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How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in the New Year

“When will 2016 ever end?”

“This has been the worst year ever!”

“Good riddance 2016!”

It seems like 2016 has not been a good year for many people. That is, if you follow what people say on social media. I have seen numerous comments like the ones above and have begun to wonder what could have happened in 2016 that has caused so many people to look forward to the New Year.

Some would say election fatigue or the results of the election. Others would point to the many celebrity deaths that have occurred this year. And still others may say they just didn’t have a great year either financially, socially, or health wise.

Personally, I would describe my year as frustrating. It’s not to say that my year has been bad. Not at all! I’ve had the opportunity to travel many places and spend lots of time with my family.

The frustration comes in when I look back over the year and realize that once again I’ve not fulfilled goals I set for myself. In fact, I feel like I’ve either just been treading water or staying the same instead of moving forward.

What does all this have to do with gratitude? 

In my opinion, we are the only ones who can determine how life affects us. In other words, we choose how we respond to things that happen to us.

For instance, suppose we face a job loss, death of a loved one, or just feel in general life is not going well. We can either choose to make the most of the situation the best we can, or we can choose to let it get us down and cause us to be bitter and hopeless.

That’s where gratitude comes in.

When we choose to focus on our blessings instead of our circumstances, life has a much brighter and more hopeful outlook. We can find peace in the difficult situations.

I’ve decided 2017 is the year I get my attitude under control. No, I won’t do this perfectly, but if I don’t make an effort, it will never happen.

One tool I’m using to help me remember my blessings is a gratitude journal. Specifically, I am using a leather notebook cover from Chic Sparrow with notebook inserts. I love the quality of Chic Sparrow notebook covers and other leather products they sell.

Don’t feel you need something so fancy, though. A spiral notebook will work just as well. Use what you have on hand.

I plan to keep the journal by my bed and write down at least 3 things for which I’m grateful. I have found when I take the time to really focus on my blessings, I remember so many more. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will have a book full of reminders of how God has been at work in my life.

I want to leave you with these thoughts from the book of Lamentations. I pray they will give you hope and peace for the coming year.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”  Lamentations 3:21-24

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