Do you love waiting in line? How about waiting on God’s timing?
Our culture drives us to get results. Yesterday. We look for ways to speed up and become more efficient. We’re impatient when someone makes us wait or slow down.
So it makes sense that we grow impatient in our pursuit of becoming more grateful.
Is gratefulness a resolution or a goal?
People often make New Year’s resolutions, but in most cases, they fail us. We start out the year with great ambitions to lose weight, save more money, or become more grateful. But a resolution doesn’t accomplish much without a plan.
I find it interesting that neither Jonathan Edwards nor Benjamin Franklin included gratefulness as one of their resolutions or virtues. In fact, it’s not even one of the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. But thankfulness shows up in so many parts of scripture that we know it’s the result of God’s Spirit working on how we view God, life, and the world around us.
I believe we can’t simply resolve to become more grateful, but we can prayerfully plan to demonstrate gratefulness in our lives. It starts with goal setting.
Stop waiting to become grateful
Michael Hyatt extensively researched why some people accomplish their goals and others don’t. He reveals all the lessons through his course Your Best Year Ever. Two lessons help us as we think about gratitude:
#1: Our limiting beliefs hold us back
Many times we have hidden beliefs that prevent us from accomplishing goals and these need to be revealed and then reframed in order for us to make progress.
When it comes to gratitude, we might have a belief like “My life has been hard and I don’t have much to be thankful for.” That could be reframed as, “Like most people, I’ve had hard things in my life, but I have many things to be thankful for.” It’s subtle, but it opens our minds to possibilities instead of being closed.
#2: Setting specific goals will make waiting less likely
Let’s be honest. Becoming more grateful is hard to quantify and rather lofty. If we don’t define what gratitude looks like in our lives, we’ll never know if we accomplish it.
How might we do this for gratitude?
Here are a few examples:
- How many thank you cards do I write each week?
- How often do I stop to give a specific word of thanks to someone who helped me?
- When I write in my gratitude journal, how many things do I find to be thankful for each day? Each week?
- How many days per week do you practice gratitude breathing? Could you increase how long you do this?
- (For more ideas on ways to practice gratitude see day 25 or day 14.)
Those are things you can measure. Now you can set goals to increase in those areas. Give yourself a timeline. For example,
By March 1st I will have the daily habit of writing one thank you card per day.
Now that you have the goal, you can start taking weekly steps toward that goal. Perhaps in week one, you write one card. In week two, you write two cards…
Waiting for gratitude
You may be asking yourself, what does all this talk about goal setting have to do with waiting or gratitude. Everything.
Olympic athletes or professional musicians don’t just wait for someone to give them an opportunity. They take daily action on their goals. They get help from coaches and friends who push them toward greatness.
“Waiting looks like daily steps toward small goals that lead to massive success.”Phil Mershon
Today’s article/episode is intentionally shorter to give you time to think about one area of gratitude where you want to grow in the next two months. Break it down into weekly goals and work on it daily.
Father, I thank you for giving me a desire to be more like you. I acknowledge that everything I have is a gift, including life, health, my possessions, and most of all my relationship with you. Forgive me for how I take this for granted. I pray you would show me specific steps I can take this week, starting today, that will make me more grateful. I ask for the strength and courage to keep pursuing this no matter what challenges come. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.