Start the brand new year of 2018 with more gratitude!

Our recent holiday season is a wonderful time of reflection. We count our blessings over the past year. We may also reflect on difficulties as well. And that evaluation process can help us resolve to do better than we did just year. One excellent 2018 New Year’s resolution is to better employ the tools of gratitude, acknowledgment, and positive thinking each day.

As we face life’s challenges, a spirit of gratefulness allows us to affirm one another. We will have a much better day, when “we get up on the right side of the bed.” We will better bond with family, friends, and team members at work. More importantly, that positive outlook helps us ride through the bad days.

How can we remember to take those steps of self-improvement during the coming year? Below are valuable tools for the year ahead.

We must develop an authentic spirit of appreciation. That change must occur internally, so that we are sincerely grateful of and to others.   Then we are equipped to pass on that torch to others. Besides daily personal practice, role models are valuable resources who can teach us gratitude in difficult circumstances. Life is sometimes difficult and looking to role models is beneficial.

As a recent example, our pastor shared an update on an older friend in church who is now home-bound in pain and has difficulty walking. Diabetes has also led to almost complete blindness. However, this gentleman is a role model for being grateful in spite of circumstances. His wife and children bring him joy, which helps mitigate those difficult and painful days.

In a spirit of gratitude, he expressed happiness for one of his best days last year. As one who loves flowers, he bought over 100 bulbs and additional seeds to create a massive field of flowers later in the year. While he could not see well, his children helped him to a chair. He supervised the project sharing wisdom and best practices during the planting activities.

On that spring day, he remembered a warm day and great family fun and fellowship. It was a bright day and he could actually see a little better than normal. He shared how thankful he was to be able to make out the grass and family members. He could also make out the horizon where the sky touches the earth. Even with limited eyesight, he described it as if were a beautiful alien landscape.

That is a just one example of many role models we have all around us. It is inspirational to see others successfully take on greater challenges than we have in a positive manner. The man who had no shoes learned gratitude, and from someone less fortunate than himself. And in 2018, we can better appreciate our own circumstances and each other with an improved spirit of gratitude. And we must continue to improve each day, as “practice makes perfect.”