[Guide] Building a Gratitude Practice

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Training

It’s that time of year again!

The time of year where we give thanks for where we’re at in life, what we have, and for what’s to come.

But there’s one problem.

Why is it just during this time of year?

Why aren’t we this grateful 6 months from now?

Why can’t we be grateful every day instead of every time November and December roll


You might wonder why a coach is writing about the importance of gratitude, but that’s because it is just that powerful of an emotion.

Gratitude can improve your life in a number of ways and can serve as the light when all you see is darkness.

Research has found people who regularly practiced gratitude in a journal or otherwise to hold a more positive outlook, feel better about their lives, and report fewer physical ailments or symptoms. When you feel like this, you’re significantly more likely to continue in the pursuit of your goals and reach them.

So how can you be more grateful on a day-to-day basis? Well, there are max 31 days in a month, so here is one way to show gratitude for every day of the month.

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
  2. Tell someone you love or appreciate him or her
  3. Perform an act of kindness
  4. Find something beautiful in nature
  5. Smile more
  6. Remove negative sources or pages from your social media scroll
  7. Call to talk to a family member
  8. Volunteer with an organization
  9. Avoid gossip and speak positively about others
  10. Spend quality time (no phones, computers, social media) with a loved one
  11. Give someone a compliment
  12. Write a card or letter to someone
  13. Shift a negative situation to a positive focus
  14. Complain less
  15. Be a go-giver
  16. Meditate
  17. Be present mindful and stress less about the past and future
  18. Say “Thank You”
  19. Embrace challenges
  20. Focus on your strengths
  21. Pause before eating
  22. Give credit or recognition
  23. Acknowledge servicemen and women in the community
  24. Send love to your enemies
  25. Look for growth
  26. Watch an inspiring video
  27. Make a social media post
  28. Reflect at day’s end
  29. Thank your body
  30. Be comfortable in silence
  31. Donate your time or money

Now, this gives you a list of things to do over the course of the month, but if you really want to practice gratitude and live grateful at all times of the year, then you need to put effort into developing a gratitude practice.

It’s a habit just like working out and eating right are habits.

It takes work, and consistent daily effort to make it stick long-term.

Here are 7 steps for making a gratitude practice a part of your everyday life.


Now, this is not the first time I’ve recommended meditation, so that goes to show its true importance.

There are so many different ways to meditate.

Sit in a chair.

Lie on the floor.

Go for a walk.

Listen to a song.

Follow a guided meditation.

But it must be valuable to you.

You’ve probably heard that meditation is a time to center yourself, but I view it as a time for connection.

It’s time to connect the mental and physical, and in that time of connection, we become more grateful for what the body works together to do in a day.

As you move throughout your day, it’s easy for the mental and physical to lose touch.

The biggest misconception is that meditation needs to be a lengthy process.

Spend three minutes reconnecting with yourself, and you’ll quickly find gratitude for

what your body is able to do for you.


Another one that’s been previously suggested to help you succeed, but again, it goes to show its importance.

You probably already subconsciously reflect on your day or actions throughout the day, but journaling is a means of bringing it to conscious thought.

It’s intentional reflection.

But like meditation, it’s something that’s misunderstood.

It doesn’t need to be about your crush or the best friend you’re fighting with (unless you

want it to be of course).

It’s a reflection of the day’s events and initiation of the thought process of what can be built upon moving forward.

I love when people ask what I journal about because they are ALWAYS surprised by the simplicity of it.

Here’s what I include:

  • 1 Win of the Day
  • 1 Positive Focus
  • 1 Scenario or Event that didn’t go the way I had hoped
  • 1 Reason why it’s still positive
  • 1 Lesson Learned
  • 1 Action Step for improving it tomorrow
  • 3 People or Things I’m Grateful For
  • Long- and short-term goals

Moment of Affirmation and Gratitude

Once I get up and get moving, the day has a tendency to fly by and before I know it, it’s 1PM.

