If you're struggling to get what you want in your life, I've got some help for you today! Often, the reason you're not getting what you want is because you're actually pushing it away. We get stuck in thinking of what we don't have, instead of being grateful for what we do have. So you're not getting what you want because you're spending too much time focusing on what you lack. Change that habit, and you'll quickly start getting what you want!
Maybe you've tried various gratitude exercises, and you just haven't really seen the results that you wanted. If this is your experience, I can completely relate to you. I have done gratitude challenges in the past, and I didn't really seem to get much out of them.
But I'm going through another 30-day gratitude challenge right now. This time, though, I am seeing huge changes and improvements within my life. And it's only been five days so far. I want to share with you some ways that you can get more out of the practice of gratitude.
First, we'll review the "standard" gratitude practice and I'll tell you how to make it actually work.
Second, I've got one specific exercise that you can do to focus on getting more of whatever it is that you want in your life.
Not getting what you want?
With the standard practice of gratitude, the idea is that you wake up every morning and sometime during your morning routine, you make a list of 10 things that you feel thankful for.
Usually, the instructions stop there. Make a list of things you're grateful for, and POOF!, just like magic, your life will be instantly better! Gratitude is the Aladdin's lamp you've been looking for!
So you do this for awhile....or a long while.....and wait. And wait. Nothing happens. So, you chalk it up to another weird, new-agey practice and decide that it just doesn't work.
Yet, there's a reason it's not working...you've just been given incomplete instructions!
What happens is, it just becomes an intellectual process. It's something you just do, kind of like making your to-do list for the day.
And if that's how you tried practicing gratitude, you probably didn't see many results or much changes from it. Because when it's something that you just think about intellectually, it doesn't create the change that you want in your life.
You're not getting what you want because it's just an intellectual exercise.
The time when things will start to change and give you the results that you want is when you get your heart involved, when you allow yourself to feel the emotion of gratitude for the things that you're writing down your list.
How to use gratitude to get what you want
Instead of just going through the process, when you make your list, you want to do two things.
#1: Instead of just saying, "I am thankful for this", or "I'm so grateful now that" or "I'm so happy that I have this", you want to add why you are thankful for that thing, or for that person or for that experience.
That gets you a little bit deeper into the meaning behind the thing that you're putting on your list.
It also makes it much easier for you to then start connecting your heart and your feelings, instead of it just being a rote intellectual process that you go through each day.
When you make your gratitude list, write out what you're grateful for, and then add why you feel thankful for it.
#2: Number two, once you get done with your list, read those things out loud, and give yourself a few seconds to allow the emotion of gratitude to swell up from within you, as you are going through your list of items. Take a few seconds, longer if needed, to really get that feeling for each item.
There's an important question you probably have right now.
How do you know this is actually working?
First, you will feel different. I did this the other day. I was having a bad day, I was not in a great space. And I wanted to change that for myself.
Because I know that the way that I feel is simply something that comes from within me, from my own thoughts, feelings, and what I'm creating in my mind. So I wanted to change that.
I decided to sit down and write a gratitude list. And by the time I got halfway through my gratitude list, my heart was so full of thankfulness that I was crying (in a good way).
The immediate way that you know that you're having success with actually embodying gratitude is because you will instantly feel better.
Through your gratitude, you will feel lighter, more spacious and more open. You'll also feel more full of love, thankfulness, happiness, joy, and appreciation for the things that you are writing down on your list!
The second way that you will know that you are making changes and having improvements in your life is that the physical reality that you are experiencing will start to change.
You will have different interactions with people, more good things will come to you, and you will start to recognize them more often than you do now.
You want to be changing what you're feeling from the inside. Then you'll start to see that happen in the world around you. As you continue to make your gratitude lists, you will feel more of an outpouring of love toward other people.
Let go of lack and complaining
How often do you go through your day without being aware of all the goodness that surrounds you?
It's very easy for us to get caught up in being negative or complaining because we're often surrounded by other people who do just that.
It’s so important when you are on this path to becoming more happy, more full of love, and more full of joy, to be very vigilant and guard yourself against most of the world, which is not embracing the same things that you are.
Even when you just go out to run errands, or maybe when you're at work or in your meetings, be very careful that you don't get engaged in any conversations that are negative or directing negativity towards some other person or thing.
Stop and notice how often you complain, whether that's in your thoughts or in what you say.
It's so easy for us become negative, especially toward those we spend the most time around. It's easy to see the faults and the limitations of others.
Instead, practicing gratitude on a regular basis will help you see the good things in other people and focus on that aspect of your life. That's truly what is going to give you that happiness in your relationships.
You know that this is true for yourself. If someone is being critical towards you, or telling you all the things that that they don't like about you or that you're not doing right, you don't feel very loving toward that person, you don't want to help them or reach out to them.
In the same way, you want to express gratitude and love toward others instead of complaining or being critical toward them.
A simple gratitude exercise for getting what you want
This gratitude exercise is specifically designed to change your perception of lack.
Most people that I encounter have significant beliefs of lack in many areas of their lives.
Almost everyone I know has a huge belief in lack when it comes to money.
I grew up, as you probably did, hearing things like, "this is too expensive", or "we can't afford that", or "we don't have enough money for that".
Those beliefs become very ingrained within our states of being, and we accept them as fact. So we continue with the same patterns into adulthood, just like we do for any other pattern.
But if you're constantly thinking of all the money, (or anything else) that you don't have, then you are going to continue in a state of lack and of not having because you are complaining about things instead of being grateful for what you have.
Each time you think, "I don't have the money for that," you're not being grateful for the money you do have. You're also pushing away any other money that wants to come to you.
Here's the exercise that I that I invite you to try.
Step 1: Make a list of whatever you feel that you are lacking in your life.
What do you feel you don't have enough of? Is it money? Is it something physical? Is it friendships? Is it a job that you love or work that you love?
Think about the things that it's easy for you to say, I don't have enough of this. I never have enough money, I never have the clothes that I want. I don't have enough friends to hang out with, or whatever it may be.
Step 2: Focus your gratitude specifically on the things you feel you lack.
Once you've got your list of the things that you feel you lack, those are the things that you specifically want to focus on expressing gratitude for. Because as long as you continue to express a viewpoint of lack, you will continue in a state of lacking. As long as you continue to say, I don't have enough money to do this, you will continue to not have enough money to do whatever it is that you want to do.
Think of each expression of gratitude as a deposit!
Make a list of the things that you feel you lack, and then spend time being grateful specifically for those things. And every single time during your day that that issue comes up, do your best to be grateful for it instead of feeling a sense of lack.
When we feel lack, what happens is we constrict and we tighten up. And when we do that we can't allow things to come to us. But when we experience gratitude that opens us up and we become more expansive. That makes it possible for us take in the blessings and the beautiful things that are there waiting for to come to us.
Try a 30-day gratitude challenge for yourself and put it to practice for yourself!