At this time of the year, it seems as though the focus is always on material things; another form of the “shiny object syndrome”. Retailers spend vast amounts of money on advertising so that our “wants” will exceed our “needs” and for the most part, they are very successful. While financial abundance and material things are certainly wonderful, it is the other things in life that bring real wealth and happiness into our daily lives.

I started a gratitude journal a couple of years ago. Each day I write down at least 5 things I have to be grateful for. This is a practice that I would encourage everyone to start if you are not already doing it. It can be especially difficult to do this when times are tough. But it never ceases to amaze me that the more you appreciate what you have, the more that actually flows into your life. Gratitude is like fertilizer. It makes what you already have grow larger and stronger; it creates abundance in every area of your life.

2010 has been a difficult year for a lot of folks and sometimes it’s hard to find those blessings in a sea of problems. But I would like to challenge you to try to change your mindset going into 2011. Instead of always thinking about the things that we want such as a bigger house or a new car, or dwelling on what we believe is lacking in our lives, each and every one of us should spend some time this holiday season really appreciating what we do have. Each one of us can give gratitude that we have:

-A place to live.

-Food on the table.

-Dependable transportation.

-Good health for us and our family.

-Friends that love and support us.

Last but not least, it’s truly a blessing to be able to work each day. As this year comes to a close, each of us should also take a good look at the mistakes, problems and hurdles we have faced in 2010 and look for the blessings in these; look for the lessons that we were intended to learn. Give thanks for these roadblocks and the “teachers” that they turned out to be and walk into 2011 a stronger, wiser and happier person.

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