I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.

But what’s really unfortunate about that is that we forget so much of our day.

We forget some of the smaller things that went well, the work we accomplished, or something someone said.

If we don’t create time to bring ourselves back to the present, we’re going to miss so many opportunities to feel, let alone express, gratitude.

In order to be present and not let the day blow by us, we need to intentionally press pause on the day.

These are some of the best times to pause and slow down the day:

  • Lunch time – either before or after eating you can build it into your lunch break
  • Mid-afternoon – find the time where you begin to feel sluggish and lacking motivation, and commit to 15 minutes prior
  • High-stress points – think meetings or tasks that regularly create stress
  • Before commuting home – for many, this is a brief break in the day from one stressful time (work) to another (family or friends)

Okay, so once you’ve identified your time(s), then what?

Set aside 2 to 3 minutes for gratitude or self-affirmation related to anything that has taken place during the day.

I recommend setting a reminder in your phone to go off at that time each and every day.

If you really want to make it happen, then set a warning reminder so it gives you time to wrap up whatever it is that you’re doing and stop when you’re at a good place.

The most important piece is that it’s kept positive and to use it as an opportunity to build you up and fill yourself with gratitude and appreciation.

Appreciation Moment

This may be the hidden key to spreading more gratitude throughout the world.

An appreciation moment requires you to share your appreciation or gratitude with another.

Yes, that can be a little intimidating or uncomfortable, but it is a serious game changer.

It does not need to be a grandiose speech or conversation, for it can be kept quite simple to be effective, but it needs to be genuine.

Here are some recommendations for sharing your gratitude:

  • Write a note
  • Send a text
  • Call
  • Email
  • Bring or give something
  • Tell them in-person


Once you get past some of the nerves and discomfort associated with it, you’re going to feel incredible.

Even more, you may have inspired that person to express or share their gratitude with you or another.

Set Visual Reminders

Why do you put pictures of your family or friends on your desk?

As the background on your phone or computer?

As reminders!

They remind you what’s important and what you’re working for.

If you’re looking to build or strengthen your gratitude practice, it could come from something as simple as the placement of your pictures.

Maybe it’s not a picture, but it’s a quote or note.

Keep these things somewhere that will regularly catch your eye throughout the day.

The more you see them, the more you’re reminded of your purpose and from that we develop gratitude.

Daily Reflection

I don’t know about you, but when I get home from my day I’m ready to plop into bed and fall asleep.

The problem is that I’m so eager to move into the next thing or event (sleep) that I don’t take time to reflect on the day.

I’m cutting out the processing of my day.

Think about what would happen if your body didn’t digest food. You just chewed, swallowed, and it went right through you.

Not good.

Same goes for when we skip out on digesting or processing our day. It just flows right through us, and we’re never able to take in any of what happened.

Now, you could do this by journaling at the end of your day. Keep your journal next to your bed, do a short reflection, and then it’s off to bed.

Personally, I prefer to journal in the morning because it helps to set my intention for the day, so I do a brief reflection before bed.

Keep it short and sweet but go through your day.

Think about all the events and happenings and do your best not to skip over anything.

Run through a positive focus on both the positive and difficult scenarios from the day.

Even this brief reflection can help to reduce feelings of tension from the day and help to set you up for success tomorrow!

Be Graceful

No, not in a coordination and balance aspect, but in how you treat yourself.

The reality is that you won’t be grateful at every moment of every day.


Our lives are filled with adversity and setback, which makes infinite gratitude a VERY

difficult thing to achieve.

There is no need to be frustrated or disappointed in yourself when you’re not feeling grateful.

If you forget or deviate from your gratitude practice, that doesn’t make you ungrateful.

Just like any health and fitness plan, it requires adherence and consistency to make it a habit.

If you fall off the wagon, be grateful for the fall, find the lesson to be learned, and get right back on.

About The Author

Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.

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