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Have a Plan for an Appreciative and Grateful 2015

by Derek Irvine

Chalkboard depiction of complex planRecognize This! – Recognition and gratitude don’t often happen by accident. A clear plan for being more appreciative leads to greater sustained engagement and personal commitment.

My colleague Brenda Pohlman shared a lovely post on Friday about her New Year’s Eve tradition with her husband. At the end of each year, they share their “top 10 best days of the year” with each other. The exercise causes them to focus on what went well throughout the year, concentrating their gratitude and appreciation for these days and the people in them.

What particularly touched me about her post, however, was how it evolved from an initial and impromptu question of “What was your best day of the year?” to each living more thoughtfully throughout the year to notice and catalogue those best days. That intentionality shows planning, foresight and proactivity to anticipate and engender best days.

As we enter 2015, that started me thinking about how we can and should show intentionality in appreciation and gratitude in the coming year. That requires a plan.

Here’s the outline of my plan for recognition and gratitude in 2015.

1) Pay attention

The first step in any effort to increase recognition (an outward expression of appreciation of others) and gratitude (an inward acknowledgment of my own appreciation of the goodwill from others in my own life) must be the simple act of paying better attention to occasions worthy of recognition and gratitude.

2) Intentionally acknowledge

Daily life is quite busy and full of myriad distractions. It’s easy to become consumed with an attitude of “get it done.” Far more important to personal well-being and sustained engagement and commitment is to intentionally pause, notice and appreciate the good work and effort of those around us.

3) Review and track

Being timely in giving recognition and expressing gratitude is critical to our happiness in the moment throughout the year. The ability to holistically review and track those individual moments at the end of the year gives us a greater sense of fulfillment, achievement and accomplishment in conjunction with a community of others important to us.

A social recognition system provides the mechanism necessary to make it easy to pay attention, intentionally acknowledge, and review and track recognition and gratitude throughout the year and in a comprehensive manner. Simply having a system in place removes the barriers to recognition for everyone, making it possible to create a culture of recognition and gratitude in which appreciation flows naturally.

What’s your plan for being more intentional in your expression and experience of appreciation and recognition in 2015?

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