I was at a bachelorette party last year and we were all having dinner when my best friend Lauren’s phone alarm went off. She immediately said “Gratitude reminder!” and then asked everyone we were with to say one thing they were grateful for that day. To be honest, it made me really uncomfortable because I am not good at expressing my feelings or gratitude out loud. (I talked a bit more about that here.) But we all said what we were grateful for and then moved on. Later on in the night, I brought it up again and Lauren mentioned how much of a change she felt just that simple daily reminder made in her life.
So a few weeks later, after a particularly hard day, I was fed up with being frustrated and upset with everything and opened my phone and set an alarm for every night at 10pm. It was a last resort, “I need to do something to remember the good right now” kind of moment. And every single night since then, the alarm goes off and I say out loud “Gratitude reminder!” Jeff and I then say one thing each that we are grateful for that day. Sometimes it’s something silly or trivial, like chocolate chip cookies, sometimes it’s a specific moment that happened in the day, like “when Arlo gave me a kiss when we were watching Coco,” and sometimes it’s something much bigger or overarching, like “our family” or “good neighbors.”
Since it goes off literally every night, we continue to do it even if we’re with other people, and we’ll usually ask them to participate too. As a result, a few people in our life now do these daily reminders too! Including my parents, who do theirs over dinner each night.
I know that gratitude reminders are not a new or revolutionary thing, but what I loved about Lauren’s version was that it was so simple. It wasn’t a long mantra, it didn’t involve having to have a journal to write it down in. It was just a quick reminder on my phone (which is always with me) to pause even on the hardest days and remember that every day has something good hidden in it.
Once Arlo is a bit older, we hope to shift our reminder time to dinner so we can talk about it as a family, and maybe we’ll expand upon the concept then too. But for now, late evening, when we’ve survived the day/bath/dinner/bedtime rollercoaster, it feels like the perfect time.
If you’re in a particularly hard season of life, or even if you’re not, I can’t recommend this simple habit enough! Set your alarms right now! You won’t regret it!
oh how I needed this today! thanks!
Yes, gratitude reminders have become a special
part of our dinner discussion. We always have so much to be thankful for but it puts a special focus on one particular item for the day and helps shift focus off the crazy world we live in. Try it!
When my daughter was younger and having trouble with bad dreams we started doing “5 things” overnight. Right before bed we each name 5 things we are thankful for or just that make us happy. The idea was to fill her mind with happy things before laying down. She is now 10 and we continue the tradition, now including her little brother as well.
Every night at dinner, while we eat, we share our high and low of the day, or our rose, thorn, and bud . (Rose be in the High Point, thorn the low point, and bud is out hope for a future rose.) We like to include the low point of a day because it’s nice to have support around us for what didn’t go so well.
It’s always optional to share, but we do it no matter who’s at our dinner table or where were eating dinner. My six-year-old loves it and my two-year-old seems to be catching on with the idea.
Us too! I love the rose, thorn, bud analogy. We do high, low and grateful. I think it’s good for our kids to see that their parents have good and bad experiences too.
We also have lots of friends who do this too after joining us for dinner and contributing to our moment.
Amanda James says
This is awesome.
Thank you Kelly! this was really inspiring! xx
Oh, I love this! I just emailed this post to my husband. We have a 14 month old, and I feel like some days you’re just so in the weeds that it’s just all you have to get through it, let alone remember how *good* life is, even when it’s tough. After graduation, my college friends and I used to do HLO emails on Fridays — high/low/other — where we’d share three things from the week that fell into each category. We haven’t done this in ages (kids, life, etc.) but I feel like we might need to reinstate it.
I love this! It can be hard to remember the good things during a bad day. My now fiancé and I used to say our “favorite part of the day” every night before falling asleep. I’m not sure when we stopped doing that but this insipires me to set a reminder on my phone and start that back up!
Mia S says
I love this idea, but I also just really love this picture of y’all!! <3
Frankly, I love this idea. At first I thought, I already express gratitude daily in my bedtime prayer. But then I read on about how you and your husband do it together. I think that is powerful. Getting to know what the other person is grateful for and thinking about is big! Great idea.
I love this idea which is why I wanted to take it a step further. I created a FREE service that will text you at the same time every morning. The text will include what someone is thankful for than politely ask you what you are thankful for. The site is called IAmGratefulText.com. Please check out the site and if you like it share it with anyone and everyone. Spread the love! =)