Soon, it’ll time to celebrate the new year — a time of renewal, and for many, it represents hope for a better tomorrow. Yet, have you noticed how three weeks into January all those good intentions go awry? 

Why is it so difficult to change? Who wouldn’t love to lose those irritating 10 pounds, get that new, “perfect” job or meet your soulmate? What’s the hang-up? 

Our brains are geared to resist change. It’s a survival thing — a chemical reaction. When we want to make a change in our life, it’s fraught with the unknown, and all of this causes anxiety and fear. Our reptilian brain comes to the rescue and tries to save the day. “Change bad. Cookies good,” and there go our diet plans.

One of the most effective means for circumventing our reptilian brain — so we can be open to change and tap into what really lights us up — is the practice of gratitude. 

 

The antidote of gratitude

What does gratitude have to do with change? 

It’s nearly impossible to feel anxious and fearful when in a state of gratitude. The feelings of gratitude create a very profound shift in our brains and create a sense of abundance, expansiveness and possibility. We are able to make different decisions and move forward with more ease. Possibility, curiosity and excitement abound in a grateful mindset. 

It truly is the antidote for anxiety and fear. This opens up the door to making lasting changes in your life.

Let’s use the example of looking for a new job. Practice being grateful for your current job, and you’ll be surprised at what pops up. You may end up loving the job you have or be much more receptive and curious when applying for jobs. 

The “vibe” you project when you’re feeling grateful is contagious and very appealing. Most people want to be around positive, happy folks — it’s just how we roll. There’s so much negativity bouncing around these days that people who project a sense of gratitude stand out from the masses. 

Just think about the last time you were around a desperate salesperson. They said all the right stuff about something you even needed, but something didn’t feel right and you passed. Or, conversely, you bought from a salesperson who was so authentic, uplifting and gracious that you wanted to support them. That’s the vibe we’re talking about: It’s the real deal.

 

Try this experiment

Take the time to write three specific thingsyou’re grateful for every day. Go into details about each person, place or thing; get really specific. 

For example, instead of just listing “grocery-store checker,” go into detail. “I’m grateful for Sally/grocery-store checker because she always has a big smile and greets me by name when I’m checking out. She was so sweet when I forgot my debit card and bagged everything up and set it aside for me. What a sweetie.”

Try it for two weeks — then you can thank me! (A complimentary, two-week gratitude journal is available at www.whatisnextforyou.net.)

 

SANDY WATCHIE STAMATO facilitates “What is Next For You?” workshops in Seattle; for more information, visit her website at www.whatisnextforyou.net. To comment on this column, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.