Happy new year! First of all, I have no significant predictions to offer for the next twelve months; 2020 cured me of that! Second, I invite you to consider a disposition you can cultivate that I (ahem!) predict could make a big difference for your life this coming year. That disposition is gratitude and, like a muscle, it can either be developed with regular usage or atrophy with neglect. So here are 21 ways you can nurture gratitude in 2021, adapted and expanded from the Good Deeds Day blog (9/17/20 post).

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. If pen and paper isn’t your thing, set aside some time in the day to reflect on good things that happened.
  2. Take time to appreciate the simple and profound wonders of nature when you’re outside.
  3. Verbalize your appreciation for small gestures of kindness in your family.
  4. Think about what lessons you can take away from stressful situations instead of solely focusing on your stress.
  5. Create a gratitude collage with pictures of people, places, and things you’re grateful to have in your life.
  6. Write a positive review for a business that recently gave you a great experience.
  7. Challenge yourself to minimize complaining and criticizing for a short period and reflect on how much energy you put towards these feelings.
  8. Identify at least one positive thing that you appreciate or can learn when you’re faced with a seemingly bad situation.
  9. Offer a genuine “thank you” to store clerks, medical personnel, and restaurant staff for the services they provide.
  10. Meditate on and give thanks for things you’re grateful to have in your life.
  11. Write thank you notes or emails to people you appreciate.
  12. Pick up a hobby you’ve been meaning to try. Making yourself happier can help you feel more grateful.
  13. Reflect on the people or things you’re thankful for at work while you’re getting ready to go home.
  14. Sing or hum along with songs of praise to God as you drive.
  15. Think about something or someone you’re thankful for right when you wake up.
  16. Keep a simple gratitude list and add to it every day.
  17. Post on social media about something you’re #grateful for.
  18. Set a reminder for yourself on your phone to pause and think of something you’re grateful for in that moment.
  19. Refrain from gossiping or speaking negatively about other people.
  20. Take time to think about all of the people that made your meal possible the next time you cook or sit down to eat.
  21. Integrate the worship of the Lord as a regular practice in your week.

Practicing gratitude is both faith wisdom and practical life advice. Whatever this new year brings, may you grow as a truly grateful person.

Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall