50 Things to Be Grateful For

November 21, 2016

100 Things to Be Grateful For

Despite the fact that I’ve bought and been gifted dozens of them, I will admit that I have never been good at starting or maintaining any kind of regular journalling practice. I always have the best of intentions, when I crack the spine of a new notebook. And I’ll usually write at least a handful of entries. But even on my road trip, it only took a few weeks for me to shift from writing daily to not at all. (The final entry was on Day 30 of 49 and the last sentence is still incomplete.)

I have come to the conclusion that I may never be one of those writers who leaves behind boxes full of journals, and that’s ok. However, a few months ago, I did get into the habit of writing down a few things I’m grateful for at the end of each day, and the effects of doing so have been life-changing. At the end of each year, I usually write a post that recaps all the changes I’ve made in different areas of my life. Instead, this year, I’d like to share 50 of the entries from my gratitude journal… just in time for American Thanksgiving!

These have been copy/pasted from my journal (which is a digital file in Evernote). I’ve purposely not added further clarification to any of these, but am happy to do so if you have questions about any of them! My hope in sharing this list is that you’ll see how easy the process of starting and maintaining a daily gratitude practice can be. You don’t have to overcomplicate it, and in fact you shouldn’t. Simply write a few words and watch how your mindset can shift to one that is more positive. <3

Work/Money
  1. The ability to wake up without an alarm clock.
  2. The freedom to say no to work I don’t want to do.
  3. The ability and freedom to take 7 weeks “off” to go on a road trip.
  4. My blog. I can’t imagine where I’d be without it + my readers.
  5. My literary agent. She pushed me to create the best proposal for a book I’ll be proud to put my name on.
  6. My first visit with my publisher in NYC. It was a dream come true (and not just because they gave me free books).
  7. The fact that almost all of my clients paid their invoices on time this year.
  8. The fact that my first full year of being self-employed was profitable.
  9. Never having to worry about how much money is in my chequing account/available on my credit cards.
  10. Being able to define success in my own terms, and no longer chasing any of the things I used to think defined it.
Health/Happiness
  1. Adventure Tuesday!
  2. New trails. So many new trails.
  3. A successful surgery and recovery.
  4. Massage therapy. It is just the greatest.
  5. The ability to run again. I don’t care if I can’t ever do a 10K or half-marathon. I’m just so happy I can run at all.
  6. Almond milk lattes from The Village. Scratch that. Everything and everyone at The Village.
  7. A seemingly endless supply of the freshest water imaginable. For this alone, I am truly blessed to live where I do.
  8. Apples with peanut butter.
  9. Green smoothies. I’m so glad these have replaced the afternoon treats I used to eat when I worked in an office.
  10. Sobriety. I continue to learn so many things about myself without the influence of booze. The lessons used to be hard. Now, they are enlightening.
Relationships
  1. My family. We continue to grow and evolve.
  2. Emma. I’d be lost without our daily texts.
  3. Kayla. She is the definition of a soul sister.
  4. Garrett. He’s the best person I met on my road trip.
  5. My short but very sweet visit with Claire. I would say I wish we lived closer, but the road trip taught me you’re never as far away from people as you think.
  6. Morning walks and talks with Tammy.
  7. Rainbow babies. <3
  8. Deep and honest conversations.
  9. Being in the same city at the same time with a friend from another city.
  10. Friends whose talent continues to inspire me. Amanda, Chrissy and Shannon come to mind.
Other
  1. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. This book taught me what it really means to tell the truth, and gave me possible insights into my own sobriety.
  2. Book swaps with friends.
  3. Epsom salt baths. And reading books in epsom salt baths.
  4. Being able to take most afternoons off.
  5. Crawling into a bed with clean sheets.
  6. Dogs. My dogs. Friends’ dogs. And dogs at places where I’m a guest. I love them all.
  7. The way Lexie curls up and falls asleep in my arm.
  8. How Molly wears her heart on her sleeve. She is the sweetest dog I know.
  9. The Dear Sugar and Magic Lessons podcasts.
  10. California sunsets.
  11. All the different homes I got to stay in during my road trip. It was an honour to be welcomed into them all, and to see how other people live.
  12. My car. She took me all over the U.S. without any trouble. I can’t wait to see where we go in 2017.
  13. Solo writing retreats. Solo travel, in general.
  14. My time in Squamish. I finished my book proposal there in 2016, and I’ll finish my book there in 2017. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
  15. The “posts you’ve liked” button on Instagram. It shows me all the people/places/things I love most.
  16. Having the freedom to learn about and try new things, whenever I want.
  17. Having people in my life who push me to be/do better.
  18. Phone calls/text/audio messages that come in exactly when you need them most.
  19. The freedom to live “one day at a time”. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes I wish I had a five-year plan. But it’s a blessing, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
  20. All of my life experiences. For my final high school yearbook, I wrote something to the effect of: never regret what you’ve done because it’s gotten you to where you are. I can’t say I’m fond of all my memories (or mistakes), but I’m grateful I experienced them because I know they’ve shaped me and helped me create a life I love.

