I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I stopped doing that years ago when I realized that I only ended up disappointing myself.
I do however like to start each year by making a list of things I’m grateful for.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about all the things that have gone wrong and all the things you’d like to have or to achieve. But we forget to stop and think about all the good things in our lives.
I think it’s important to appreciate what we have instead of just focusing on what we don’t have.
What’s more, I believe that the universe rewards people who are grateful and aren’t greedy and selfish.
Here are 25 things to show gratitude for in the new year:
I’m going to start with what I’m most grateful for: my family.
I am very lucky to have an amazing family that loves and supports me. I really don’t know where I’d be without them!
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of an introvert. That being said, I can’t go through life alone which is why I am so grateful for my wonderful friends.
Friends are there to share the good times and the bad. They’re there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on, and you’re there for them when their world feels like it’s collapsing.
I’m thankful for all the special times I’ve shared with my friends and I look forward to spending some quality time with them this year.
I just looooove my fur babies!
I have three dogs.
Dogs aren’t just loving and loyal, they’re also grateful and we could learn a lot from them.
My dogs are grateful to be alive – they wake up happy! They’re grateful for everything – going for a walk, food, playtime, and cuddles.
I’m so happy to have them in my life because they make each day special.
And when it’s cold outside or I have the blues, I don’t have the luxury to sit around moping, I still have to take them for a walk! Do you know what that does? It makes me feel better.
4) Defining your values
I spent most of my twenties trying to figure out who I was, what my purpose in life was, and what my goals and values were. I knew there had to be more to life, I just didn’t know what it was.
I know how lost you can feel before you define your personal values in life, which is why I am grateful that I found mine. Now I have a sense of direction and I feel like I’m part of something bigger. I’m no longer wandering about aimlessly; I know what principles I want to live by.
If you want to increase your self-awareness, develop a personal vision, and set goals for your life, then it’s time to define your values.
There’s this amazing free exercise by the creator of Life Journal, Jeanette Brown, which will help you clarify your top five core values in life.
Once you do that, you can create a life with purpose and meaning – something that you can truly be grateful for.
Get your free exercise checklist here.
A lot of people take their health for granted. They just don’t realize how important it is until something goes wrong. If you’re healthy – or relatively healthy – then be grateful!
When I talk about health, I don’t mean that you can’t have minor ailments here and there. We all have something, but trust me, it can always be worse. If you don’t believe me, just go down to your local ICU!
So I’m grateful to be alive and (more or less) healthy!
6) Modern medicine
That last point really got me thinking about how grateful I am for modern medicine.
I mean, I’ve got some health issues and I have to take meds until the end of my life, but because of my meds, I get to live a normal life. 100 years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible!
I look at my mum who is a diabetic and is lucky enough to live in a time when insulin pumps exist.
I think about my poor great-grandmother who died in her thirties from tuberculosis, just a few months before penicillin became available.
We’re lucky and have so much to be grateful for.
In line with the previous point, I’m grateful for vaccines that save lives.
I know that some people are scared of vaccines but I really think that a lot of us wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for them.
I mean, there are vaccines against tuberculosis that would have saved my great-grandmother’s life!
There are vaccines against polio that have saved millions of children from being crippled.
And just think about the latest vaccines against Covid-19. Where would the world be without them?
8) Not being under lockdown
These past few years have been difficult for the whole world. When the pandemic hit, I didn’t know how long it would last, how long we’d be under lockdown, how long we’d have to fear for our lives, wear masks, and avoid public places.
I’m grateful that even though Covid isn’t gone, the variants we currently have are milder and less life-threatening – which means we can go out and see our friends and loved ones and live normal lives!
9) Having a home
Another thing I’m grateful for is having a roof over my head.
Now, I may not be able to afford to buy my own place, but at least I can afford to pay rent and have a place to call “home”.
Having a roof over my head contributes to my feeling “safe”, which according to Maslow’s pyramid is a basic human need.
Trust me, if you’ve got a home, you’re lucky. There are so many people out there that have to improvise from day to day. They have to sleep under bridges or in shelters and they don’t know what the next day will bring!
10) A good meal
Good food is good for the soul.
I really appreciate a good meal, whether it’s prepared by someone else or by me.
And really, we’re lucky to have any food at all because there are millions of people who go to bed hungry each day.
Education is a privilege that should be taken advantage of.
I’m not saying that everything I learned in school was useful, but it gave me the tools I needed to become who I am today. To learn how to read and write and think for myself.
I think that education is a basic human right and that every boy and girl, regardless of their geographical position, religion, and social standing should be given the opportunity to go to school.
Education is freedom.
12) Freedom of speech
Education and freedom of speech are interconnected.
Did you know that in some countries girls aren’t allowed to go to school?
