A Grateful Heart is a Joyful Life

I was telling a close friend the other day that 2023 wasn’t quite the way I had envisioned it would be, though I did accomplish a lot of things I set out to do. The El Camino trip to Spain and getting my spinal health back in order were the two biggest wins this year.

While there were a few things lagging behind, there were also a lot of great things that surfaced that weren’t quite part of my “original” plan. And because this is the season when we often do a mental year-in-review, it’s easy to stay stuck in all the things we didn’t quite get done. And yet it’s so much more fulfilling to focus on the fruits that did arise.

I have coached so many people throughout the years and hear a common thread of regret, self-condemnation, and melancholy. “I was going to launch my website this year but didn’t.” “I had all the intention of losing weight and taking better care of myself.” “I didn’t hit the financial goals.” And the list goes on.

Instead of lamenting on the goals that didn’t quite hit the mark, use this season as an opportunity to: (1) assess the importance of those goals. Do they still matter? If they do, how would you calibrate your action plan for the new year to get a jumpstart on that? This way, the importance of those goals strengthen your conviction to prioritize them. If they don’t, then it’s time to question if they deserve to remain on your 2024 list.

(2) In lieu of accomplishing these goals, what other blessings came about that took its place that shifted your focus? Perhaps you didn’t launch your website because you were supporting your spouse’s career or passion and put yours on hold (you did it for love and self-sacrifice). Perhaps you didn’t lose the weight because you diverted your energy to caring for a sick family member (you did it for love and self-sacrifice). Perhaps you didn’t hit that money milestone because you chose to spend more time with your family and to create a healthy work/life balance (you did it for love and the greater good for all).

Here’s your reminder that it’s good to focus on the good. We don’t want to be disillusioned by toxic positivity, but instead, to have a healthy and candid review of our lives in a more holistic way: It is to see our lives in a bigger picture and the ripple effects of our choices. To live each day is a blessing. To live another day means we can try again. And that, my friends, is plenty to be grateful for.