life coaching program called Break Through Challenge. I believe in giving thanks and have kept a journal from time to time, but never this long. Believe it or not, my thoughts during the day can bring me down. No one is safe from these thoughts, but every night I try to think of every single thing I am thankful for on that day. I started with writing 1 or 2 things, but recently listened to an amazing, motivational speaker, Lisa Nichols, who writes SEVEN things down every morning. She suggested writing down things money cannot buy. 

It didn’t occur to me right away, but those pesky negative thoughts that usually would send me into a full panic attack every night before bed…do not have the same effect on me. 

The first few weeks, I will admit, writing in it felt like a chore. Now its a habit.

The Huffington Post posted the benefits of keeping a journal:

Benefits of a Gratitude Journal
1. Lower stress levels.
2. Feel calm at night.
3. Gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.
4. By noting what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from you life.
5. Helps you focus on what really matters.
6. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.
7. Your gratitude journal is a safe zone for your eyes only, so you can write anything you feel without judgment.
8. On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.

All I can say is yes to every single item on this list. I know many of my clients say they can’t fall asleep at night. My first suggestion is always a gratitude journal. We all have too much on our mind and its a great exercise to clear your your head and focus on the good! 

New York Times Best Seller, Michael Hyatt wrote how he practices gratitude on a daily basis and challenged his readers to list 20 things right now in this present moment. Here are my 20:

1. My faith
2. Health of my family (so cliche but oh so true)
3. My family
4. A happy toddler who learns something new each day
5. Her preschool & teachers
6. Our church & pastor
7. The boot campers/clients I get to work with each day
8. Going to work everyday, doing something I am passionate about
9. Laughter
10. My assistant rocks my world
11. A growing business
12. A partner who challenges me every day
13. Those friends who love me for who I am, check in on me, believe in me
14. A great workout
15. Reading to my daughter each night
16. The Whole 30 
17. Lewis Howes Podcast
18. Dark Chocolate
19. Glass of wine I plan on having tonight! 
20. View from my backyard

What are your 20? How do you feel after writing that list?