I had so much fun on my hot NYE date with my gratitude jar. This New Year’s Eve tradition is one of my favorites. It’s always fun to reflect on the good times throughout the year and the moments that instigated special attention in the form of a recorded note for the gratitude jar. For the last two years, I’ve been sharing the gratitude notes with the people who spurred them and thanking them for their contribution to my gratitude jar. This has been a fun addition that renewed connections and remembrances while expanding the ripple effect of this practice.
Of course, the data geek in me recorded the details, created a pivot table, and made charts and graphs for analysis. Next, I spent hours pouring over the data to find the relevant trends, anomalies, and correlations. Not surprisingly, the data told an interesting story.
Here are the major categories of the items that appeared in my gratitude jar and the conclusions I drew when comparing the notes I made in 2021 and 2022.
People and relationships still capture the largest share of my gratitude moments. This is no surprise because my favorite people make life more interesting, intriguing, and fun. Here are a few specific observations about the changes in the data for this category.
Health continues to be a big focus in my life. This category is broken down further into movement, self-care, people, and nutrition. In both years, self-care (which includes things like chiropractic care, sleep, going to the sweat lodge, gratitude, writing, and plant medicines) and movement (mostly hiking and dancing) were the top categories. The nature category is also highly related to health because most nature notes were hiking-related. Trying new recipes, cooking healthy meals for myself, and even the Marley Spoon meal delivery service showed up (twice) under the nutrition category. I love the way it’s teaching me to be a better cook and use new ingredients in new ways. The people I recognized in the health category include those who support my journey, join me on hikes and walks, and hold me accountable for my health, fitness, and nutrition goals.
Business came in at number three on my list, behind relationships and health—as it should be. The entries also grew from last year, just like my income did. Nearly half of the notes in this category were about the same client. I’m absolutely elated about the opportunity to be on the ground floor of such a revolutionary medical plant medicine facility.
Events and Travel
Did I really not travel at all in 2021? Honestly, I have no idea. I did a bit in 2022. I also went to several events, but none of them made it to the jar. I intend to expand both of these categories in 2023.
As much as we think money solves all our problems, it only made one appearance in my gratitude jar in the last two years. In some ways, I think that’s good. But really, it’s not—at all. My financial situation has been extremely precarious in the last three years. The fact that I’m still self-employed and living alone in a luxury apartment in Southern California deserves immense gratitude.
Gratitude from Others
A new category for 2022 includes messages from people who visited my home. My home is my sanctuary, so I don’t invite many people into my space. Those who arrived and left notes are dear to me. I am honored by the notes they left.
Another new category for 2022 is gifts. In 2021, my word of the year was “Allow,” mostly because I had a hard time receiving. When people would compliment me or offer me a gift, my instinctive response was usually to deflect them instead of allowing them the gift of giving to me. I began using the words “I receive” whenever something was offered to me. I also started a list to record every gift I received. This list included things like hugs, dinners out, special mail, and other unexpected gifts. Because we get more of what we focus on, I thought it was super important to record every gift, large and small. While my gift list recorded 19 gifts in 2021 and 58 in 2022, only six ended up on my 2022 gratitude list. This phenomenon may be similar to the relationship theme, where only the more “novel” and out-of-the-ordinary gifts appeared. Case in point, one of the most important people in my life offered me eight different gifts throughout 2022, yet not one appeared in the gratitude jar.
Other Life Influences:
In addition to a gratitude jar, I also like to make an annual list of accomplishments. Isn’t it interesting that my major accomplishments are missing from my gratitude jar? I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I know I have a history of not giving myself credit for the extraordinary feats I undergo and frequently count them as expected while pushing for more. I’m making this note as a commitment to begin recording my large and small accomplishments like I started recording gifts to be more mindful and committed to acknowledging them.
I most want romantic, intimate love at this point in my life. I’m ready to live my second half with romantic love at the center. One that’s full of great sex, steamy sensuality, and orgasmic bliss. It’s an intimate life with a partner and lover who knows me inside and out—one that relaxes my nervous system and fills it with passion. Interestingly, not one of these things appeared in my 2021 or 2022 gratitude jar. They say if you want something, you should BECOME it. Like my accomplishments, these things exist in me and my life—however fleeting they sometimes are. I suppose it’s time for yet another list to go with gifts and accomplishments because intimate, romantic love is both a gift and an accomplishment in my book.
Overall, I’m ending the day and practicing even more gratitude than I started with. I’m also going into 2023 with an updated plan for gratitude that includes more focus on gratitude, extra attention on accomplishments and intimate love, and a renewed focus on prospective gratitude (feeling grateful in advance of desires materializing).
I highly recommend this annual practice of using a gratitude jar. While you don’t have to get all geeky with it as I did, I firmly believe that attention to detail and data is an act of love. I’ve also asserted that data geeks make the best lovers because they always look for the sweet spot. After all this analysis, I’m convinced that gratitude is the way to life’s sweet spot. It’s highly possible to reverse engineer the life of your dreams by recording, measuring, and continually adjusting how you manage the things you most care about. Here’s to 2022 with more smiles, more intimacy, greater health, better business, fun travels, heartfelt gifts, and people who know, love, and support your goals.