Practicing gratitude is prrreeetty straightforward. You just write down three things you’re grateful for, right? In essence, that’s true. Writing a gratitude list (or whatever your choice of gratitude practice is) is that easy.
But still, you could be missing out. You might not be reaping all of the benefits a gratitude practice has to offer. That’s because you might be making these 6 mistakes.
PIN THIS, BABY! :)
MISTAKE #1: YOU’RE NOT PRACTICING GRATITUDE CONSISTENTLY
You can only reap gratitude’s benefits if you do it every day. When you only practice gratitude on a random Tuesday, it won’t become a habit, it won’t have an impact on your everyday life, and it won’t help you change your perspective to seeing all the things you do have going for you.
You need to practice gratitude each and every single day. What might help you is to pick a fixed time during the day for your practice. You can practice gratitude in the morning, after you’ve just woken up, or at night, right before you go to bed. Or any other time in the day that’s convenient for you. You’ll see that once you’ve been doing this for a while, your gratitude practice will become a routine. Routine = good!
MISTAKE #2: YOU’RE BEING TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
Sometimes, it’s just one of those days. You’re not in the mood to be grateful or you’ve been so busy that all you want to do is go to bed. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
If it’s one of those days, then don’t force yourself to do your gratitude practice. Just make a list in your head of the things you’re grateful for. And every once and awhile, skip a day when you feel like it. I do too.
MISTAKE #3: YOU REPEAT WHAT YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR EVERY DAY
If your gratitude list looks pretty much the same day in and day out, then you’re missing out. What you need to do, when you’re stuck in this kind of gratitude rut, is get playful.
For a week, only write down things you’re grateful for that start with the letter W. Walk into your kitchen, open up a random drawer or cupboard, and list the things you’re grateful for that relate to the items you come across. When you’re stuck in traffic, take a moment to look around you, and find something to be grateful for in the cars, the people, or the view around you.
Challenge yourself like this and it’ll bring the fun back into your gratitude practice.
MISTAKE #4: YOU’RE NOT TAKING THINGS TO ANOTHER LEVEL
This is about getting stuck in a different way. You’re not going deep enough. You don’t go beyond the surface. Your gratitude practice is stuck on a superficial level.
You need to change your perspective every once in awhile. By looking beyond the surface you can see so much more than you’ve initially held possible. An example: you can be grateful for the tree in your backyard, because it’s beautifully green. That’s fine.
But are there other reasons to be grateful for that beautiful tree that you can think of? Maybe the tree contributes to a beautiful scenery. It shades you from the sun and protects you from the rain. It can house a few bird nests. Perhaps you can say that it’s an example of perseverance because a tree literally and figuratively weathers any storm or that it’s an example of hope because - admittedly - a tree loses its leaves every fall but it also grows new leaves every spring.
Maybe you can think of better examples than these. The gist? Go deep!
MISTAKE #5: YOU’RE ONLY GRATEFUL FOR OUTSIDE THINGS
It’s easy to feel grateful for outside things: a beautiful sunrise, a flock of birds that dances in the sky, someone who did something for you, your bed. It’s not so easy to be grateful for things that have to do with YOU.
How many times have you written down something on your gratitude list that has to do with who you are? That’s related to your character, personality, qualities, talents, mind, body, or spirit? I admit, this is difficult. My tip is to make it part of your gratitude practice. From now, dedicate one of the three items on your gratitude list to yourself.
MISTAKE #6: YOU’RE GOING AT IT ALONE
Going at it alone when it comes to practicing gratitude is not a mistake in and of itself. It is, however, when it stops you from practicing gratitude consistently. Practicing with someone else, a family member or a friend, can create that sense of accountability that you need. Share your gratitude lists with each other on the phone, through email, or by sending a text message.
What you can also do, is find a Facebook group that focuses on gratitude. There are a few really great ones out there, like The Gratitude Club or The Gratitude Circle, full of like-minded people who share what they’re grateful for every day.
In the meantime, if you need a little help getting started with your gratitude practice, no matter what type of list you write, sign up for The Gratitude Toolbox. It’s a FREE set of resources to help you add more gratitude to your work and life:
- a cheatsheet with ideas for being more grateful in your work or business
- 30 gratitude prompts for jumpstarting your first 30 days of practicing gratitude
- a progress tracker for an extra boost of motivation and to help keep you on track
- a checklist with tips to help set you up for success
- AND several gratitude journals
Just click on the button below and you can get started with The Gratitude Toolbox right away.
Hi there! I’m Wendy, founder of The Gratefulist and host of the #perfectionistproblems community for recovering perfectionists. I’m insanely passionate about helping you start a gratitude practice so that you can let go of your perfectionism. Let’s chat about the hard stuff - like dealing with comparison, your inner critic, procrastination & growing your gratitude - so that you can stop caring so much about what other people think and finally take on those dream projects that you've been putting off for so long.