Have you made goals, only to abandon them later? Does your list of New Year’s Resolutions taunt you from your bulletin board, forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life? Are you determined to make goals that work, and see them to completion?
It may surprise you to learn that having an “attitude of gratitude” could make the difference between reaching your goal and simply having a dream. This is truly a powerful boost to your goal setting activities.
Scientists have long known about the effects of stress and worry on your body. Hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine are released, preparing the body to deal with potential danger. In reality, most of the things you fear and stress over never materialize, leaving your body to deal with the aftereffects of this boost in hormones. It can take hours, or even days, to return to normal.
Your brain can have a hard time concentrating on the task at hand because it has been focused on dealing with your fears. When you shift your focus from fears to gratitude, however, you leave little room for unfounded fears to take hold. Instead of focusing on imaginary dangers, your brain is filled with thoughts of thankfulness over the things that you already have. Those thoughts of gratitude have astonishing results on your ability to set (and reach) your goals.
What effect does gratitude have on you?
Gratitude generates enthusiasm
A necessary component in the quest to accomplish anything, enthusiasm is directly correlated to gratitude. Recent studies show that individuals who wrote down things they were thankful for demonstrated more enthusiasm for life in general. Looking for an extra burst of energy to push you toward your goal? Start compiling a ‘thankful list’ and review it daily, adding to it frequently.
Gratitude gives you energy
Negativity can have a detrimental effect on your body. It can skew your perspective, making it seem as though everything about your life is bad. As a result, it is hard to get anything done, and there is little motivation to push through difficult circumstances.
When you focus on gratitude, there are chemical and physical reactions within your body. The endorphins released inside your body help you focus and can give you the energy you need to finish your tasks.
Gratitude provides motivation
Every day, as you begin to take careful stock of your list of ‘thankful’ items, you will find yourself becoming more determined to reach your goals. Reaching your goals can be empowering: you work harder to reach your next goal, generating more positive thinking, which can compel you to work towards another goal.
Gratitude increases optimism
It is easy to forget about the many positive things you have in your life when things are not going well. By reviewing your written list of ‘thankfulness’ items, you will be encouraged and reminded of better times.
Gratitude reduces stress
Most stress is a result of either guilt or worry. Guilt is focused on things that happened in the past. Worry is generally focused on things that may never happen in the future. Gratitude, however, allows you to live in the present.
You can be thankful for what you have, and take proactive measures to move forward – reducing the amount of stress you will deal with on a daily basis.
Ready to move forward with your goal setting plan? Start by writing the things you’re thankful for down. Develop the habit of starting the day with gratitude, you may be surprised how much more you get done in your pursuit of your goals.
My Big Idea™ Professional and Personal workshops include a segment on gratitude. Learn when the next one starts or book your own.