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Gratitude and Self-Acknowledgement: a winning combination to take you into 2023

It’s pretty much a wrap for those of us who live in NZ. Businesses are shutting up shop, with many not intending to open again to @16th January 2023. When I first heard this, news I was a bit shocked – this kind of shut down would never happen in the UK, with the hustle being front mind. But you know what, I’m glad. It’s summer here and it demonstrates prioritising quality of life, which is so important.

We need to shift our paradigm of how we integrate work with our lives. We should be working to live, not living to work. And with that in mind I want to invite you to, perhaps, shift your perspective about how you reflect on 2022, before you think about what you want to create in 2023.

Having gratitude as a practice has become more and more mainstream. Medical research has acknowledged its benefits, as being grateful releases endorphins into our nervous system. Because of its physical and mental benefits, it’s a practice I’m always looking to get better at. I gained some fresh insights, recently, which have really helped me fine tune my practice making it more real, more fresh, more delicious.

I heard Danielle LaPorte speaking about asking her son what he was grateful for, each night, at bedtime. When he tells her, she doesn’t just leave it there, she asks him why he’s grateful for each point: “I’m grateful for the sunset because it’s beautiful and fills me with wonder.” I love how this simple question that really anchors that gratitude and deepens the appreciation for people, moments, things.

My appreciation goes out to another wonderful role model, Kim Stanford Terranova. In her book, The Technology of Intention, in which she encourages you to write what you are grateful for in a journal at night. That way it is anchored in your physiology, and it also gives you a great resource to refer to on those days when life throws you a curve ball and you are struggling to find anything to be grateful for.

The second part of the practice asks you to flip the journal and write down what you have done that you appreciate about yourself. It could be hitting the deadline for that big project or simply smiling at the stressed barista in the coffee shop and reassuring him that he doesn’t have to rush for you. Small acts of kindness make us feel good, but they could positively pivot someone’s whole day.

The acknowledgement practice has been really powerful for me. Whilst I’ve made good progress with not beating myself up about what I used to consider my short falls, I still wasn’t as great as I could be at acknowledging my successes, big or small. It’s restored balance for me and now I can consider what I want to create in 2023 with a sense of calm and satisfaction, rather than the feeling the agitation that I need to make up some imagined short fall.

Life is beautiful and precious and, as the global pandemic has taught us, can be gone in an instant. One of my intentions for 2023 is to savour the moment even more deeply and appreciate all I’ve achieved, all that I have, all the wonderful people that are in my life for a lifetime, or just for a chapter. It’s when we are savouring those precious moments, instead of forever rushing forward, we have the space to catch the inspiration and insights that could lead to a new approach to a project or a solution to a challenge – like my early morning beach walk, this week, that gave me clarity for the next chapter of my book.

I hope you take time over the holiday break you savour what you are grateful for and acknowledge your successes. I wish you a peaceful, joyful, restorative Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and fulfilling 2023.

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