Appreciate the past.

Today’s theme and guiding idea for the work: Appreciating the past lightens the load for future progress.

Countless volumes have been written and published about the value of gratitude and the benefits of developing a gratitude practice. In short, gratitude (feeling genuinely grateful for experiences, relationships, events, or physical objects) is beneficial for mental and physical well-being.

In addition to all that has been written about gratitude, there are also countless resources for developing a gratitude practice. Keeping a gratitude journal, meditating daily, and writing daily gratitude statements are all practices that build a habit of gratitude.

What we’ll do today, however, is a little different, connecting past experiences, current feelings, and future wants all in one exercise. The purpose of this work, today, is to anchor future planning in a genuinely positive place that acknowledges past success.

Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.

(And a note, for anyone who hasn’t been following along in recent days: I’m giving followers here a free walk-through of a course called “Your First 100 Days,” a structured approach to help turn ideas into action. The first post in this series is here.)

Yesterday’s exercise was to look for patterns and insights from the past year, setting aside other thoughts or ideas that are important but separate from the major themes that came to light by examining the past.

Today’s work is to take a snapshot of this exact day, this moment, grounded in your recent examination of the past and motivated by an urgency to start looking ahead (which is likely what drew you into this series in the first place).

The primary worksheet for today is labeled “Gratitude Snapshot.” The supporting worksheet is labeled “Gratitude List.” If you didn’t print the workbook (or don’t want to), you can easily create these sheets on your own.

This exercise will take about 20-30 minutes. Again, don’t overthink it. Capture what pops up when it pops up, and then keep moving.

Here’s how:

  • Scan the work so far, particularly the sheet of insights from yesterday’s work.
  • Ask yourself, “How am I feeling, right now?” Remember, no one will see this worksheet, or read your answer, but you. So be brutally honest and don’t shy away from feeling whatever it is you’re feeling. Write down a word or two and then move on.
  • Next, write a statement of encouragement and/or affirmation for yourself. Example: I believe I am _____ (fill in the blank with any positive characteristic or attribute).
  • Build on that positive affirmation by noting three things you’re grateful for, right now. They don’t have to be connected to the earlier work or to anything you’ve written so far, but that context might be helpful to keep you from getting stuck or overthinking things.
  • Thinking specifically about the past now, what’s one thing you’re proud of? Write it down (if you’re using the form/worksheet, write it on the single line provided).
  • Connected to where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, where you’ve been challenged, what you’re both grateful for and proud of, ask yourself two questions: What do I want more of, in the future? What do I want less of, in the future?
  • Complete the work by noting one thing you’re looking forward to, in the coming 24 hours.

In my own experience, I find that reflecting on gratitude and appreciation gets me thinking more about gratitude and appreciation. If you have a similar experience when completing this worksheet, then use the second sheet (Gratitude List) to acknowledge those things, people, events, experiences, etc. that prompt the feeling of gratitude.

The purpose of this work is to set the launch pad for your future planning, to set a positive tone that will carry you through the remaining 100 days of your fresh start.

Tomorrow we’ll complete module 1. On Friday we’ll do a re-cap of the module. Next Monday we’ll begin module 2.

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