Life Area: Personal
You’ll recall when I and my team sent you are Thanksgiving greeting that I recommended keeping a daily or weekly Gratitude Journal. I mentioned its many benefits and wanted to add one more benefit to the mix with this blog post as we approach the stereotypical goal setting time of the year:
Why Having Gratitude Helps You Achieve Your Goals
One of the challenges in reaching our long-term goals is getting derailed by short-term gains. These are decisions that look good in the moment—instant gratification usually does. But they actually prevent us from making progress or even set us back.
See if you recognize any of these:
- The impulse buy that dings your savings goal.
- The skipped workout routines that plateau your weight loss.
- The late night at work that keeps you from your child’s school recital.
We get the short-term win from the purchase, the rest, and the project completion. But we lose the long-term payoffs that only come from reaching our goals: financial security, physical health, and lasting connection with our kids.
Download my FREE 7-Day Goal Setting Challenge here. It is for anyone who is looking to achieve a specific goal in their personal or professional life, no matter how big or small. If you’re unsure of how to go about starting on a path to achieving your goals, then this challenge is for you. Over the course of 7 days, you will gain clarity into exactly what you want to achieve in every area of your life and determine a clear-cut plan for how to achieve those goals. Download it here and listen to my Talk with Tom podcast episode where I describe in detail how to use the guide.
It’s true for all kinds of goals. What I and many others came to realize is that gratitude is the difference maker. Why? There are at least three reasons gratitude can help you stay the course and reach your goals:
- Gratitude keeps you going. In one study researchers Robert A. Emmons and Anjali Mishra had students list goals they hoped to reach over a two month period. Ten weeks later they checked back and found the grateful students were closer than others in the study to reaching their goals. Emmons and Mishra said there’s a prevailing (but unproven) idea out there that gratitude can leave people feeling complacent. If I’ve got enough, then maybe I don’t need to achieve more. Instead, they determined, “gratitude enhances effortful goal striving.”
- Gratitude improves your patience. A lot of times we take the easy out because we’re impatient. Achieving big goals takes time and effort. Thankfully, gratitude can keep you in the game. David DeSteno of Northwestern University led a study where participants were asked to recall an event that made them feel grateful, happy, or neutral. After writing about it, they reported their mood and then made a series of financial decisions. If they wanted, they could take a cash reward at the end of the session or receive a larger amount by check in the mail at a later date. The grateful were happy to wait for the bigger payout. “On average, we increased people’s financial patience by about 12 percent,” said DeSteno. “Imagine if you could increase people’s savings by that much.”
- Gratitude lowers your stress. People fall for instant gratification because indulgence and avoidance are both attractive ways of coping with stress. But we all know they’re not effective in the long run, and we’ve got the bills and ill-fitting clothes to prove it.It turns out gratitude is a far more effective way to cope with stress. Emmons and Mishra conclude, “The evidence strongly supports the supposition that gratitude promotes adaptive coping and personal growth.”
Instant gratification looks good in the moment, but can actually prevent us from making progress or even set us back.
I love asking successful people what they do to succeed. When their answers overlap with each other it’s like building a list of best practices. When the science backs them up, we’d have to be foolish not to listen.
Expressing Gratitude is just one of eight different best practices in goal setting. Download my FREE 7-Day Goal Setting Challenge here. It is for anyone who is looking to achieve a specific goal in their personal or professional life, no matter how big or small. If you’re unsure of how to go about starting on a path to achieving your goals, then this challenge is for you. Over the course of 7 days, you will gain clarity into exactly what you want to achieve in every area of your life and determine a clear-cut plan for how to achieve those goals. Download it here and listen to my Talk with Tom podcast episode where I describe in detail how to use the guide.
Your Action Step
Download my FREE 7-Day Goal Setting Challenge here and get started today setting your 2018 goals.
Please share this post with your family and friends.
My mission is to inspire people and organizations to live their highest vision.
I am a Success Strategist and Master Coach. I provide transformational coaching and training for individuals and organizations to help you Grow Your Life and Build Your Business by getting clear and focused on what you want, why you want it, and how to create it. Learn more about me at SuccessSeriesLLC.com.
There is no better endorsement than that of a friend, so if you like what you’re reading or are using my many FREE resources, tell a friend to join the Tom Hart Success Series Community, to receive email notifications of new blog posts and Talk with Tom podcast episodes, learn of upcoming events, and other news, by visiting my website and clicking on the offer to receive my FREE monthly resource by leaving their email address OR forward this to them and have them simply click here (we respect your privacy and do not tolerate spam and will never sell, rent, lease or give away your information to any third party).