Happy New Year, my friends. Whether you rang in the new year with style, barely made it to midnight, or went to bed early like any other night, 2019 is here. If you know me, you know I LOVE New Years. Not just gathering with people to have fun but the chance to pause, reflect, and adjust your sails. Life simply passes by quickly and sometimes we forget to pause and come up for air. That sweet space between Christmas and New Year is a great time for deep and long reflection.

But NYE was boring.

Plan after plan started falling through, mostly due to weather, and as the night went on the less motivated I was to do anything. It was -10 degrees with crazy wind so even bundling the kids up and walking across the street to the neighbors made me question my sanity. So we didn’t do anything. I’m not even sure my kids knew it was New Year’s Eve because they both were in bed like normal without a fuss.

My husband and I rented a movie, I opened champagne begrudgingly, and my husband got up to go to the bathroom 54 seconds before the ball dropped in NYC. So I sat there alone as the East Coast rang in the New Year. Yes, I was a little crabby and disappointed. That’s not my typical New Year’s Eve. But these past months haven’t been typical for me either in terms of personal growth so the solitude of this moment didn’t go unnoticed. I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Failing at gratitude.

One of my most common New Year’s resolutions/goals has always been to be more grateful. Year after year, I’d get a little notebook to put on my nightstand and try to remember to jot down a few good things in my life before I went to bed. Soon the notebook was tossed aside. It had no impact on me. I didn’t get it. People everywhere tell us of how gratefulness changed their life. Why couldn’t I get it right?

Over a month ago, someone close to me was sharing how they had a notebook and have spent time being grateful. Again, I questioned this whole process. I had #beentheredonethat and I’m not sure another new notebook was going to fix anything. But a day or two later, someone else gifted me a smaller spiral notebook and filled the inside cover with a letter of gratitude to me. It was the sweetest note and I decided it would be the most perfect time to try this whole gratitude thing over again.

So before I went to bed, I dated the top, made a bulleted list, and wrote down a few things that are good in my life. The next night, I looked at that list, format, all of it – I knew this wasn’t going to work – again. If I was going to do gratitude, I had to do this differently.

Let it flow.

Night two, I changed it up. I threw out the rules of a numbered list, no repeats, length of list, etc. I started a simple sentence with:

I am grateful for…

Fill in the blank. I started a second sentence the same way and wrote. I repeated this process until an entire page was filled with moments from that day. No rules. No bullets. Just a flow of thoughts and moments that made me smile. Now, this finally felt like something. Soon I was not only filling pages with gratitude for each day but I was ending each day with my new mantra based off Galatians 5:22-23.

I am love. I am joy. I am peace. I am patience. I am kindness. I am goodness. I am faithfulness. I am gentleness. I am self – control.

Not only was I starting to find some powerful and genuinely good moments in what I thought were the crappiest days, but I was also opening up an opportunity to thank God for the gifts He has given me. If I miss a night, I try to grab my notebook the next morning and fill in the gaps. These past 30 days with that new notebook have helped me find the good in some really dark days. It’s also helped me turn a night that I found myself alone ringing in the New Year. Gratitude absolutely matters. I pray that you give it another try this year and simply let it flow.