Ready to practice gratitude every day, but not sure where to get started? This 30 day gratitude challenge will do the trick!
Get ready to practice gratitude every day, and infuse each day with added positivity and happiness. You can make gratitude a part of your everyday life with a few simple steps!
30 Day Gratitude Challenge to Jump Start A Positive Life
Gratitude is all about giving thanks for people, services, products, life, or yourself….really anything you’re thankful for.
When you express gratitude, you incorporate mindfulness into your routine, as well as practicing a form of self-care.
And a 30 day gratitude challenge is the perfect way to get started, and make practicing gratitude an integral part of your life!
(*Note – this post was originally written in May 2018 as a guest post from Elizabeth at Jihi Elephant. To keep things fresh, the Page Flutter team has since gone in and updated it for 2022, keeping some of the original challenges and adding in some new ones).
Why Participate in a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge?
While it’s far from a sure thing, there is evidence to suggest that practicing gratitude is good for your physical health, as well as your mental health.
For example, a 2015 study found daily gratitude to lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality. Leading gratitude researchers Emmons and McCullough found keeping a gratitude journal was correlated with increased optimism, but also more exercise.
While it’s not a slam dunk in the evidence department, there is research to suggest a grateful heart is also a healthy heart.
Just another reason to get started on your gratitude journey.
How Can I Be More Grateful?
This 30 day gratitude challenge is all about showing those in your life – yourself included – that you are thankful for them, and that you appreciate them.
For this 30 day gratitude challenge, the instructions are extremely simple: Do something to live and express gratitude each day.
You can pick your own acts of gratitude using this list of gratitude ideas or gratitude prompts, or you can follow the pre-made challenge we have created for you, below!
And if you’re not ready for a full 30 day gratitude challenge, bite off a smaller chunk by picking something that’s manageable for you: a 7 day gratitude challenge, pulling from the first week of the challenge prompts, is a great starting point.
By showing yourself and others how much you appreciate them, I think you’ll realize all the positive influence you have in your life!
Day 1: Say Thank You To Someone you Appreciate
I don’t know about you, but having someone recognize and thank me for the work I do makes me feel like a million bucks.
Why not make someone else feel that way?
For Day One of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, keep it simple and just say thank you.
Intentionally find someone you care for and appreciate, and offer up a random act of appreciation by telling them, “Thank you!”
This might sound a bit intimidating, but give it a shot anyway!
If telling someone to their face is too much, a call, email or text message will also leave them with the warm and fuzzy positive emotions of being appreciated.
Day 2: Tell Someone You Love Them
Whether it’s a parent, child, or close friend, take the time out of your day to tell them you love and care about them.
So often, we forget to tell our closest relationships how much we love them.
It’s nice to be reminded that someone loves you!
Day 3: Donate Things You Don’t Use Anymore
Gratitude is sometimes expressed in kindness. And as every kindergarten student knows, there is kindness in sharing.
Do a quick purge of your closets, drawers, cupboards, etc. and take the items you haven’t touched in over 6 months to a local homeless/women’s/animal shelter. If you can’t find a local shelter that needs them, put them on a local Buy Nothing group, or send them off to a charity that could use them.
Take a moment to expresses gratitude for the things you have, and then share with those who have less.
While this may not seem like gratitude at face value, it really is a positive experience for all parties involved!
Day 4: Call a Friend
Give a friend, family member, or someone else in your support network a call just to tell them you care about them and wanted to say hey.
If you have time, spend some time catching up with them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “having close friends and family has far-reaching benefits for your health.”
By reaching out to a person you care about, you’re also practicing self-care for yourself.
Day 5: Treat Yo Self
Express your thanks to yourself by getting a special treat!
For me, this would be a new pen or fresh cut flowers.
For others, it might be an ice cream cone, a funky art print you’ve been lusting after, a new t-shirt, or a fancy coffee!
No need to blow the budget here, just a little treat to savour and be thankful for!
Day 6: Take a Thankful Pause
For Day 6, try to take a thankful pause throughout the day to build the habit.
Before eating a meal or snack is a great time to try this. Take a moment before every meal you eat today, to just be thankful for it (even if you aren’t that excited to eat it).
That food is helping to sustain your life, so take a moment to recognize what wonderful work it’s doing for you!
Day 7: Send a Thank You
Get yourself some gorgeous thank you cards that you can’t wait to write on, and send them out to loved ones, just for the heck of it.
Who doesn’t love getting little thank you notes in the mail? No one, that’s who!
Add to that, you get to write on beautiful stationery with a favorite pen.
Can’t go wrong!
Day 8: Be Kind to A Stranger
If you come across any strangers today, do something kind for them.
This could be as simple as holding the door for a little longer than might feel “normal” for someone who is coming or going, or letting a car merge in front of you and offering up a welcoming wave to your lane of traffic.
