New year. New people. Let's try this again.
Today, May 29, 2014, is the calendar day as far away as possible from American Thanksgiving 2013 and Thanksgiving 2014.
More importantly, how are you going to treat today? Just like any other day, nose down in work or mindlessly running errands?
Are we going to take our amazing friends and family for granted? Will we skip appreciating our soft bed, abundant sanitation, or safe food?
Heck no! Not today!
Today is your day for gratitude, contentment, giving, and love.
The calendar doesn't get to tell you when you can say, “I think you're flippin' fantastic, and here's why.”
After all, why should we wait until Thanksgiving to release the feelings and actions we horde the rest of the year?
Call it Bizarro Thanksgiving. Think of it as the half-birthday of Captain Gratitude.
But you and me? We're full of non-stop thanks today.
Here's how to make the day farthest away from American Thanksgiving feel just like – if not better than – Thanksgiving.
1. Recreate the Holiday Traditions
I can't watch the Cowboys or Lions play live football in late spring.
But I can Skype with relatives I might only see on Thanksgiving. I can break out family games that usually only appear when turkey's on the table.
How 'bout you? What traditions do you have on or around Thanksgiving?
- Deep reflection about, all things considered, your unbelievably good fortune.
- Making a list of what you're thankful for.
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Passing along work advice to a younger generation.
- Retelling stories of generations past.
- Talking a long walk filled with the sounds of silence.
You can do any one of these worthy things today. Challenge yourself to see how high you can crank that gratitude meter.
2. Round Up the Crew for a Meal
I spend Thanksgiving with family.
You might spend it with close friends, strangers, or people down on their luck.
Regardless of who they are, round up some folks for a spontaneous meal today. Share stories over lunch of the generosity people have shown (and how you plan to pay it forward). Fill up on contentment over dessert with your amazing friends.
Curate your meal-time experiences today and share them next May when you round up the gang again for Bizarro Thanksgiving.
What? Nobody's around? Well, find some cool people online and break bread with them via a Google Hangout. Whatever you do, make your meals memorable.
You know … like Thanksgiving.
3. Tell Someone How Much They Rock
Even the busiest person has ten minutes to send emails or texts to family explaining why they love them.
So I bet you can prioritize a little down-time to call your best friend and tell him or her, “You're schuper-duper schweet. Life is richer when you're around.”
Maybe you can generate the chutzpah to tell a stranger how hilarious their funny bunny shirt is?
(It would mean a lot to me).
Or how about a compliment for your co-worker doing amazing behind-the-scenes stuff that only you can fully appreciate?
Find someone and genuinely describe why they rock. We get love when we show love.
4. Record the Great Memories
It's time to go bonkers in your journal.
Or how about some brief audio of your feelings and experiences throughout the day?
Did parts of the day suck? Set up a weekly reminder in your calendar to relive how much the day sucked. You'll appreciate the heck out of how much better the current day is.
The better you document the day's grooviness and the more triggers you set to recount the grooviness, the less likely you'll horde the good vibes until the calendar says you should.
Triggers for the Good Stuff
What do you need more of each day?
Simplicity, intention, or compassion? Something else we all want but rarely get?
I've set up a number of triggers to generate all the good stuff that simple living has to offer. Here are some resources for you to do that too:
- Meditation: There are probably more than four things you want to know about meditation. But you really only need a trigger based on these four items from HappierHuman.
- Quiet: We long for silence and space, yet we often don't create an environment to experience them. That ends now.
- Intention: Leo Babauta asks, “What if you were very aware of your intention for your actions? How would that transform the action, and your life?” Good news for you: he answers, too. His short essay on leading an intentional life changed the way I view “regular” events … and could for you too.
- Giving: A guest post I wrote on Becoming Minimalist explains why I give in nontraditional ways and how you can too (on any day of the year).
- Gratitude: “Gratitude increases our happiness, improves our relationships, and makes us healthier. And it does so reliably. Over 40 research studies have shown the same thing – gratitude rocks. So how can we get more of it?” Read this for a ton of awesome gratitude triggers.
- Contentment: I encourage a trigger based on exploring the relationship between gratitude and contentment. But you could easily create one when you read a short guide on practicing contentment.
- Compassion: There's standard compassion, and then there's practical compassion. Your repeatable spark happens if you know where compassion starts and how simple easing suffering can be.
- Happiness: This Chip Conley TEDTalk will knock your socks off. You want happiness, right? Then watch this talk.
- Abundance: This Mark's Daily Apple article on simplifying life and refocusing on what's important is a great way to end the endless negative self-talk. Soon enough, scarcity will feel like a thing of the past.
2014: Your Year for Calendar Liberation
I've recreated Thanksgiving today because it should be the last thing on my mind.
For example, have you heard of Let's Consume Less and Create More Day? Why can't you dress up in whatever you want tomorrow and have a funky “I Don't Care What You Think” Day?
You have an extra “Thanks!” or a jumbo-sized “You rock!” in you today.
You can pick a date next month and declare it “Summer Thanksgiving.”
You and me?
We're done letting the calendar rule over us. It's time to declare independence. [Tweet That]
So how about beginning your liberation with a special thanks to someone special? They need it more than you know (and they don't want to wait).
For the comments: What traditions will you recreate today or on another “regular” day? And which trigger did you need most?