gratitude, and forward-looking

For a few months now I’ve been writing down three things for which I have reason to be grateful, every evening in a little notebook next to my bed. I keep a special fountain pen with the notebook for this purpose. If I miss an evening, then I do it the next morning. And more often than not, the list consists of more than three items! I know that lots of people do this, and it has certainly proved very worthwhile for me – it has helped me to focus on the positive rather than the negative, and also to be more aware of so many things I used to take for granted. Sometimes they are Big Things (eg. my health, or my daughter writing a successful exam), sometimes Smaller Things (eg. an hour of rain, or a coffee visit from an old friend), and sometimes Really Small Things (eg. finding a bar of chocolate I’d stashed away in my underwear drawer and then forgotten about).

milo bar

I’ve just jotted down my current three things (I didn’t last night because I was struck by an urge to draft a “poem” à la Dr Seuss instead – I have no idea why, but I went with it anyway….) (and no, I won’t be reprinting the result here! – it’s even more pathetic in the harsh light of day) and then something struck me: I CAN MAKE TWO LISTS –  one for the gratitude stuff, and one for the looking-forward-to stuff. I suppose I could include things-to-look-forward-to on the gratitude list but I’d prefer to keep that for current / existing circumstances. The LFT list will be about things coming my way in the future that I anticipate will be nice!

So, here’s my first LFT for public viewing: (1) a short holiday after Christmas with a close friend to visit some of her family from overseas; (2) the income generated from my selling endeavours over the November/December markets (much needed right now!); (3) tickets for Mozart’s The Magic Flute and the production of King Kong in the next couple of weeks with a particular person whose company I love.

Have you ever made a Looking-Forward-To list? Anyone else think it’s a good idea?

16 thoughts on “gratitude, and forward-looking

  1. Rainbow Junkie

    I don’t make lists though I really admire you three things list every day as I would never have the consistency. However I do like to focus on the things I have to be grateful for from time to time and even more in the past I used to have a pleasant something in the future to hold in my mind even if the present was difficult. Now that I am old (but not elderly!) I suppose I combine the two into a happy ‘now’.

  2. katechiconi

    Definitely a good idea! I have deep Magic Flute envy, I must say… I try and remind myself of the good stuff at least once a day, and I’m fortunate to have plenty of good stuff to remind myself about :-)

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I fell into a bit of a rut a few years ago when it came to going to movies, theatre, vineyards, etc. It was just so much easier/ lazier to stay home, think of what to make for supper, and watch stuff on tv while crocheting something. I don’t do any of those things any more! I go to all the new movies when they come out, I eat out at places I’ve never been to before, I’ve hosted a dinner party, I’ve been to talks on climate change and walks in Newlands Forest, made loads of new friends and reconnected with old ones. Opera and classical music is new to me, I’m more of a blues/jazz kind of person, but I’m keeping my options open :)

      1. katechiconi

        I fear my energy levels incline me much more to the cook supper/do some embroidery option, but we do try to eat out once a week and go to the movies when there’s something on we both want to watch. And of course the Husband’s shifts do make a social life a bit tricky… :-(

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I guess I won’t be making a LFT list every day, because there are only so many holidays and theatre-bookings and end-of-lawsuit-celebrations that one can expect within, say, a normal 6-month period. Working with the Gratitude list, it’s something to help me keep my chin up in general xxx
      I think you must be exhausted from your craft market and all your hard work, plus your normal day-job hard work, plus Thankgiving preparations? I hope you can stay in bed late both mornings this weekend, and GET SOME REST xxx

  3. The Snail of Happiness

    As you know I post “three things” every Thursday, but perhaps I should add a “what I’m looking forward to” entry too. I have found it very helpful to force myself to focus on the positives over the past 18 months, although I am considering dropping it as a blog post when the new year comes around as I need to start writing fewer blog posts and more of the book I’ve been planning for ages!

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      You could keep the daily/weekly positives going in a little notebook. You will need a separate notebook for the outline of your book. Which you are going to make time for and start writing. :)

  4. Linne

    great idea, Jill! I’ve been keeping a list of things I’m grateful for in a OneNote notebook, but I don’t add things every day. And some items are more like affirmations for things that WiLL be mine soon (like returning to my normal weight( It works well for me. I hadn’t thought of having a separated LFT list, but I like the idea. So here’s mine for today: I’m looking forward to:
    1) TMMT in six months (sorry, am not yet ready to share details, but one day)
    2) Attending a good friend’s wedding next year. I haven’t seen her for about ten years.
    3) Beginning to stitch again as soon as my eyes are working. I see the ophthalmologist tomorrow and will then get the surgery dates. Apart from the collections in my storage, I have acquired fabrics, etc. while here at my cousins’, plus patterns and the like. I’m quite excited, really! I have been working on designs for a couple of the items, too.

    Thanks for the nudge, Jill. I think I’ll add these to my OneNote.
    BTW, I heard some good jazz while in Tacoma last winter; my friend’s husband sings in a jazz band and I got to see them preform a couple of times. I hope you enjoy The Magic Flute; I haven’t heard much live classical, although I do love it. (that’s on my list, too) I tend to get into ruts, too, and I love your solution. It’s so easy to ‘not’ do things, but life is so much richer when we ‘do’ them, isn’t it? Have a great week! ~ Linne

  5. Catherine

    What a great idea! I have in the past made a list of three things in the day for which I’m thankful or made me happy in some way, but have never thought about a looking forward to list. What a great idea!

  6. The Little Room of Rachell

    Lovely post to read.

    I keep a things I appreciate, or am grateful for, or which I enjoyed bullet point list that I write when the mood takes me. This post reminds me to try to go back to writing it every night before bed. It’s easy to forget for a week or more otherwise.

    It’s a positive sort of diary and much nicer to read back in the future. Just a sentence about a good day brings it all back, that’s a good thing.

  7. insearchofitall

    What a great idea, Jill! Everyone needs things to LFT. :) And when they are done, we put them on our gratitude list. I’ve been writing a one thing I’m most grateful for today list since 2012. One line a day takes seconds to write and a great deal of thought on rough days. That is written after my one page journal that documents my day and thoughts about it. Gratitude goes there as well. I’m a seriously blessed human even though there are days when my gratitude line is that I took in breath today and let it out again. We miss things that are big if we don’t focus on the positives in our lives. If you keep this up, you will be so surprised at the good that comes your way that outshines the not as good. :) I’m LFT hearing all about your events here after you have experienced them.


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