Will you share a few of the things you’re grateful for right now? :)

PS – I have to give a hat tip to my friend Chris Bailey, whose own post inspired this one.

64 Comments

  • Reply Tiffany @ HappyThankfulHopeful November 21, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Love this! A year ago I started a gratitude blog titled “Happy, Thankful, Hopeful” – gearing the entries towards gratitude but have been meaning to do quick daily posts (either publicly or privately), so this was a great push!

    I’m grateful for a job indoors on this very cold, very windy day in Waterloo, Ont.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Nice! Yes, even if you don’t make them public, write those shorter entries for yourself. :)

      • Reply Tiffany @ HappyThankfulHopeful November 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        You inspired me to do it publicly! I called them “Daily Snapshots” and have made it to Day 4! Thanks for the inspiration! <3

  • Reply Mrs. Picky Pincher November 21, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Ahhhh. This is nice. I’ll just do a short list here:

    1. I’m grateful for Mr. Picky Pincher. He’s my best friend and I can’t imagine being on this journey with anyone else.

    2. I’m grateful for food! We’ve been bad about eating well for the last few weeks and we need to be on track, but I’m just grateful that we’re still able to eat as well as we choose.

    3. I’m grateful for the cooler weather! I don’t like being hot, so the slight chill has been nice.

    4. I’m grateful for my job. I’m not quite at the point where I have F-U Money, but I’m on my way there! I am grateful for my job, though. It pays well and it’s enabled us to dig ourselves out of debt in a relatively pain-free way.

    5. I’m grateful to see my family this week! They live 5-8 hours away, so it’s always a treat to be able to see them.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      What a great list, Mrs. PP! I hope you have a wonderful time with your family this week. :)

  • Reply ChooseBetterLife November 21, 2016 at 9:20 am

    My heart is full for you, friend <3

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Sending down a couple big hugs to you guys! <3

  • Reply Paige Jiles November 21, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I’m grateful for inspiration, for being able to buy my first house at 40. For being able to take the best road trip ever with my best friend. For being able to choose to keep trying to be a better person. For my sweet dog, and my sweet cats even though one keeps peeing on my floor. For my supportive dad.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      I love this list, Paige! Can you tell us more about this road trip? :)

  • Reply Ms. Montana November 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

    We have been teaching our kids to practice gratitude. Every night we ask them to think of a few things and share with us. We have one kiddo who is just consumed by negativity and shame. It’s taken a long time, but slowly the practice of gratitude is starting to open up a more positive outlook. I really think it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. If I ever have a family, I would want to make it a topic of discussion before dinner every night.

  • Reply Annie November 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

    1. My husband, he understands me and accepts me as I am.
    2. My side of the family and his side of the family. They are all kind, loving, and supportive people.
    3. Chocolate covered sea salt caramels.
    4. Living in a diverse city.
    5. Access to lots of art museums and park benches to contemplate life on.
    6. Funny cat videos, especially Maru.
    7. My warm coat.
    8. Sunny days.
    9. Long weekends.
    10. The ability to read.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      I started drooling when reading #3, Annie. There’s no better combination. ;)

  • Reply Mrs. BITA November 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Such a happy post for Monday morning eyeballs. Thank you.