If you live somewhere where you have freedom of speech, consider yourself lucky.
- You can read and listen to different points of view and form your own opinion.
- You’re not constantly fed lies by the ruling regime of your country.
- You can express yourself without fear of prison or capital punishment. Just think about what’s happening in the world today.
And even though it’s not perfect and there’s a lot that could improve, I’m still grateful that I live somewhere where we have freedom of speech and access to information.
Times are tough. So much is going on in the world right now.
Wars are being waged. Prices are soaring because of inflation.
I’m just happy that I have a job and can pay rent and put food on the table.
Today, more than ever, we’re addicted to technology.
Look around you.
What do you see? 4 out of 5 people are doing something on their phones.
And though I think we could all benefit from taking a break from our phones and computers for a few hours each day, I’m really grateful to have that kind of technology.
I remember how when I was a kid, movies about the future showed people talking on phones where you could see the other person. I never in a million years thought that that would be my future.
Just think of your average phone today – you can talk to people, you can face-time with people, you have a whole world of information at your fingertips, you can listen to music, watch movies, write… and on top of all that, you’ve got a clock and calendar. How amazing is that?
The world would be a sad place without books.
Now, I know that not everyone likes to read, some people prefer to watch movies and TV shows, and that’s ok.
But if it wasn’t for books, I don’t think there would be any movies or TV shows to watch.
I’m grateful for the billions of books out there that are waiting for me to read them and to transport me to another (sometimes magical) place.
I’m lucky that I’ve had a chance to travel and visit some of the world’s best art collections.
But art isn’t just in fancy museums: it’s all around us.
You can find it in murals and graffiti.
It’s in independent little galleries. It’s in magazines and on Pinterest. It’s in a child’s drawing.
It’s in a sunset.
And if we want, it’s within our grasp to create art. It’s never too late to pick up a paper and pencil, a camera, or join a ceramics class.
Where would we be without movies?
Is there anyone who’s never seen a movie?
I remember watching a documentary about Bollywood and how even the untouchables who didn’t have a home and slept on the street spent the little money that they earned doing menial jobs on movie tickets.
In those three hours that the movie lasted, they could forget about their hardships and live vicariously through their Bollywood heroes.
Whenever I’m feeling down, I can count on a good movie to make me forget my troubles, if only for an hour or two.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
Music is magical, honest, cathartic, therapeutic, and universal.
Music brings people together. It taps into our emotions and it gets our bodies moving.
I’m so thankful to be able to listen to and appreciate such a wide range of music. And how amazing is it that with apps like Radio Garden we can listen to music from all around the world?
How about nature?
I think that way too many people take nature for granted. People are cutting down more and more forests, polluting the air and the oceans, and responsible for the extinction of other animal and plant species.
But I love nature. A walk in the forest near me or by the lake can be so transformative and calming. Nature is good for physical and mental health and our overall well-being. It produces positive emotions and reduces stress.
If we can get more people to appreciate nature and protect biodiversity, we can ensure not only that future generations get to enjoy nature the way I do, but that they have the same access to natural resources that we have today.
The bottom line is that we need nature, we depend on nature, and we really need to learn to appreciate it.
20) The smell of freshly baked cookies
And now for something small.
While there are a lot of big, important things that we can be grateful for, there are also a lot of tiny little things from our day-to-day lives that may seem insignificant, but that we can show gratitude for.
Things like the smell of freshly baked cookies. It’s a comforting feeling of being at home. It may remind you of your childhood and baking cookies with your mum or grandma.
21) Hot showers
And speaking of small stuff, how about hot showers?
Not everyone has access to hot showers. In fact, not everyone has access to showers.
It would be horrible to come in from the freezing cold, unable to feel your hands or feet, and not be able to jump into a hot shower.
So, I’m grateful for hot showers!
22) Indoor plumbing
While we’re at it, I’m grateful to have indoor plumbing.
Look, I visited several old villages with outdoor toilets and let me tell you, they’re as bad as you can picture them to be. I’m certainly not one to rough it when it comes to plumbing.
I grew up with a lot of power shortages and boy am I glad that I have electricity all the time and that I don’t have to worry about power shortages (unless there’s a fault at the power station or something).
Really, I feel blessed.
24) The opportunity to travel
Never has travel been more accessible to the masses than it is today.
Before, you had to be super rich in order to buy a plane or boat ticket to take you on a trip.
Today, there are so many budget airlines that you can fly across Europe for the price of lunch!
I consider myself fortunate to have the world at my fingertips!
25) Surviving another year
Finally, I’m grateful to have survived another year.
It’s not just pandemics and wars that we’re living with, we all have our own personal issues and the fact that we made it through another year is amazing!
So be grateful for the big and the small and I wish you a fantastic year!