Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone

May 22, 2009

I feel like an ungrateful person.  I have a lot of blessings in the form of health, family, friends, a home, food to eat, insurance, a job, the list goes on….

Yet, there are days when I get worked up over things that in the big picture are pretty unimportant.  It’s easy for me to get caught up in the cycle of making money and paying bills and forget about all the things that are going right for our family.

Making a Gratitude List
I’ve decided to build a gratitude list that details all the things that are going well in our life.  My method is simple. Twice a day I’m going to write down:

  • What I enjoyed about my life the last several hours
  • What I’m looking forward to in the next few hours

Whatever comes to mind will probably be things that I’m lucky to have but typically take for granted.  I don’t know how long I’ll try this for, I guess until I run out of things to add to the list.

Using the List
I think my gratitude list will actually be the most useful on days when things just aren’t going my way.  When something bad happens to you, it can ruin your whole day, week, or month.  I know that I can obsess over bad news and dwell on the negatives for far too long.

My hope is that when something unpleasant happens to me and I’m wallowing in self pity that I can bring out the gratitude list and remind myself that whatever it is, I still have all these other things going for me.  That’s what I try and do now but it’s hard to think positive thoughts when you’re down in the dumps. Hopefully the gratitude list will be there to remind me of the pleasant things and help me get my mind back on track!

What do you think?  Do you have a gratitude list?  How do you get yourself through a bad day?



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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone

  • Ben

    Kristi, that’s exactly the kind of stuff I’m talking about. People without white blood cells miss them sorely but I don’t even think twice about what they do for me!

    Maybe your method of showing gratitude once a day is more realistic, the end of the day is a good time for self-reflection. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristi

    I don’t keep a gratitude journal, but over a year ago, we incorporated this into our bedtime routine. After we say our evening prayers together (myself, hubby, 6 year old and 4 year old), we go around a circle and each say what we are thankful for from that day. My 6 year old recently thanked God for white blood cells that heal her scrapes and bruises. Yes, I need to be grateful everyday for white blood cells and this nightly reminder of all the daily blessings we have in our lives has changed the outlook on some days!