A Jar of Gratitude and Joy!

gratitudejar

Day 115

I have been ‘posting’ butterfly notes into my Gratitude Jar for a few months now and it’s getting quite full.

Today, after a week of being unwell, I needed a little perking up. So I took a sneak peak at the contents of my jar. After fifteen minutes I was feeling pretty awesome! I was surprised at how quickly I had forgotten some of the fantastic things I have achieved, and some of the equally awesome things that have happened over the past few months.

Reading through my notes was a bit like looking through a stack of precious photos…you can’t help but remember the stories and the feelings you had on the day or in that moment in time.

I have a large jar that I bought at the $2 Shop and I decorated it with butterflies, red hearts and ribbons. Then I cut out a few purple and pink post it note pads in the shape of butterflies. I keep them next to my jar on my book shelf with some sharpie pens ready for the next ‘instalment’!

The plus for me is that the small shape of the butterfly keeps my note short and to the point. It also encourages me to document my achievements and experiences because I know it will only take me 15 seconds. Once I have written down my experience or achievement, I pop it into the jar. I’m saving them for a moment with my husband on New Years Eve when, over a glass of champagne, I can read the contents of my gratitude jar and look back on all of the wonderful moments and achievements of 2014.

Sometimes though, it’s great to have a sneak peak. It helps clarify what you want to write and record. What makes your heart sing, or burst with pride? What fills you with warmth and joy? What gives you an utter sense of love and pure bliss?

Today, when I was feeling a little tired and vulnerable, (and to be honest a bit cranky and frustrated that I am still unwell), taking the time to meander through some brightly coloured butterfly notes was…well a bubble of joy. It reminded me to be grateful. And excited. I am living an extraordinary life.

How are your gratitude or happiness jars going? Are you writing all of your amazing achievements down? Perhaps you have a bucket list jar instead and each time you achieve one of your dreams on your list you write that down and pop it into your jar. Perhaps you have had a few sneak peaks, or perhaps you are saving it all up for a special date.

Or maybe it’s time to finally set up your gratitude/happiness/ bucket list jar…it’s not too late!

“May you live every day of your life.” 
― Jonathan Swift

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Buckets, jars and other inspirational vessels to love

gratitude 2

Day 34

3rd February 2014,

Over the past month I have noticed many of my friends and family setting up different strategies to achieve their goals, or inspire themselves. There are many ways to inspire and motivate yourself to achieve your dreams, or to realise that you are perhaps already living your dream, you just didn’t know it. Of all of the ideas, I really love the ‘JAR’ idea.  Here are some ideas that my beautiful friends have used that involve a jar and a list of sorts.

It starts with a jar!

The first thing you want to do is find a jar. Now if you are like me – you probably have some beautiful empty jars in your cupboard. But if not, there are all sorts of empty jars to buy at the supermarkets, markets, second hand stores or $2 shops. You want to make sure that it’s relatively big though, so you can fit lots of bits of paper or little cards inside!

When you bring it home, it’s time to decorate it. Yes…there is a craft project, sorry I wasn’t up front about it! You are going to be looking at this jar all year, so make it beautiful and make it reflect your own personality! You can cover it, past jewels on it, use stickers, or print off a picture and place it inside the jar. If you are really adverse to craft project, then by all means, keep your jar plain and un-bedazzled! Next step is naming your precious jar: Happiness Jar, Things I love Jar, Kicking Goals Jar, or whatever the purpose of this jar will be.

Now it’s time to set up the …

1. Gratitude Jar

Every morning before breakfast, and every evening, you are going to write down one thing you are grateful for, and pop it into your jar. So make sure you have a stack of coloured paper, or love heart shapes, or something inviting to write on. Equally important is to have something special to write with. Remember that this is a new habit you are forming. So commit to writing morning and night for the next 30 days. That’s all. Just 30 days. When you get to the end of 30 days empty out your jar and read the 60 things that you are grateful for. Make sure that before you do you create some space for yourself, find a spot that you like to sit, make a drink for yourself, wrap yourself in your favourite blanket, or sit under the stars…celebrate how rich and full your life is. Savour how beautiful and incredible your life is – every single day.

Then pop your pieces of paper back in your jar and recommit to writing down one thing you are grateful for every morning and every evening for the next 30 days. Don’t open your jar in 30 days though. Try to recommit to your task every 30 days until you are up to New Years Eve. Then on New Years Eve, find a magical space in your part of the world, empty your Gratitude Jar, and celebrate your abundant and full life! You will be amazed at how rich and exciting your life has become!

