Ask a dentist and they’ll tell you the best predictor of good oral health is brushing your teeth. That’s why parents train their children to make teeth brushing a habit, including all the tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible so that the habit will stick.
Think back to when you last brushed your teeth. Where was your toothbrush? Was it in your garage? Or in the attic? Or was it sealed in a locked container hidden away where no one but you can find it? Of course not.
If you’re like most people your toothbrush and the toothpaste is next to the sink, either in the drawer or on the countertop. The reason is simple - it makes it easy to brush your teeth which helps you maintain the habit of brushing your teeth. And the bottom line for you is good oral health.
The connection between gratitude and brushing your teeth
PERMA, the model that describes human flourishing developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, is built on twenty-four positive character strengths (traits like hope, optimism, love of learning). The thought of having to work on twenty-four different character strengths felt a little overwhelming to Dr. Scott Kaufman, who expanded on this by asking, “If I could only work on one character strength, which would be the best predictor of a flourishing life?” In a study that collected data on 517 people ranging from 18-71 years of age he uncovered the answer - Gratitude!
So if gratitude is the best predictor of living a flourishing, thriving life, is it unreasonable to suggest that you should organize your life to make gratitude as easy as possible to practice?
I recommend that you focus on the foundational practice of making a gratitude list. I list three things I’m grateful for and I haven’t missed a day in more than ten years. Master this first gratitude habit and develop it into your routine so that it becomes habitual.
The simplest way to make your gratitude list habitual
Keep your gratitude journal in a convenient visible location. If you make your list either first thing in the morning or last thing before going to bed, then your bedside table would be a great spot to keep your journal. Put it on the table and not in the drawer because if it’s in the drawer, it’s out of sight and therefore out of mind. If lunch is the time that works for you, then keep your journal next to where you eat. If that means you need two journals, one for work and one for home, get a second journal; it’ll be worth it.
It doesn’t matter when you make your list. All that matters is that you make a list every day. Find a 3-5 minute time block that works in your busy schedule.
If you make your list electronically, then set a notification in the app or in your calendar to remind you to make your list. Again, make sure you set the alarm to notify you at a time that works for you.
That’s all there is to it.
Special Announcement [Fall 2018]
Join me on the journey to the launch of my new book this fall. It’s called “Surviving to Thriving: The 10 Laws of Grateful Leadership” This book is the ultimate guide on gratitude and its importance for spending more time thriving and less time surviving. Through reading the book, you’ll deeply understand how to implement gratitude in all aspects of your life.
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