“I love Thanksgiving because I get to go to Arkansas and see my Mamaw and my Auntie Granny, and eat lots of chocolate cake!” It’s what I wrote beneath the turkey I colored on the piece of construction paper my second grade teacher gave us just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
For some people it’s a great holiday, but I realize for some people it is not. One of the things I’ve loved doing over many of the past several years is preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter with a great team of volunteers.
But six years ago, right after having my shoulder replaced, I spent the day alone. It was my first Thanksgiving alone, and I realized it was not a happy day for everyone. So I spent the day doing things that I could suggest for people who had a houseful of company, as well as for people spending it alone. I would like to share those with you to make your Thanksgiving this year a powerful one!
I’ve been sharing these things every year since with friends, family, and clients… Encouraging them to incorporate these things into their Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you will join me!
1. Write your top 10 gratitude’s for the year.
We all have so much to be grateful for. And hopefully you will make practicing gratitude something more than just what you do on Thanksgiving day.
Writing the top 10 things we are grateful for from over the year gives us a beautiful perspective! I know that after a challenging year, there is a bit of a temptation to rehearse the hardships and challenges, rather than focus on gratitude.
No matter how difficult a year has been, there are always things that we can be grateful for.
If you’ve read my work, you know what an advocate of gratitude I am. Not only because it changes our brain chemistry and lightens our mood, but because practicing gratitude has major health benefits. They include:
- Boosting our immune system
- Reducing anxiety
- Decreasing depression
- Improving optimism
- Healthier skin
- Improved relationships
- Increased intimacy in marriage
- Fewer headaches
- Less gastrointestinal problems
- Fewer respiratory infections
- Greater quality of sleep with less sleep disturbances)
- Fewer flu-like symptoms (including headaches, dizziness, stomachaches, and runny noses)
Gratitude is good for us all the way around! In the coming year, at difficult moments, it’s good to have the gratitude list from the past year to reflect upon.
Reflect upon your year and be grateful!
2. Write the top three things you accomplished in 2021 that you are pleased with.
I learned this phrase from my friend Michael Gorton: “I’m not one to sit back and rest on my laurels.“
Although I agree that we should keep moving forward, there’s something to be said for noting things we have accomplished for which we are pleased. Some people could easily write a manuscript. Others will be tempted to not acknowledge anything good they have accomplished.
Certainly I’m not suggesting that you post your top three accomplishments on social media for bragging rights. But I do think realizing that both in good years, and challenging years, we do accomplish some meaningful things.
Certainly if you’ve done something to change the world, I would want you to place that on your list. However, also consider those things that might not have meant one thing to anyone else, but it pleased you.
For example, last year, one of the things on my “hope” list for 2020 for 2021 that I was pleased with was that I was able to maintain my BMI and my body fat percentage, along with lowering my metabolic age by one year. That may not have changed the world, but it changed my world, and the future of my health, energy and vitality.
Make a note of these three things and tuck them away. I have been doing this for seven years now, along with my top 10 gratitude‘s, and they are truly inspiring to look back upon.
They give me new momentum and determination to be even more grateful and accomplish even more things! What about you? What three things are you pleased with that you accomplished in 2021?
Reflect and be grateful!
3. Write the top three things you hope you can write on your accomplishment list this time next year at Thanksgiving 2022.
Take the time in write them down. This is not as specific as goals, unless you want it to be. But definitely something that you want to say that you’ve accomplished when you do #2 (above) at Thanksgiving 2022.
One of the things that I want to accomplish before Thanksgiving 2022 is training and certifying another group of powerful Coaches (Life Coaches, Relationship Coaches, Trauma Coaches, Business Coaches, etc). I believe I have been gifted with some real understanding and powerful tools of how to help people overcome the past, be very present in the present, and excel and soar to places they never dreamed of in the future.
It would be a crying shame if at the end of my life, I took these things that could’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people to the grave with me. The best way I can carry it forward is to instill it in others.
What about you? What are some of the things that you hope to accomplish this next year? Although it’s not required, I almost always have one that’s a major step in personal growth and in maintaining or improving my health.
I know that writing these down increases the chances of you actually achieving them to about 70% greater then if you just think them through. Press pause, find a piece of paper, and pen yours now!
Write your hope list and be grateful.
4. Reach out to three people that you know are spending Thanksgiving alone.
A few years ago, I asked to borrow a room in my church in order to prepare a meal for those who did not have family locally, or were not able to travel.
