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BY Joel Junker

Be Thankful Every Day: 4 Ways to Create the Habit

As we prepare to celebrate thanksgiving in just a couple of days, why not choose to be thankful every day! Writing blogs like this sometimes has an added benefit —it helps me remember to keep gratitude as a daily habit, not just an occasional reaction to good times. 

A simple fact of human nature is that everyone wants to be happy. It’s the one thing we have in common. In fact, this is one of my favorite videos on the subject. Check it out. 

Or read this research-based article for further proof. 

Now that you can see the proven benefits of being grateful, here are some tips to make gratitude an everyday habit and incorporate it into your home and work life.

  1. Write about what you are grateful for. Grab a fresh notebook and make it a habit to get up every morning and jot down three things you are grateful for. It can be anything from your morning cup of coffee to more impactful things like an upcoming life change.  Review your previous day — from waking to bedtime— and reflect on all that was good. Sometimes you can get “lost in the moments of the day” just getting things done, like helping kids with homework, exercising, giving guidance to a team member, etc. Yet, when you pause and take your time to reflect, you will find nuggets of gratitude in almost every moment of your day. Find gratitude in that one-on-one time with your child. Find gratitude in your health and ability to exercise. Find gratitude in your co-workers — even listing them by name in your journal. You can do this in the evening, morning or both, but I find that by doing it in the morning, I start the day with a positive and energetic feeling.
  2. Verbally tell people “Thank you” sincerely.  Yes, we say “thank you” all the time. What I’m talking about is the kind of thank you where you pause and look the person in the eyes or perhaps expand a little more on the praise. We can all do better in expressing our gratitude for a job well done, whether that’s a waiter, a flight attendant or a co-worker. Yes, whatever they did may be their job, but it’s still a great opportunity to uplift someone else.  We all want to be appreciated! When we feel lonely or sad, finding something to be grateful for or someone to praise can turn our outlook around. We become connected to them and feel better, and I bet they do too! 
  3.  Give specific compliments to others. Like the suggestion above, this means going out of your way to seek out ways to compliment others. Imagine if you found ONE persona week to compliment. How would that change your attitude — and theirs? If you are in a leadership position, how would that change the culture of your team? We all crave attention, affection, and appreciation. A nice and sincere compliment shows your appreciation of others and will not only make the other person feel better but you too. It can have more impact than you could imagine.
  4.  Create a culture of gratitude. Encouraging others to express gratitude will change the culture of an office — and a home. One of the things my family always did at the dinner table when our kids were growing up was allow everyone to answer two questions about his or her day. First, we went around the table, and everyone answered the question, “What’s your bad thing from today?” Then, we each answered, “What are your good things from today?” 95% of the time, each person has way more “good” things than “bad” things, and our bad things don’t seem so bad anymore. Even if you simplify it to just the second question, you’ll be amazed at how it can turn around the mood of the room. Try it at your next department meeting — or family dinner! 

Thank you to all of my Cameron-Brooks teammates for shared values and your hard work; to all of our JMO partners who trust our advice and career search services; and to our Alumni and client companies who continue to champion JMOs in corporate America.

I’ve got a lot to be grateful for. What about you?

Joel Junker
Senior Vice President

Cameron-Brooks is a Military-to-Business career transition specialist who partners exclusively with Junior Military Officers to launch rewarding careers in Corporate America.

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