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Lifehack’s Guide to Gratitude, Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving

Lifehack’s Guide to Gratitude, Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving

Gratitude, Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving

    It’s Thanksgiving time in the US, a time for reflection on the blessings that make our lives worth living. Over the years, Lifehack’s writers have has a lot to say on the topic of gratitude, giving thanks, and – of course – Thanksgiving.

    The Power of Giving Thanks

    Change the World, One Thank-You Note at a Time
    When Esquire writer Tom Chiarella decided to send handwritten thank you notes to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who had touched his life in some way, he found a personal reward he wasn’t expecting: “I began to look at the day as a series of opportunities for thankfulness rather than obligations to a calendar.” Read Craig Child’s comments and then click through to the original Esquire story.

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    Power of Gratitude
    Vishal Rao sees gratitude as the key to keeping a positive outlook – and thus the force behind powerful change. “The power of gratitude works on the brain, he writes. “It helps release the negativity in our mind.”

    Universal Values to Be Grateful For
    We are nothing without the values we choose to live by, says Rosa Say. Expressing gratitude for the values that shape our relationships, or careers, and our lives is one step in “taking possession” of those values and making them a clear and conscious part of our approach to life.

    How to Be Happier with What You Have
    Does wanting more mean you have to be unhappy with what you have? Scott Young believes not, and shares tips to help us appreciate what we have while working for our dreams. Have a lot of interests, so a setback in any one won’t mean you lost everything; experiment with different ways of filling your time to find the way that works best for you; and don’t worry about living up to other people’s standards.

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    The Importance of Thank You
    Chris Brogan highlights the meaningfulness of expressing gratitude to the people who help you on your way. “Thank the people in your life who add value,” he writes, “and make sure you spread a little good karma that way. Be kind and generous in your thanks, and the results will almost always be favorable.” To make it easy, he offers a set of tips on giving thanks simply and effectively.

    A Powerful Thanksgiving

    Reap Joy from this Thanksgiving Holiday
    Another post on giving thanks from Rosa Say, who finds American Thanksgiving to resonate well with the Hawaiian concept of mahalo. Instead of decrying the artificialness of a day when we’re supposed to be thankful, Say embraces the forced gratitude of the day, sending notes and emails to friends around the world and thanking them for being part of her life. What a great (and yes, joyful) way to make a difference in the lives of the people you’re closest to – and your own.

    Thanksgiving and the Stories We Tell Ourselves
    My contribution to Lifehack’s pool of Thanksgiving-themed posts focuses less on thankfulness and more on what we can learn from how the Thanksgiving story – the Pilgrims, the Indians, the shared feast – defines us as a people. Stories, I argue, shape our lives in profound ways, even when they’re not true, or not true yet. Real change, then, might well start with changing the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and about the world we live in.

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    Thanksgiving How-To Guides
    A quickie post linking to Thanksgiving-themed how-to guides on eHow.

    TIme Management on the Turkey Day
    When we talk about Thanksgiving, we emphasize the relaxed day with our family, watching the football game or the Thanksgiving Day parade, and of course we pay homage to mom’s pumpkin pie or Aunt Louanna’s special stuffing. We tend to forget the tremendous tactical effort it takes to get all that food on the table at 4:00, hot and steaming. Leon Ho links to a post at FoodieView that offers a few tips for those facing the holiday from the kitchen counter.

    Top 10 Things to Do for Mom’s PC Over Thanksgiving
    For the techie among us, Thanksgiving is more than just a day for sharing good food and good times with your family – it’s also the day we will be called upon to service our parent’s computers. Leon’s post links to a list of good ideas for souping up Mom’s (or Dad’s, or grandma’s, or whomever’s) while you’re home for the holidays.

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    Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans, and to everyone else, thanks for reading. I hope you find a moment or two to be thankful on this and every day.

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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