    1. All the people who love me. I’m so grateful that they are as many as they are. I don’t believe I deserve so many.
    2. Being alive at the best possible time in history to be alive.
    3. My brain.
    4. Discovering FIRE and a great community of people.
    5. Being able to write

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      I would have to disagree with the last sentence in #1, Mrs. Bita. You deserve all the love in your life. <3

  • Reply Hanna November 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Right now I am grateful for a short work week, even if it is still only Monday! I just took a long break from running due to burn out, and now that I’ve started up again I am more grateful than ever for my ability to run injury free all this time (knock on wood!!), and the strong body and legs that have made it possible. And, even though I sometimes drool over your work lifestyle represented by many of these points, after this month I am more than ever grateful for a steady job where I get to make an impact in the community. Office life can be a drag but I really am thankful to be able to do good work AND support myself doing so. Speaking of, it just so happens I was reading this as a coworker was heating up some turkey and potatoes in the microwave, which just added to the festiveness and made me even more excited for American Thanksgiving!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Your job sounds like a gift, Hanna! We should all be so lucky to say we get to do work we are proud of and that helps others. :)

  • Reply Dayle November 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Apples & PB are my jam!
    Also grateful for:
    – my puppy… bet you didn’t expect that! While I am not a dog person, and I wouldn’t have chosen to get a puppy on my own, he is teaching me to be less selfish, to slow down, and that things don’t always go according to plan, but to roll with it!
    – Ray… he is my person and he was worth the wait. It took a lot of time and lessons to be learned before we were finally met, which I am so very thankful for. While I have always been independent and love being on my own, he has taught me that being with the right person is a gift.
    – our four nephews!
    – my family (parents & siblings) … I would not be who I am without them
    – Grandma … she is still kicking at 82. She has experienced a fair bit of loss in the last 18 months (her husband and her dog) but she has taught me that resilience knows no bounds! She still lives on her own in the boonies, drives, etc.
    – Crossfit
    – my job…
    – TEA and BOOKs

    I could go on and on… I do have a gratitude journal that I try to write in daily. Thanks for making me think of these things on a cold/snowy day!

    xox

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you for sharing some of the things you’re grateful for, Dayle! As your friend, I especially loved everything you wrote about Ray. It makes me so happy to know you are happy in your relationship. <3

  • Reply Betz November 21, 2016 at 10:30 am

    such a great reminder of big things and little things we can be greatful
    For me, today the sun hitting the Okanagan Lake on a bright day! aahhh. glorious.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      That sounds lovely, Betz! My face warmed up just imagining the sunshine. :)

  • Reply Evelyn November 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

    —That I have the kindest husband who understands my old-fashioned nature, even if he is a techie
    —all of the rescued kitties I have had in my life–they mean more than I can possibly describe
    —that my mom, after having 3 strokes and multiple seizures, can still smile and tell me she loves me and know that I love her
    —the strength to fight through fear when it would be soooo much easier to just curl up and hide away
    —the ability to read–it has been a lifesaver and a good escape when needed

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Your list brought tears to my eyes, Evelyn. Thank you for being honest and vulnerable. <3

  • Reply Chris @ MindfulExplorer November 21, 2016 at 10:53 am

    If I mad a list for this year Cait, you would be on it. Such a wonderful thing to be able to speak in person with someone who gets it in regards to FI, who is wise on the subject and of course who is so sweet.

    I will remember next time that I feel the odds are stacked against me or life is tough that all I need to do is make a list. Then I would quickly realize that life is pretty damn awesome.

    Cheers my friend

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      You are too sweet, friend! And our talk in Chemainus that day made its way into the journal. :) Definitely jot a few notes down on an otherwise crummy day. You’ll be glad you did!

  • Reply Jena November 21, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I don’t have a gratitude journal, but I did do a post quite a while ago where I explored some of the things I was grateful for… I could list a bunch of those here as well, but today I’ll just choose one…

    I am grateful that you choose to share so much of your life with us in this online community, that you are always providing so much inspiration, and that I am able to read everything that you post.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      First I will say thank you for sharing that with me, Jena. But I have to add that you guys make sharing easy. I used to always worry before hitting publish on some of the scarier/more vulnerable posts, but you’ve all done nothing but give me guidance and support. I will forever be grateful for this community. :)

  • Reply Tawcan November 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I kept a gratitude journal for a few months a while ago. Pretty amazing and powerful the stuff I ended up writing down in there.

    Apples with peanut butter -> So you’re one of those ppl that like this odd combinations.

    Sorry that you couldn’t make CPFC, was really looking forward to your presentation. :)

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Ha! I am one of THOSE people. ;)
      And I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet! I’ve been trying to think of how I can share the presentation – or at least some of the points. Maybe I’ll write a blog post?

