The simple joy (and phenomenal power) of expressing gratitude

Last week as I scrolled through Instagram I came across an affirmation: 

Queen, the goal is to create a life that allows you to spend your time, your money and your energy how you want. Aspire to be a woman who loves what she does for a living, travels often, is spiritually secure, financially stable and deeply loved. 

The affirmation exclaimed: ‘Claim it with a Yes!’. And what struck me most was not that thousands of people had typed ‘Yes!” in the hope of attaining this state of being, but the fact that I already have it. I am that Queen. I have created that life. And I am so bloody grateful for it.

In September 2021 I wrote an article for CEOWorldMagazine called ‘Life Is Too Short’ , and in it I shared the changes I was going to make to the way I lived my life, to make the most of my life. I returned to that article today to reflect on the year of 2023, on how far I have come and how much my life has changed by making that simple list.

Expressing gratitude is a daily habit I adopted soon after my ex-husband became sick in 2020 and died in 2021 of pancreatic cancer. It is not lost on me that it took his devastating diagnosis to prompt me to make a habit of the simple act of saying thank you for all of my blessings. Every night when I lie in bed (one of my most favourite spots in the world in any event), I spend 5 minutes reflecting on my day and expressing everything that I am grateful for. 

On the ‘good days’ the list is long and self affirming. On the ‘bad days’, while the list may be short and may simply be: I am so grateful that this day is done and I am in bed and I can rest, the act of expressing gratitude is a very powerful reminder to myself that I am well, healthy and loved. It never fails to refocus me and help me reframe my definition of what a ‘bad day’ actually means. 

So today, instead of expressing my daily gratitude, I am reflecting on the year of 2023, the power of that simple list I wrote in September 2021, how much my life has changed since, and what I am grateful for.

I am grateful for:

Writing that list which turned into a book called ‘The Life List: Master Every Moment and Live an Audacious Life’, which was published in April.

My kids who are bloody magnificent and determined and strong and naughty and stress inducing and who make me laugh and cry and incredibly proud. I know they love me to the moon and back, and that’s enough.

Being brave and following my friend’s advice to get out there and start dating. 

My relationship with my sisters and my dad who I see every day and to whom I have never felt so connected.

The humbling experience of watching my younger sister fight and heal with epic strength after undergoing brain surgery as a single mum to two little boys.

Meeting a beautiful man who is smart and strong and self assured and genuine and trustworthy and who makes me feel as deeply loved as I love him.

Continuing to evolve my business to suit my needs, to be working with clients I love, doing what I love doing every day.

Being time affluent.

Partnering with and supporting Share The Dignity, a magnificent Australian charity run by my dear friend Rochelle Courtenay.

Being more courageous.

Being vigilant with my health, checking for lumps, finding them and making sure that everything is OK. And it is.

Decluttering my house and getting rid of the crap that no longer serves me or brings me joy.

Starting to learn to cook. 

Being brave and authentic and letting my guard down and letting people in – for embracing the public accountability I needed to take back control of my life on my terms.

Continuing to improve my financial acumen, setting up a self managed superannuation fund, investing heavily in my superannuation, creating a great relationship with the personal banker at my local bank branch, digging and asking questions and getting better at understanding my money.

The women I surround myself with who fill my cup – and them being OK with an hour catch up here and there because they know I like to be home in bed by 8.00pm.

Having spent 7 glorious weeks in Bali – living and working and practicing being a digital nomad. For jumping on my motorbike and exploring for hours on end. For the food, for finally learning how to relax during yoga, for letting my mind go and falling asleep on the yoga mat rather than forever thinking.

Learning how to surf and experiencing the sheer exhilaration of standing up and riding a wave.

Taking my every day experiences and extracting life and business lessons from them.

Successfully navigating a long distance relationship with my new partner while we were both overseas and feeling more connected for it.

Hiking the Flinders Ranges with my best friend and business accountability buddy while we planned for 2024 and immersed ourselves in the heat of outback South Australia.

Laughing a lot.

Embracing the power of Moments to create Momentum and to live a Momentous life.

A lot of massages in Bali.

Launching my new Life List Group Program and having the pleasure of guiding women through the process of designing and implementing their own Life Lists.

Swimming (almost) every day with my sisters – rail, hail or shine. We are three years into this daily ritual and it has added such abundance, mental wellness and clarity to my life.

Swearing, a lot. 

Getting another tattoo – which I love and which I think looks f**king amazing.

Surrounding myself with a small, fully supportive group of people who I love and who never try to restrict me with their rules or expectations for how I should be living my life.

No longer having to pretend that I’m always strong.

Climbing Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in Lombok, with my son and his girlfriend.

Having a partner who supports and encourages my growth.

Being well travelled and with a big list of my next adventures which are already locked into my calendar for 2024 and beyond.

Saying Yes to things I used to say No to.

Saying No to things I used to say Yes to.

The emails and messages I receive from women around the world who have been impacted by my words.

The Life List winning the ‘Best General Business Book’ in the Australian Business Book Awards – and feeling like I am truly a writer.

Sleeping deeply – I love being horizontal.

Gifting my kids experiences over possessions. Paintballing was epic. The Foo Fighters concert was iconic.

Learning how to pole dance.

Narrating The Life List for Audible.

Letting go of having to be in control. 

Valuing what I most value – my family and partner, my business and my health.

Truly living my best life.

As one year ends and we look longingly towards the next, we often do so with the hope that things will somehow be better, easier, more fruitful, more fun, less stressful, less demanding, less exhausting – generally more of the good stuff and less of the shit stuff.  

I get this. I’m tired too. It has been a long year. But it has also been a magnificent year and that is worth recognising and celebrating.

What are you grateful for in 2023?

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Design & Deliver A Dream Life
With Kate Christie

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I am an executive coach and small business coach specialising in time management, productivity, goal setting and life by design.
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Grief and loss taught Kate—a top lawyer turned time management expert for global businesses—life is too short. You need to set then chase outrageous goals. Now.
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At its heart, this book is about sharing my story so that you know you aren’t alone – that there are many women just like you who are reflecting on what’s next.
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