Gratitude goes Prime Time (10 ideas to keep your gratitude going long past the leftovers!)

#gratitudegravy day 10

I know this headline isn't actually newsworthy to any of you who have been watching Oprah for the past few decades. Gratitude went prime time A LOOONG time ago - when Oprah created a frenzy for gratitude journals just by talking about her own practice as being a key factor in her success.

The prime time that I'm talking about here is not too far off.

What's a Primer?

In psychology, primers are defined as conscious or unconscious cues that are paired together and create a behavioral change. (Adams-Miller and Frisch, 2009) 

Psychologists have found that as much as 80% of our day’s activity is directed by our unconscious reactions to cues in our environment.

My bedside 3 good things journal (aka my nightly gratitude primer. 

Eighty percent of our activities are unconscious???? That's huge, right?

This is why you're more likely to exercise if you put your running shoes by your bed at night so that you see them first thing in the morning.

Stumbling over your running shoes on your way to the bathroom becomes an environmental cue to get your butt out of bed and exercise.

A gratitude primer does the same thing, it is a way to remind yourself to practice gratitude.

The month of November and the days leading up to Thanksgiving are kind of one big gratitude primer here in the U.S.

But the problem is that we hear everyone talking about how thankful they are for several weeks, then black Friday hits and 95% of your inbox is no longer dedicated to reminding you about the merits of gratitude. It's all "buy now. Buy now. 24 hours left to buy" kind of frenzied messaging.

Gratitude for what we already have goes right out the window. 

My twins and I made these Gratitude Gravy primer key chains last year in honor of gratitude gravy and to prime more gratitude in our lives.

When it comes to a year-round gratitude practice, we usually start with the best of intentions, but our environmental cues both in our homes, workplaces, our social media feeds and in our culture can get in the way of our continued practice.

Enter, the gratitude primer. 

Gratitude primers help your gratitude practice be more sustainable and you can then reap the benefits for the whole year, instead of just one month.

I had these gratitude gravy journals made this year (yes, a limited amount are 
available for sale, but no pressure! Any journal works as a gratitude primer. Want to make your own? I made mine on Minted.

Gratitude Gravy Practice #10
Make a Gratitude Primer for Your Year-Round Practice Reminder
Your mission is to pick one of the ideas listed below, or come up with your own.

1) Put a sticky note reminder on your computer
Make a google doc of a running list of people you want to reach out to. Then write the 2-minute thank you or appreciation email/text at least once a week on #gratiTUESDAY. Put a reminder alert on your calendar: gratiTWOSDAY (2-minute gratitude note on Tuesdays)

2) Put a gratitude charm on a key chain
Then challenge yourself to think of at least one specific thing you're grateful for every time you start the ignition.

3) Set a random reminder on your phone during the day
Bells are used in temples, churches and nearly every religion to prime worshippers for prayer, use the same method with gratitude and your digital device. Set an alarm at random times throughout the week to remind you to stop, pause and practice gratitude. You could also use an app like MindJogger to randomly remind you. 

The reason for randomness is that we get used to certain cues at certain times (and then start to ignore said cues), so having alarms set at unpredictable times staves off your mind's tendency to gloss over the gratitude opportunity.

4) Put a gratitude journal or a 3 good things journal by your bedside.
Remember to be specific. Being specific helps us feel the gratitude rather than just check it off of our to-do list. 

5) Hang up your Haiku!

You guys, I can't tell you how happy seeing all of your gratikus, yesterday, made me. They are such a fun primer and the thought of you all hanging yours everywhere makes me ridiculously happy! Put the gratitude haikus on your wall, fridge, wallpapering your bathroom ;-), or just wallpaper your iphone with it.

6) Make or buy gratitude or 3-good things prompt cards

I made these on last year (happy to re-order this year). There's a photo on one side and white space on the reverse. I keep these in a jar on our kitchen table (with a pen). Everyone in our family can write a gratitude or 3 good things at any time. 

7) Make a gratitude rock

Remember the GREATful outdoors walk you went on back on day 3? If you took a memento (or a photo of a memento), use that as your gratitude primer. I used a chalk pen to make some designs on mine. They are also in my gratitude jar on the kitchen table. Just keep it somewhere nearby to remind you to pause and practice.

8) Make a gratitude collage

Gather photos of your favorite people, your favorite places, your favorite fur babies, your favorite hot beverage and anything else you’re grateful for (use the photos you've taken throughout the challenge) and put in a collage. Hang it up prominently on your wall or use it as your computer wallpaper. This not only primes your gratitude practice, it also is an act of savoring, which psychologists know boosts happiness on the regular.

photo credit: one of my favorite photo printing companies (based in Colorado - where I am!) - Artifact Uprising. They've got all kinds of ways to display what you're grateful for.

9) GratiGRAM

Make your entire Instagram feed pictures of everything you're thankful for for a month, write out the details of why you're grateful for each thing in the comments. Or title an album on Facebook as your gratitude album and post weekly to it. Then go back and revisit all of your gratitudes in the album every once in a while. As always, I love it when you share with me using the #gratitudegravy or tag me!

10) Gratitude Jar
As I already mentioned, I made my own gratitude gravy cards for our jar, you could make your own or just use scrap paper. We certainly have a few post-it notes and scraps in our jar. The key is to keep it somewhere out in the open and add mini gratitude notes to it once a week (if anyone is interested in me re-ordering my custom gratitude gravy cards for a gratitude jar, hit reply and let me know).

11) GratiTATOOS and permission to keep it simple!
Whether you tattoo a gratitude reminder on your forearm, spray paint it on your front lawn or plaster it on your bedroom ceiling (kidding they don't need to be elaborate or permanent!),

Just come up with some kind of gratitude primer that you love so that you remember to practice long after you've eaten all of the leftovers. 

Domo arigato–

Lizzie Larock

Coach & Creator of Gratitude GRAVY & The Life Feast

PS obviously I now have to come up with a gratiTATOO idea since I just thought of it and now love it.

PPS If you're sharing on social, please use #gratitudegravy. You can also share in the Facebook group. We love that! Tag me or follow along on Instagram. I'll be adding some gravy to my stories...

Joining late? Need a reminder? No worries!

I'm grateful you're here. Rather than clog your in-box, here are the previous challenges. Catch up on old ones or jump in wherever. There are no rules for #gratitudegravy - just fun! Please feel free to forward to a friend or share the sign-up page. Anyone can join the free gratitude gravy challenge at any time.

Day 1---> Don't let your gratitude be bland (get the most out of gratitude)
Day 2---> Look for the good (3 good things)
Day 3---> The GREATful Outdoors
Day 4---> How to make a grATTITUDE adjustment at work
Day 5 --> It's gratiTWOSDAY (a 2-minute practice with big health benefits)
Day 6 --> The Grateful Bed - the practice that helps you sleep longer
Day 7 --> Give that thanks away - the case for thanking a stranger
Day 8 --> Love on the Little Things - write a gratiku in 2!
Day 9 --> Gamify your gratitude (read before Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving)

Want extra gravy?

12) My gratitude primer from gratitude gravy year 1. The twins and I made these with a
jewelry stamper kit. They're pretty fun to bang out! Maybe your Thanksgiving guests would want to make their own primers with a word representing something they are grateful for. If you already have a kit, try it out for this year, if not, tuck away the idea for next year!


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