Like all other years, 2018 has also been a year full of accomplishments, challenges, inspirations, learnings as well as eureka moments.
But why it stands out the most to me was because of 3 habits I picked up and have continued to follow with consistency throughout the year. These have transformed how I experienced 2018, making it a truly special and memorable year.
1. Gratitude Journal
While I’ve heard of Gratitude Journals before, I only started on it myself early this year, and the results have been PHENOMENAL!!
So, this is how I do it – At the end of every day, I write down at least 10 things I’m grateful for. But I don’t just list them down. I write about who was responsible for the act, what exactly they did, what qualities in them triggered that behaviour and the positive impact it had on me. These 4 steps are essential as they force me to take time and reflect on what I’m grateful for. This process of reflection in turn helps me to truly ‘feel’ grateful, without simply limiting it to words.
Having maintained the journal for 1 year, gratitude has now become a habit that I practice throughout the day. The more I ‘feel’ grateful, the more things I notice to be grateful of.
Can you imagine going through the day feeling grateful all the time? You’ll feel amazingly blessed beyond words.
2. Help Someone…Consciously
I started this practice a little over a year ago and it has been an extremely rewarding experience.
How does it work? – Every week I make a conscious effort to go out of my way to help someone. I do this at least once a week, and it’s also amazingly fulfilling to journal it so that you can always reflect back at the end of the year.
Keywords here are ‘consciously’ and “going out of my way”. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of these. It is these that make this practice different from the usual helping hand we give. ‘Consciously’ and “going out of my way” also mean that I’m forced to reflect on the gesture, leaving me with a sense of incredible satisfaction at the end of it.
3. Let Go of Expectations
This is something that a Buddhist priest taught me almost one year ago.
What does it mean? – We carry many expectations throughout the day, which we are mostly unaware of. If we greet someone in the morning, we expect them to acknowledge it, or otherwise, we usually end up reacting with worry, concern, disappointment or anger. The reason for this emotional rollercoaster was the ‘expectation’ we had created in the first place. Starting from this mundane of situations, we go through the day creating many expectations from those around us – our bosses, colleagues, family, friends and even total strangers. The truth is, carrying expectations is tremendously draining and stressful.
What if we can let go of our expectations? What if we say good morning to someone with no expectation of them responding back? What if we smile with someone without any expectation of them smiling back with us? What if we hold the lift for someone without expecting them to say thank you?
While I still haven’t mastered this practice, the sense of relief, joy and peace of mind it has brought is truly incredible.
So, these are the 3 practices that have helped me experience 2018 with a greater sense of satisfaction, gratitude and peace of mind. Let me know what has transformed your life in 2018.