Ratchet down the anger and rage that so many exhibit towards strangers in daily life, and practice kindness and happiness instead.
Day 9: Coffee Date
Treat a friend, co-worker, or family member to coffee. A cup of coffee isn’t all that expensive, and it’s the least you can do for someone you care about.
This also creates space for you to tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life, and catch up one-on-one.
Is no one local available? Try a virtual coffee date.
Day 10: Post Gratitude Notes to Help You Remember
What are your favorite quotes for gratitude and encouragement?
Print them off and post them around your home, on your mirrors, or in your planner.
Put them places you will see them, to remind you of your new gratefulness habit.
Don’t have a favorite? Here are 10 of our favorite quotes about gratitude to get you started:
- “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
- “Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” – Albert Schweitzer
- “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire
- “We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success.” – Michelle Obama
- “Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” Doris Day
- “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” – Tony Robbins
- “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou
- “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
- “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Day 11: Compliment A Stranger
This might feel strange at first, but once you get used to doing it, it’s a great habit to get into.
About a decade go, I complimented a stranger’s outfit, and she burst into tears because she’d overheard some sales staff at a store making fun of her earlier in the day. She’d been feeling down, and my genuine compliment spread some happiness that day.
Thing is, you can’t possibly know what is going on in a stranger’s life.
A random compliment might be the highlight of their day, or you might make a new friend.
Step out of your comfort zone and give it a shot!
Day 12: Share Positivity
We live in a world of social media and online forum burnout, and it’s tempting to get into the habit of only commenting on things we disagree with.
On Day 12 of our 30 day gratitude challenge, do the opposite. Take a moment to leave a positive or encouraging comment on someone’s post.
Social media is so full of negativity it can be hard to find encouragement. Help spread some today!
Day 13: Small Gift
Buy a small gift (a couple dollars’ worth) for someone you appreciate. This is sure to make them feel valued, and it won’t hurt your budget.
Day 14: Help a Small Business Owner Out
Choose a favorite small business you love – a restaurant, your gym or yoga studio, or your favorite tiny bakery that no one knows about yet – and leave a positive review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Upload some photos to the review if you have them!
It’s incredibly hard for small businesses to compete when it comes to online search results, and leaving them a glowing and genuine review helps them out, but also helps your community at large find the best spots to go!
Day 15: Make a”Good” List
Today, make a list of all the good qualities you have. This list doesn’t need to be extensive – start with 5 to 10 items.
Focusing on the positive qualities you have instead of the negative ones helps you to really be thankful for all you have and all you are.
Day 16: Pay it Forward
Head to your favorite coffee shop, and buy yourself a coffee.
But don’t stop there!
While you’re at the checkout, pay for a cup of coffee for the next person in line.
If no one’s behind you right now, buy a gift card and leave it with the cashier to use for the next person’s order.
Day 17: Volunteer
Volunteer a little bit of your time for a cause.
It can be anything from your kid’s school bake sale, to the local animal shelter, or soup kitchen.
Whatever you choose, spend some time giving back to your community.
This will surely make the world of a difference for someone.
Day 18: Take a Moment to Thank your Body
I remember something a fitness trainer once said along the lines of, the only guaranteed thing about having a body is that it’s always going to change, and sometimes it’s going to be weird.
I know my body changes from day-to-day and year-to-yer (and sometimes hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute!).
But it’s still here, allowing me to live my life, challenge myself, and have a lot of fun while I’m doing it.
So whatever your body looks like or feels like today, at the end of the day, be thankful it’s here to carry you through this journey.
And if you can, do something that makes your body stronger and healthier!
Day 19: Pre Pay for a Future Experience
Is there a seasonal business that you love…like an ice cream shop that’s packed in the summer, but pretty dead in the winter?
Help that business owner out by buying yourself a gift card in the low season, and pre-paying for some ice cream you’ll eat in the high season.
It doesn’t have to be much, but I bet a bit of business during a time that’s pretty slow will make a big difference for the owner and staff.
And you’ll still end up paying the same amount for your ice cream.
Day 20: Thank Yourself
Stand in front of the mirror, and tell yourself “Thank you” out loud. Do this at least once!
Psychology Today wrote an article talking about the importance of studying aloud for memory.
This can be applied to gratitude as well.
When you speak positively to yourself out loud, you are more likely to internalize that positivity and feel better about yourself!
Day 21: Get Out into Nature
In addition to our bodies, we need nature and the earth to work well, so we can keep enjoying our lives.
On Day 21, share some gratitude for nature, either by getting out into nature (which can be as simple as going for a walk), or doing something to care for nature – picking up trash, riding your bike or public transportation instead of taking the car, or making a small donation to an environmental organization in your area.
Be grateful for the life that’s made possible by mother nature.
