I’m writing this as fall is in the air. Step outside and you’ll find red and yellow hues littering the streets, You can practically hear the leaves crunch beneath your feet.
A hint of crisp cool air tells of the first signs of the weather to come. And you smell the fragrant spice burning in a candle while huddling under a blanket.
Do you notice these things? Stop long enough to savor them?
Developing your ability to appreciate is an essential life skill and one that gets better with practice.
Today, I’m offering an inspired 30 day gratitude challenge (with a free printable!). One that has a variety of ways to recognize your blessings, but also positive actions. Here’s why…
The Benefits of Adding Gratitude Actions
Researchers have found that when they asked participants to combine gratitude journaling with a behavioral action, participants reported even higher levels of positive emotions and lower negative emotions than those who only wrote down their gratitude (O’Connell, et al., 2017).
An additional study reports that when you express your gratitude to your partner, you build your relationship and actually change your view of the relationship.
This is not to say that gratitude journals and journal prompts aren’t still an amazing way to improve your life. But sometimes it’s beneficial to take our practice up a notch.
So, let’s take one small step further for breathtaking results. It’s time for a challenge friends!
The 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge Ideas
Due to the research above, some of the challenge actions are a form of journaling while others are a short exercise to complete. (And ALL will make you feel like a million bucks.)
Before you start, put up a few of these powerful gratitude quotes in your home! They’ll inspire you throughout the challenge.
And don’t forget to print off your gratitude challenge pdf to keep tabs on your progress!
Day 1: Send a card to someone
Whether it’s for a birthday or just to say hello, send a positive note off to someone today!
Day 2: Do a random act of kindness
This can be small or large! Not sure what to do? Try one of these:
- Pick up litter at your nearby park
- Bake cookies for a nursing home or neighbors
- Make dinner for a family that needs a night off
- Leave a kind note or money in a library book
- Pay for someone’s meal or coffee
- Leave an unusually large tip
- Thank a teacher with a small gift
- Get groceries for a senior
- Lend someone a book or movie you love
Day 3: Thank your mom
Moms are the best! They are often our biggest cheerleaders and most supportive friends. So, let your mom know how much she means to you today. Grandmas and other women that lift you up could also use the love today!
Day 4: Look in the mirror and say what you are grateful for about yourself
We are often our own worst critic when it comes to ourselves. So, stand in front of the mirror and point out at least 3 things you love about your body.
Then, take it a step further and be appreciative for all of the things your body allows you to do in your everyday life.
Day 5: Bake a treat and give some to others
An excuse for goodies? Why not?!
Bake a treat in your home and make extras for a neighbor, friend, or family member. Drop some off and feel the love!
If you’re short on time or energy, pick up an extra coffee for your partner or nearby friend. If coffee isn’t your thing, pick another item that costs around $5 and bring it to someone you love. Above all, don’t overcomplicate it!
Day 6: Try a gratitude meditation
Take your usual gratitude a step further with a simple meditation. These are not a woo-woo as you think, and you may find that you feel completely blessed by the end!
Day 7: Write about a meal you’re grateful for
We often eat without noticing the delicious goodness that goes into our mouths and bodies. So, today write your favorite meal and why you’re grateful for it. Does it make you feel comforted? Does it fuel your body?
Notice this simple but powerful joy in your life.
Day 8: Tell something you’re grateful for that money can’t buy
Next, on a piece of paper write something you are thankful for that has nothing to do with worldly possessions.
Perhaps you’re grateful for the love of your family, or the way your body feels after a hard workout. Chances are you’ll have several things that you are blessed with that cost nothing at all.
Day 9: List five things you’re grateful for using your senses
Get in touch with your sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. What are your favorite things regarding your senses?
Day 10: Write a glowing review to a company you love
We all have companies that have served us well. Take a quick moment today to give them a positive review, whether it’s on Amazon, Yelp, social media, or a handwritten card.
Day 11: Send a thank you to someone who inspired you
Who do you admire? Who inspires you to get after life? Let them know! Maybe this is a good friend, or perhaps it’s someone you follow from afar. Whatever the case, send them a little love today.
