How Practicing Gratitude Can Make 2016 Great

The yellow Co. Blog: The Key to Starting 2016 Right[

]( holidays make it easy to focus on what we’re grateful for, but what would happen if you expressed gratitude every day? I can tell you from personal experience – it will affect your life in a surprising way.

If you’re already rolling your eyes, I get it! I’m so not the person who thought they’d take time out of their day to visualize goals. I was skeptical when I started a habit of gratitude, loosely based on author Hal Elrod’s six-minute, six-step process known as “The Miracle Morning.” Now I can’t imagine not doing it. I’ve accomplished several of my big, scary goals and I look at the process as an opportunity to set a positive tone throughout my day.

The yellow Co. Blog: The Key to Starting 2016 Right

When to do your gratitude routine is up to you, some people prefer the morning. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to do it at any particular time of the day. I’ve even done this in my office at work, luckily nobody has walked in on me yet!

Just like with working out – life is full of plateaus – we’ve got to challenge ourselves to improve ourselves.

Here’s my routine:


The minute of silence is what you make it. Some days I find myself spacing out until the timer on my phone goes off, but that’s okay because other days ideas come to me or I simply use the time to appreciate what I have. I think the true purpose of this is just to get you in the right state of mind for the rest of the routine.


This is undoubtedly the most difficult and most meaningful part of the six-step process. It’s hard because reading them out loud makes you feel embarrassed even if you’re in an empty room; it’s important because one of the best things we can do is remind ourselves of our own personal worth. Growing up, we rely on our loved ones to tell us we are special and can do anything. Now, we need to take matters into our own hands. In an effort to demystify what an affirmation can be and make myself incredibly uncomfortable, here are mine:

You are a published writer that could write for any magazine or website.
You are healthy and young with limitless potential.
You work hard and it does pay off.
You have people who love and believe in you.


These don’t have to come to you in a split-second. You’ll be reading them to yourself each day so take the time to create affirmations you believe in. If after a few days you realize they’re not working – switch.


Think of this as a daily chance to renew your commitment to your New Year’s resolutions – remember those things? Write down three of the most important goals you can dream up and then read through them each day. They could be to buy a home, travel to Europe or improve your health, whatever is important to YOU, write it down then, visualize. The anticipation of what it would feel like to reach my goals is one of my biggest motivators, so as long as I make it through the list at least once, I let my mind wander.

The yellow Co. Blog: The Key to Starting 2016 RightDAILY MOTIVATION

After you think big, it’s time to think small, as in, what can you do today to help you reach your goals? During this minute, write down three big-ticket to-do list items. These are things you’ll be disappointed if you don’t accomplish that day. Mine revolve around a task I’ve been putting off – a tough e-mail to send, a workout I’ve been dreading or anything to put me on the right path of getting to where I want to be. Also, write down a couple things you’re grateful for right at that moment.


If you can’t remember the last time you picked up a real book, this part is for you. I’ve always complained that there’s not enough hours in the day to snuggle up with a book. The truth is, though, I’d rather watch Netflix. It may sound ridiculous to read for a single minute then put the book away, but what I’ve found is, if I have time, it turns into more. What should you read? Anything, so long as it’s positive. The idea is to bring you up not weigh you down with bad news.


I always do this last. It doesn’t take much, even holding a plank for a minute or doing jumping jacks can get your blood flowing and help you feel more awake. I like to stick with more subtle movements like crunches or pushups because frankly, doing jumping jacks in my living room at 6 a.m. makes me feel slightly crazy.

Fair warning: the first time you try this routine it might feel like a waste of time, but the surest way to disrupt your normal pattern is to get out of your comfort zone. Just like with working out – life is full of plateaus – we’ve got to challenge ourselves to improve ourselves.

Photos by Emilie Anne Szabo

Mackenzie Wilson