2. Things I Love Jar

This one is similar to the gratitude jar, although it is coming from a slightly different place. Every Friday night or Sunday morning look back on the week and write down all of the things you have loved. It could be playing with your new kitten, learning how to make cheese sauce, going to see your favourite band, holding hands with your love, laughing at your friends hysterical story until you cried, baking cup cakes, eating cupcakes, kissing in the rain, wearing soft multicoloured socks, swinging in the park, lazy barbecue lunches with your friends…the list goes on.

Or, you can write a list at the end of the day, every day, for the whole year.

The idea is that you open your jar on New Years Eve in the same way as the Gratitude Jar, but you are celebrating a year that you loved!

3. Happiness Jar

Another version of the Gratitude Jar and the Things I Love Jars, the Happiness Jar is a little simple. Most people feel really comfortable having this one on their desks at work. It’s pretty straight forward. Whenever something makes you feel happy, write it down and pop it in your jar! You can be a bit more disciplined if you like, and at the end of every day write down one thing that made you feel happy.

Again, if this is a new habit for you, then just commit to writing down your happy moments for 30 days. Read the contents of your jar at the end of the first 30 days to remind yourself why you are doing this. We are very well trained to look for the worst in our lives. This is partly because we are wired to protect ourselves from danger, and also because drama and disaster sells (think 6 o’clock news). Writing down the things that make you feel happy is about reconnecting with the goodness in the world. It’s about finding the joy and beauty that is already happening in your life, you just haven’t noticed it because you haven’t been looking for it. Once you have read the contents of your Happiness Jar after 30 days, pop everything back in your jar and commit for another 30 days. But again, don’t open your jar of happiness. Wait until New Years Eve. Then truly celebrate how happy and extraordinary your life has become.

4. The Bucket List Jar

This one is a little different. It’s focused more on achieving goals. First you are going to write what is commonly referred to as a Bucket List – as in kicking the bucket. Essentially these are all of the things that you want to achieve before you ‘kick the bucket’. This may seem relatively simple, however I would advise you to give yourself a bit of time.

Find yourself a large piece of paper and some textas.

Start listing all of the things that you want to accomplish, experience, have, or give back. Write everything down and number them as you go. Nothing is too small or too big! For example, you might write down ‘Have coffee with Zoe on Friday.’ or ‘Run in a New York marathon.’ Write down everything in your head. Don’t stop yourself.

Try and cover areas of your life from the following: health, travel, relationships, money/finance, learning, fitness, wellbeing, family.

When you have run out of steam, go for a walk or take a break. Leave your list somewhere you can see it and over the next 3 – 5 days add to it. You should find that as your list gets longer you become braver at writing down what you really want.

You want to write at least 100 things down on your list.

Then this is where it is a little different from the previous ‘jar’ ideas. Put up your list on your wall, fridge, wardrobe or bathroom mirror. Next to your list place a pile of post it notes, or cards with a pen or texta.

Over the next 30 days your aim is to do one thing every week on your list. Some items on your list may take a little longer, and you may be able to achieve a few things quite quickly. That’s ok. But aim to do at least one thing EVERY week.

When you achieve your  goal for the week, re-write that goal on your post it note and pop it into your jar. By the end of the month you should have at least 4 goals that you have achieved. Woot Woot!! How awesome does that feel? Now increase that aim to achieving TWO goals off your Bucket List every week. By the end of the second month you will have achieved 12 goals. If achieving two goals is enough to manage in your busy life, then stick with that, but if you think you can achieve a bit more, then increase your aim to achieving THREE goals a week. The idea is still to achieve at least ONE goal – this is your minimum commitment to yourself, with the other one or two goals being a bonus. At the end of the year, on New Years Eve, celebrate the way you have planned, and open up your jar to read all of your achievements for the year. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you are on a mission, one task at a time.**

Most of all have fun with it! You may want to have a few types of jars going. Or one at work and one at home. Just remember to start off one step at a time, and focus on getting through the first 30 days!

When you get to the end of your first 30 days I’d love hear how it went! And I’d definitely love to know how you go on New Years Eve!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

Ayn Rand

 **Just remember, in terms of all of the goals that you have written down, there are many ways to ‘have a family’ or ‘become a movie star’ – you may just need to think slightly outside of the box to achieve them.