We ate lots of great food, played dominoes, cards, and charades. My tummy ached from laughter by the time our gathering was over.
Although I’m not able to do that every year, I made a commitment to myself to call at least three people that I knew were spending Thanksgiving alone. Just tell them I was thankful for them, and wish them a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I know the one year that I spent Thanksgiving alone was made so rich by those who reached out to me. If all of us just reached three people, no one would have to say that they experienced a lonely Thanksgiving day.
Who can you call? If possible, zoom them or FaceTime them! It makes the connection just a bit more powerful!
Reach out and be grateful!
5. Be very present.
The greatest gift you can give those you spend time with on Thanksgiving is to be very present.
Take a moment to sit with each person and ask them how they are. And when they give the polite response: “Oh I’m just fine” … Don’t leave it at that. Ask more.
- “Tell me what you’re enjoying lately?“
- “What have been your best moments this year?”
- “What have been your most challenging moments this year?”
Touch them if appropriate. Look them in the eye. The eyes truly are the window to the soul. Speak with concern and care. Listen carefully to their responses.
Research says that just 90 seconds of being present releases great “feel good” hormones in both the person initiating the conversation, and the person responding.
Don’t limit it to your guests, but do it for people in your household.
Take a moment and tell your spouse how thankful you are for them. Take a moment and play with your kids and ask them what they are thankful for. Or your grandkids. Or other friends and relatives.
Be present, and make it a Thanksgiving that everyone will remember as close, intimate, and connected!
Be present and be grateful!
6. Create a power word for 2022.
Every year at Thanksgiving as I consider all that I have to be thankful for, I take a moment to look at who I’ve been, how I have shown up in the world. Then I consider what I could change, work on, or focus on to show up even more powerfully in the next year.
Then I take time to choose a power word that reflects that change, metamorphosis or improvement that I would like to see and myself.
A few years ago, I chose the word DEVOTED. I was working on a new project, and I knew I had to work in order to keep my focus on the end game. I knew it would cause me to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So my power word became devoted. Then I encourage you to write the letters of the word vertically, and use each letter in the word to write a short word or phrase that describes who you would like to be or how you would like to grow and develop.
For example, that year, here is how my power word and desired life description looked:
Destiny shake up shape up
Extraordinary results in kajabi
Valuable Life altering content delivery
True love experiences
Energizer Bunny Resurrection
Think about ho you wish to become and choose a power word. Then write your words/ phrases of who you would like to become.
Finally, I choose a quote or Scripture to memorize. That year, I memorized: “I also devoted myself to working on the wall (Webinars About Life-Altering Life-Coaching) . Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.”
7. Get active for at least 20 minutes, and practice your ABC’s.
Yes! Get active on Thanksgiving day!
You will have likely either eaten too much, or at least more than normal. But even if you haven’t eaten anything at all, it’s a good idea to get active.
Not only is it good for your heart, it will cause the calories to burn at a significantly higher rate, but it’s a great time to slip away and do your ABCs of gratitude.
Start with the letter “A” and think of something you have to be grateful for that begins with an “A.” For example, at this moment I am grateful for “art”. My birthday was a couple of months ago, and my refrigerator is still boasting beautiful art from three amazing kids that I consider my very own.
Then move on to “B.”. What do you have to be grateful for that begins with a “B”? Today I am grateful for the bird that built its nest in one of my potted plants, and has chirping babies!
Continue on through the exercise until you get to “Z”. And when you get to the “X” … I bet you had some extraordinary food!
While you are outdoors doing your 20 minutes with your ABCs of gratitude, make a decision to take 20 minutes every day to get in motion and do your ABCs of gratitude. It’s a great habit that will have huge positive ramifications for your health, your mental health, and the quality of your life!
When I did that coloring of the turkey and wrote the reason I loved Thanksgiving… I was a full-blown sugar addict! My grandmother let me have chocolate cake for breakfast, chocolate pie for lunch, and if I ate a few healthy things at the Thanksgiving dinner, I got a warm chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream!
Although my Mamaw is gone, my parents are gone; and my life is very different today, I still love Thanksgiving. Although I am 37 years sugar-free, and miss out on all the treats, I still love Thanksgiving. Not for the sugar, but for the power! The infusion of power that I feel completing these seven steps every year.
Will you join me? I sure hope you will! When I get to my ABC’s of gratitude on Thanksgiving day, you will be on my list. Because my “A“ will be about “all the people who read my blog and are joining me on a power Thanksgiving!”
I hope you will be joining me!