Day 12: Write something you are looking forward to
In your notebook, write down something that you’re excited about. What makes you look forward to this experience? Sometimes, anticipation is as important as the actual experience.
Day 13: Share how you’re grateful for a gift you received
Write down a gift that you received that made your heart swell. Or perhaps it helped you in an astonishing way. What is it about the gift that you are grateful for?
Day 14: Thank your dad
Dads can be the unsung heroes in our lives, and their presence and love are incredibly important. Take a moment today to say thank you in any way you choose (i.e. text message, in-person, card, or phone call)
Day 15: Write a memory you cherish
We all have memories that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Today, take a moment to remember this moment vividly and write down the experience. Even go so far as to visualize and feel the emotions of your beautiful experience.
Day 16: Share a goal you achieved
Next, write down an accomplishment you are proud of. Why did you achieve it? What qualities did you cultivate to be able to reach your goal?
For a moment today, give yourself the pat on your back you deserve and appreciate yourself for the fine person you are.
Day 17: Go one day without complaining
This is harder than it seems!
For one day, simply refrain from complaining about anything. Go by the old mantra “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
You may just find that your day is a bit more positive without these words pushing you down!
Day 18: Do something that loves on your body
Our bodies give us life and freedom. Plus, they take a good amount of daily abuse. So, show it some appreciation today! Check out these simple self care ideas or sign up for the toolkit below for ideas and a daily checklist sent straight to your inbox!
Day 19: Open your phone and find a photo you are grateful for
This one is quick! Take a fast look into your photos and pick out one photo that makes you smile. What do you love about it? And why?
If you have a few more minutes, find multiple photos and think about why they make you happy and what you’re grateful for in each of the pictures.
Day 20: Think of 3 amazing things that happened in the last week
Even in the toughest of weeks, there are wonderful moments. So, find them! List 3 amazing moments you cherish.
Day 21: Donate items you no longer need
For a second, recognize how blessed you are to have the things that you do.
Then, spend a few minutes going through your house and decluttering the items that no longer suit you. Unload them at your nearest drop off for someone that will appreciate them.
Day 22: Cook a meal for someone that’s tired or stressed
It has been a stressful year, and many of us have a lot on our plates. Today, take the time to cook extra food for someone you know would appreciate it.
If you’re making it anyways, it’s not much extra work and it will make THE DAY of your friend or family member.
Day 23: Thank the author of a book you loved
Next, have you read a book this year that moved you? Or engrossed you to the point that you ignored your family? Send a note of appreciation to the author, and tell them why you loved the book so much.
Day 24: Really savor one meal today
Do you notice the food you eat every day? For one meal today, smell and look at the food before you dig in. Then, put down your fork between bites. TASTE what is going into your mouth and note why you enjoy it.
Day 25: Spend time with loved ones today
This one is simple! Commit to spending undistracted, positive time with those you love today. Notice how precious the moments are with them.
Day 26: Write about what made you smile or laugh today
Regardless of how the day went, there is likely something that made you smile. What was it and why did you have that reaction?
Day 27: Take a photo of something you are grateful for today
Pull out your camera and take a picture of something you appreciate. This could be the beauty in nature, your loved ones, or your favorite spot in your living space.
If you have extra time, take a multitude of pictures and go through all of them at the end of the day.
Day 28: Write down something you are really good at
We all have strengths and talents. But sometimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for them.
Today, write down one thing that you excel at. Don’t be shy! Also, give yourself a pat on the back for the hard work you’ve put in to develop that skill or talent.
Day 29: Call or text someone and tell them why you are grateful for them
Finally, get in touch with one person today and tell them one thing you are appreciative of them. Perhaps he always supports you when you need it. Or she always takes out the trash.
What it is doesn’t really matter, but notice it and reach out to tell the person.
Day 30: Start a gratitude journal
Finally, as you are likely realizing, daily gratitude is an EASY way to boost your happiness!
So, check out the posts below to help put this lifelong habit into your daily routine! And if a journal seems like too much of a time commitment, start with a list and add 1-2 items every day.