My goal for November was to practice gratitude.
Once again, I feel that I’m standing in front of a learning experience I didn’t expect to have. What I learned this November is that you don’t need to make a measurable change in order for you to see the change. I’m someone who is constantly striving for self-improvement, always looking for goals to set myself, and often belittling my own accomplishments.
This November, I’d say that I achieved my goal. I made gratitude a part of my everyday life. But I still feel like I didn’t make an “improvement.” Why? Because I didn’t learn some new skill or some other demonstrable factor. I’m having one of those moments where I wish I could step outside of myself and say, “Christine–you realize that because of your goal, your entire mood changed last month, right?” Yes. I realize that. And I’m, well, grateful for that. But I feel as though I didn’t accomplish much.
Apparently, turning a month-long funk that started in October completely around just by the sheer power of gratitude isn’t enough to make me feel like I achieved something. That’s why I’m doing this series, friends! I have a lot to learn. I have even more to learn than I set out to teach myself.
What Gratitude Really Did for Me in November
At the beginning of November, I flipped a switch inside my head. Everything that was making me anxious or crabby for the four weeks before, I let it go. How? I just decided to. I told myself that I needed to replace those feelings with gratitude, and I chose to focus on everything in my day that I was grateful for–even down to small things like how comfy my clean sheets felt–so I had no room left for that negativity.
I know this technique of letting go can’t work for everyone. I acknowledge that the things upsetting me in the previous month weren’t really serious. They were things I just needed to let go anyway. So what I really did was that I just gave myself the opportunity to move on. If you’re feeling in a bit of a funk, maybe you can take a look at what’s upsetting you and see if there’s anything you can simply let slip away. Every little bit helps.
I also think that spending a month trading bitterness for gratitude was the perfect way to prepare for the holidays. I really felt in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and now my heart is more prepared for Christmas.
My Goal for December
This December, I want to make a real effort to reflect on the past year. I’m keeping this goal open-ended because the past two months have taught me that having a more conceptual goal can foster a better learning experience. At the end of December, I will publish a post with 12 things I learned this year, or perhaps a mixture of lessons I learned with some general reflections. The WIPW series has also taught me that I shouldn’t anticipate what I will learn before I learn it. So, let’s suffice it to say that you’ll get a reflective post, but I’m not sure what it will be like yet.
I invite all of you reading this to try to do the same this December. Think about this year. Think about how you’ve grown. What made you falter. What you triumphed over. What made you bloom. Think about all of these things and prepare yourself for a new year.
You’ll see my thoughts on my 2018 in just a few weeks.