Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The gratitude vase

Instead of making a new year’s resolution, I started a gratitude jar. Well, it’s more like a bowl than a jar. Actually, to be utterly accurate, it’s a vase — a gratitude vase. I knew there was no point in promising to give up vino, or cut down on food, or step-up in the exercise stakes… all of which would have been wise choices, but I know me. All of those things were also predetermined not to succeed. Willpower is not my middle name. So, in a moment of foolhardy enthusiasm, I opted to celebrate 2016 with a gratitude jar.

You know how they work. Every day I note down something for which I’m thankful or that makes me smile. I put the date on it and then drop the little coloured billet-doux to life in the vase with its predecessors. I know gratitude jars have been around for centuries. They’re no doubt generally regarded as utterly twee, possibly even totally passé by now. But I’m a slow learner. It takes me a while to catch on to things. Especially if they are new habits.

And that’s where I seem to be falling down. It’s not noticing the good stuff. That’s the easy bit. It’s the regular, do-it-every-day, make-it-a-new-part-of-the-routine bit that’s doing me in.  

You know how when you take antibiotics, the doctor and the chemist and the person at the cash register and your mother and your bestie and your neighbour’s second-cousin all remind you that you have to take every single one of the 10 or 12 or 14 or however many are in the prescription or they won’t work? Well, I never do. I never manage to take every single tablet and the last few rattle around somewhere unnoticed until their use-by date is a distant memory.

Other things I regularly fail to make a part of my daily schedule include:
  •  30 minutes of exercise
  • making the bed
  • sweeping the floors
  • meditation
  • being nice to my husband.

The great and ubiquitous ‘they all’ tell me that just doing something every day for thirty days ensures that it becomes as natural as cleaning your teeth.  To be honest, I don’t know if this theory holds true. I never make it to thirty days.

What’s happening with my gratitude vase is that I seem to be stockpiling my expressions of approbation into clumps of half-baked thanks instead of neatly sautéing one each day. 

I’m a little worried that my gratitude vase is judging me.

I have a list of dates and reminder words scribbled on a tatty envelope next to the bed. There’s another one on my phone. And I’m wondering whether a pen and paper in the drawer in the upstairs loo mightn’t be a good idea too. 

The comments all make it into the vase eventually. 
Every day is acknowledged. 
It’s just that I tend to complete and deposit several days’ worth of notes at a time… a week's worth even… 
I guess, on the upside, I should be glad that I haven’t given up on my gratitude vase.
I’m not a total fail at gratefulness yet.

My gratitude vase in its natural habitat


  1. A good idea however it comes to pass. And hey, maybe you don't make your bed, but clearly, looking at your picture, you dust. Which is one up on me!

  2. Well thanks for the generous vote of confidence, but I'm definitely on your team... dusted the table before I took the pic. Could have written your name on it!

  3. Had to laugh at your response about the dusting. I have a magic fairy who comes once a week and keeps my dust at bay. Not sure how much longer I will be able to justify that and then I'll be writing in it too.
    As for the habit forming I agree it's hard. I think the trick is working out how and when is the best time for the habit. I have to take medication each day and when I was working it was easy. I kept it in the kitchen and I would take them with my breakfast - never went to work without breakfast.
    Since I've been at home and sometimes, thanks to my wonderful hubby, I get breakfast in bed or I don't get up at a regular time every day, I found myself missing the meds. Now I have them by my bed so I can take them first thing and I also have a reminder on my phone. Haven't missed once since I set that up. So I guess you need to work out when you can set aside the time to write your gratitude slip and have the pen and paper to hand.
    Personally I think I'd struggle with it but I have been trying to do a meme on Friday that is for naming your five favourite things of the last week. I missed last week but it feels a bit more manageable.
    When are you supposed to look at the slips? At the end of a certain time or just when you need reminding of the good things?

  4. Brekky in bed! Bliss. I thought right before bed would work... But no... So I'll keep trying in my iwn inept way.

    1. Oh... And rereading the notes is meant to be a positive start to the new year...

    2. I think a year is a long time to keep going but I'm sure some notes will be better than no notes :)