  • Reply The Green Swan November 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I’m grateful for a loving and supportive wife, my 2.5 year old son who loves to give hugs and kisses, and another little one on the way. Life is good, it’s important to remember that!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Hugs and kisses from kids are the best. :)

  • Reply Barbara Baker November 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I’m grateful for a husband who likes it when I forward Cait Flanders’ blogs to him. Your writing is engaging and thoughtful, and when I select all to delete unwanted emails, I always uncheck yours. In other words, I’m grateful for your blog.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing that with me, Barbara! That put a huge smile on my face. :)

  • Reply Steph November 21, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Love your writing and your positive attitude! You inspire me to show more gratitude for the things in my life, too. Keep up your great work!

    One question – where do you get your photos you use for your blog? And as an aspiring writer, just wondering how you recommend citing them for your blog?

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Good question! I get most images from sites like Pexels and Unsplash, so they are royalty-free and you don’t need to give credit.

  • Reply Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions November 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I’m grateful for my family and friends – and I never tell them that enough. I’m grateful for reaching financial independence and being able to pick and choose jobs (or no work). I’m grateful for sunsets and for long walks and for my kids. They make me proud. There are more things to be grateful for than we can imagine.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      There really are, Vicki – that’s something I learn every single day. Like look at some of the things on this list. On crummy days, when it seems like there’s nothing to be thankful for, I can still write down something as simple as “apples with peanut butter”. :P

  • Reply Rob November 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Hmm, let’s see, some things that I’m grateful for:

    Health – grateful for our family and grand kids enjoying good health; as well as certain family relatives coming through some pretty serious operations in good shape.

    Finances – grateful that we and our children’s families are doing well, enjoying good careers, not over our head in debt.

    And you, Cait – one of the few bloggers that I’ve followed over the years, who regularly takes the time (out of your busy day, I’m sure) to individually post replies to all the blog comments that you receive. In my eyes, that shows your interest in each of us who regularly read and post comments in your blog.

    Obviously I have a lot more on my list but the above 3 are right up there.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Of course I care about all of you, Rob! At first, it was a motto for me: if someone takes the time to comment, take the time to reply. But now it’s truly one of the best parts of my week. I’m so grateful for all the interactions we get to have here, and via email, social media, etc. They are like little check-ins, motivational pushes and acts of kindness. :)

  • Reply Mackenzie November 21, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Lovely post Cait :)

    I am grateful for my daughter, my husband, and my cat who loves tummy kisses!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Aww! Tonight I’m going to write down that I’m grateful for how much Lexie loves kisses and Molly loves belly rubs. :)

  • Reply Amy@MoreTimeThanMoney November 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Lovely post. Gratitude is such a powerful think. A simple gratitude practice has definitely been the quickest and most effective change I’ve made in my life over the last few years. Whenever something is going a bit “blehhh”, I just pause for a quick gratitude fix and it just gets me on the right track again. Also it is a REALLY good antidote to that pervasive driver for bigger/better/faster/more.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      Ooo yes, you are so right about that, Amy! It’s not only a way to switch your mindset to one that is more positive, but also a way to give yourself a reality check and remember how good things already are.

  • Reply Marg S November 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    This is going to be a reverse what I should be grateful post. I have a good job with financial stability. Problem is that my stress level daily is off the charts and it isn’t going to slow down or change. I try very hard to remember there are a lot of people (especially in my home province of Alberta) who are out of work. It’s just really tough some days.

    I am grateful for:

    Tim Horton’s coffee
    Tim Hortons Boston Cream Donuts
    NHL Hockey. I watch a game every night (go Bruins and go Oilers)
    That I found a surgeon who will be able to help me AND he was able to have it approved by Provincial health care

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      I love a good coffee and donut, Marg, but I’m especially glad for you that you found a surgeon to help you. <3

  • Reply SHARON JOHNSON November 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Even though I have lost vision in one eye due to ARMD, I am grateful that I can still READ!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 21, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      I’m so grateful for you, Sharon! <3

  • Reply giulia November 22, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Loving your list,I’m enjoying little things and most of them are absolutely free!!!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      You’re right! They are :)

  • Reply Erith November 22, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Thanks for this – I thought it such a good idea, I did a simpler version on my blog (crediting you of course…)

