Cultivating gratitude to stay motivated

New Year’s means resolutions, right?

Not this year, at least for me.

Because of a recent trip, I’ve been focused on something better that I think may be more successful than making lofty (and sometimes unreachable) resolutions that focus on my own well-being and, essentially, boil down to a tiresome to-do list.

What if, instead of resolutions, I adopt a mindset of “getting” to do things instead of “having” to do things? That approach may make it easier to see challenges as possibilities and problems as opportunities.

Yes, I know that sounds a little cheesy, but I tested this theory recently when I joined my daughter in India. She is a little past the halfway mark on The World Race, an 11-countries-in-11-months missions trip and the week was the only one parents are invited to participate—bucket showers and all!

The trip was demanding. I think the only times in my life I was so physically exhausted were during childbirth! From the time I left my house to when I arrived at the Hyderabad airport, more than 32 hours had passed. The long journey was not the only obstacle; the 10.5-hour time change proved a hurdle as well.

But it was worth it all to see my daughter’s smile after having been separated so long, lately with no Wi-Fi on her end to talk or text.

Almost immediately, the work began, with long rides into villages, differences in food and sanitation and a language barrier. Each time I was driven out of my comfort zone, I prayed for strength and gained a sense that I didn’t have to do any of this, I had the opportunity to do it; that is, I got to do it. My prayers were answered time and again—and I was able to focus on why we were there in the first place, to show love to orphaned children and offer support to the missionaries and World Racers who would not be coming back to the comforts of America, as I was a week later.

The plane ride home allowed plenty of time to think about how I could take what I had learned and apply it to other areas of my life, especially the ones usually at the top of my New Year’s resolution list:

  • I don’t have to exercise more; I get to because I have the ability to do so.
  • I don’t have to give more; I get to because I have opportunities and resources to bless others.
  • I don’t have to eat healthier; I get to because I have so many healthy options to fuel my body.
  • I don’t have to clean out the spare room; I get to because I have been blessed with a home and a family (who can also help to clean it out!).

Basically, I realized that a mindset of gratitude is what can prompt me to act.

I won’t use resolutions this New Year to start a diet or kick a bad habit. Instead, I am starting the year with a heart overflowing with gratitude, so that when it comes time to tackle a goal or a challenge, I get to embrace it rather than have to do it.

By Melissa Kindall
Manager, Social Media and Digital Communications Manager
Corporate Communications & Public Relations

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