It was the last week of 2012. I was quickly trying to figure out how to bring in the New Year. Additionally, I was also trying to envision what 2013 would be for me. Every year since I was a little strong girl, my dad would stress upon my sisters and me the importance of having goals and expectations about what we would like to do with our lives. As I was journaling my ideas, I took a break to scan my Facebook page. A gratitude challenge popped into my newsfeed.

The challenge was to get a jar and write down one thing you are grateful or thankful for throughout the course of each day during the year. At the end of the year you can empty the jar and read through them. I took it as a sign and gladly went about doing it. I thought throughout the course of the day about gratitude much more consciously.

Unfortunately because of our 24/7 instant gratifications, gratitude is a sentiment that is slowly making its way out of our social mores. Physical thank you notes are replaced with emails or emoticons. Thank you calls are being replaced with text messages. So I thought to myself out with the old and in with the gratitude. I can say I have been doing this since January. It takes effort, but is not work or something that is on a to-do list. It’s something that is simple and easy to do when you make the time for it. It feels great that I’ve kept up with it.

Some of my notes of gratitude include the following:

·         2/18/2013 – thankful to have seen my 32nd year of life with three birthday cakes, macaroons, and no weight gain

·         4/10/2013 – thankful to have met a new mentor for life

·         4/20/2013 – thankful to be a part of one of the best days of my friend’s life: her wedding

·         6/4/2013 – thankful for good weather for our first outside event with a new organizational partner

These might seem small, but they are just a piece of the larger picture of gratitude and staying appreciative of everything we are given in life.

You may wonder how I have been able to do it. There have been some real obstacles in my way this year. Not everything has been bright and pink. There has been some grey even some real dark and stormy. I made up in my mind that I have a choice. I chose to be grateful and to make it a part of who I am.  I chose to keep to it because I am valued and I am worth it. Strong women and strong girls always choose what is best for them. Outside of helping to ground my day, it has helped build my faith and color my perspective for the better. No matter how bleak things are, there is something to be thankful for in your circumstance.

So as I close, I hope that you will take the challenge. Even though, I started in January, really in life, now is always a good time to start.

To paraphrase William Ward’s quote, will you use one of the 86,400 seconds of your day, to be grateful?

(Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post about one of our mentors who is also taking the Gratitude Challenge!)

Amelia is one of SWSG’s Advisory Council Board Members for Boston and is the Events Manager for ABCD. She lends her knowledge of the Boston community to help support and promote the mission of Strong Women, Strong Girls and is an advocate of gratitude!