    I am so very thankful for

    My husband – without him life would not be so good
    My two lovely sons and their wives. They are healthy and happy. What more could anyone ask for?
    Being blessed with good health
    Having enough money to feed us and support our pretty simple life. The freedom from financial worry cannot be underestimated
    Retirement. The freedom to do what I want every day, not being at the beck and call of a demanding employer.
    A few very good friends, who I know I could call on at short notice and they would drop things to help me out
    A fulfilling hobby – metal working.
    Freedom to Travel, and finances to support it

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Does anything really matter after health, Erith? That’s something I keep thinking about this week. <3

  • Reply Esther November 22, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Such an uplifting and happy post. It made me smile, even at a time when I don’t really know where I’m going and I feel confused and lost most of the time. Thanks Cait. I love reading your posts, so inspirational

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks for saying so, Esther. <3

  • Reply Laura November 22, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Love it – what a great list of gratitude… you can feel the joy and contentment coming from the items. :-)

    I started my own gratitude practice this year – not in written form – but out loud each evening when I took the dog out before bed. I like to look at the stars and breathe the fresh air and say the things I’m grateful for each day. I had a very tough summer, so this really seemed to help me let go of the day by ending it on a good note.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Oh my gosh, I love love love that, Laura. I stared at the stars last night (before all the rain clouds came in today) and now wish I had said what I was grateful for out loud. I’ll remember that :)

      • Reply Laura November 23, 2016 at 9:39 am

        :-) It sort of happened by accident – maybe that is for the best. I had tried a written gratitude journal and it felt forced due to what I was going through. There was something about breathing in the cool night air and letting it wash away any troubles or worries I had. Now that it is winter here (Ottawa) I don’t get to see the stars as much as in the summer.

  • Reply Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life November 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing your list, it’s uplifting in a way that I needed today.
    1. My chosen family: PiC, JuggerBaby, Seamus, Cousin, many friendships that sprung forth from the blog. Their good health, and good hearts. Their hugs and warmth.
    2. That I have friends the world over who can see things to be grateful for during some dark times in our lives.
    3. Fresh air, fog, sun. Especially in a drought state, clean water.
    4. A job that lets me spend quality time with family and friends even while working full time. I can’t emphasize how much of a difference it makes to be in the same room as a loved one for a good while.
    5. In a very scary political environment, knowing how many friends are willing to stand up for one another, even people they’ve never met, because it’s the right thing to do.

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      <3 all of these, but can really appreciate #3 after spending some time in your state this fall.

  • Reply Josh November 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    This is great! We do a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down daily at our family dinner, we also throw in a crazy question to ensure everyone is sharing and thinking. It has been really great to ensure the kiddos have gratitude but also the thumbs down helps identify what didn’t go so well and if possible how to improve. Love this list a lot, keep up the great work!

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 22, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Yes yes yes, I love that! I used to share a low + a high. After a while, I realized I didn’t want to share the low anymore… just the high. I like the idea of sharing it and talking about how to improve it though. Maybe I’ll bring that back. Thanks for sharing, Josh!

  • Reply Annie November 23, 2016 at 2:53 am

    I love this – thank you for sharing it! I turn 50 in 2017 (kind of a big deal for Canada, too), and it really does make you sit up a bit and think. I’ve got an idea of what I want to do, but I think something like this would be brilliant as well – 50 things to be grateful for, 50 things to experience, etc. Your enthusiasm, discipline and love for all you do is so obvious. Can’t wait until you announce your new ‘baby’. Best wishes xx

    • Reply Cait Flanders November 23, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Oh my goodness, what a wonderful idea, Annie! And yes, I’m very excited about Canada’s 150th – mostly because it means I’ll be going on a few road trips to some of the parks I still haven’t seen (like Banff!).

  • Reply Amber from Red Two Green November 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Loved this :) So many things to be thankful for and I love that this time of year forces me to think about all the bounty in my life. This year, I am honestly thankful for our fat $600,000 of student loan debt because it has created a drive that I didn’t know I had within me! I didn’t know I could side hustle like I’ve been doing and working so hard to accomplish a goal!

  • Reply Wendy Bjorge November 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Although I’ve never written it down I am
    so grateful for all of the advice my dad shared with me so, here a few of my favorites:
    One foot in front of the other (keep going)
    Did you get on your shoe? (Clean it up)
    And my absolute favorite:
    You don’t have to like it (it’s s on his headstone, that was my dads way of saying deal with it).

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