Day 22: Addition by Subtraction
It’s hard to move forward, quickly and nimbly, if you’re weighed down by a giant weight from the past.
Today, give yourself permission to “unload” something that’s been weighing you down, and be thankful for the space it creates.
Wondering what to unload?
It could be a feeling, such as anger, worry, or resentment, or something more physical and tangible. Clutter in our homes can weigh us down, and I’ve certainly experienced the feeling of being lighter after decluttering or organizing.
Clutter can also take the form of those daily habits or routines that you do, but don’t really serve you.
Figure out what that thing is for you, and cut it loose. Be grateful for courage to let go, and the space and lightness you create!
Day 23: Invest in Yourself
I fully support the frivolous, fun aspect of self-care.
Indulging in little treats like getting your nails done or taking a long hot bath mean you’re carving out time for you to enjoy life. And that’s great!
But self-care can also sometimes go deeper. Like making a commitment to work on yourself.
I am reminded of this piece of advice from performance coach and psychologist Dr. Julie Gunter:
“Everything in your future will come from you – the decisions you make, the risks you take, how you engage with the world.
You are the origin. Invest in making it a powerhouse.”
Day 24: Random Act of Kindness
I love making random acts of kindness part of my routine, and always find myself left with a grateful heart afterwards.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Stop to help if there’s someone that looks lost in your city
- Deliver a meal to a friend’s house unannounced to give them a break from dinner duty
- Give blood, or schedule an appointment to do so
- Help someone carry groceries to their car
- Get some fresh flowers or bake some cookies for your child’s teacher, just because
- Bombard a friend who’s going through a tough time with cute animal pics and memes to cheer them up
These random acts can be pre-planned, or simply pop up organically when you notice and opportunity.
Day 25: Write Some Gratitude Lists
Instead of making a list of the positive qualities you hold, list the things, people, and characteristics you are grateful for.
If you really embrace this list, it is sure to be a very long list.
I strongly encourage that you add to this list in small increments. Each day, add only a few items.
You will be amazed how many things you have to be grateful for that you take for granted. You could also make this into an art project!
Day 26: Help a Neighbor Out
Over the course of our lives, I’m sure most of us have lived in fantastic neighborboods, and also not-as-awesome ones.
One of the difference makers between a great neighborhood and one that’s less friendly, welcoming, or fun, is the neighbors themselves.
For Day 26 of this 30 Day gratitude challenge, think of something you can do to make your neighborhood awesome, by helping out a neighbor.
- Tell them when you’re going to the grocery store, and offer to pick up something they need.
- Offer to take their dog for a walk.
- Shovel the snow off their driveway.
- Plan a meetup for your neighbors, so everyone can get to know each other.
- Drop off a small housewarming gift when a new neighbor moves in. Hard-to-kill plants are a great choice, especially if you know nothing about your new neighbors and their lifestyle and travel habits!
- Create a neighborhood welcome pack with recommendations and hidden gems, so it’s ready next time someone moves in.
Day 27: Practice Gratitude Through Positivity & A No Complaining Day
This one is hard, but commit to not complaining for an entire 24 hours.
By trying not to complain, you’ll find yourself becoming more aware of the criticisms you do have.
You might even start to ask, is this really worth complaining about? Can I reframe this?
Day 28: Take a Load Off for Your Partner/Family Member/ Etc.
Think of a job that someone you love regularly does, and simply do it for them today.
Maybe your partner always takes out the garbage or walks the dog in the morning. Or your kids unload the dishwasher every morning in the rush to get out the door to school.
It doesn’t have to be a big job. Simply plan a few minutes out of your day, and create some space for someone you love.
Day 29: Think of Some Things You Take for Granted
You know that study that found happiness doesn’t increase with income beyond $75,000 or so?
I think about that a lot. And even though it has since been disputed by other studies (which suggest happiness continues to increase, even after one reaches a $75,000 salary), I think there’s a lesson about gratitude in there.
We adjust to our circumstances, like frogs in boiling water.
Even as our circumstances get better with promotions, finding the right partner, switching to a new job, or dropping out of work to focus on family, we sometimes forget to marvel at how much we have, and how abundant our lives are.
It’s important to count our blessings.
Day 30: Get Started with a Gratitude Journal
Today is the last day of the gratitude challenge! Congratulations for making it this far. 30 days of gratitude is not easy, and you ought to acknowledge that what you have done is a great feat!
Today, we recommend riding the high of this gratitude challenge by committing to a new daily habit that will keep your grateful heart soaring: we’re talking about keeping a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal can help cement some of the positive changes you experienced during this 30 days of gratitude.
Now that you’ve tried out a wide array of gratitude practices, which ones stand out as your favorites? How have you made gratitude a daily practice? Comment below with your tips to make it a lifelong habit!