This is the time of year we often reflect on all that we have in our lives. We look back and evaluate how the year went for us both personally and professionally and we look forward to and plan for the next year.

No matter how the year went – good or bad – we are hopeful for our future.

So as you plan for the next year – let me share with you a practice that I do almost daily that has made a profound difference in my life. I know it has made a great difference in the lives of my clients who have adopted the habit as well.

It is the discipline of gratitude.

The more consistently I practice it, the better I feel. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the amount of gratitude I have during the day and how those days go for me.

I’ve also noticed that the more gratitude I have in my life and the more I spend time with other people with lots of gratitude in their lives, the better I feel and the better my business goes.

I am thankful for so much that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life. I have been truly blessed.

I know that there are times in our lives where the discipline of gratitude is easy. There are times when everything is great and life is exactly as we hoped and envisioned it would be. These are the times when our business is doing well, when our families are healthy and happy, when we have strong friendships and business relationships that nourish us. When this is our reality it is easy to feel thankful.

But other times, life is difficult. We have all experienced this. There are times when everything seems to be going against us. Sometimes, no matter what we do, nothing works out the way we wanted or expected. Gratitude doesn’t come so quickly at these times. It’s hard to be grateful when our lives are so challenging.

It is counterintuitive, but when everything is going wrong that is the time we need to practice the discipline of gratitude the most. This is when we really need it yet don’t feel it at all.

The reality is that gratitude is a practice, a discipline and not an emotion. It is NOT a logical response to the circumstances around us. Rather it is the consistent practice and deliberate attention to being grateful and thankful for all that we do have in our lives.

It requires practice when life is going well and even more practice when life is tough. But the more we practice the discipline of gratitude the easier it is to access it when we most require it.

It’s just a matter of consciously taking time on a regular basis to acknowledge everything we have to be grateful for.

And believe me; we all have a great deal to be grateful for.

Take a few minutes right now, and reflect on just a few things that you’re grateful for.

This really is a wonderful exercise to do each morning when you wake, or at night when you go to bed.

This is the best part – this practice will bring you fulfillment in your personal and professional life.

This practice is powerful. I have experienced it over and over in my life.

It comes down to this: you can go through your life with resentment, anger and guilt for what went wrong and wonder why things aren’t coming easier to you.

Or you can go through your life feeling grateful for all you do have.

It’s your choice.

If you want to achieve great things in your life then the discipline of gratitude is a key life-skill to master. If you don’t believe me, just try it every day for a week and see how you feel. I think that you will be a lot happier, have more energy and focus in your life.

I wish you a Happy Holiday Season and the very best in the New Year.

Bob Arzt