2022: The Year of Gratitude Culture

Society has us believing we always need to be better. Weigh less, look prettier, earn more, sleep less, work harder, buy more, do more, be more. We’re surrounded by advertisements reminding us of an endless list of things we need to own, places we must visit, gadgets we “can’t live without in 2022”.

Despite what Instagram tells us will make us happy, I think we can all relate to the shitty feeling that comes with not achieving what society tells us we should, or even worse, achieving something and realising that doing so didn’t ever really make us happy. Living this way is harmful: if you spend your whole live chasing unattainable or meaningless goals, you fail to live in, or be grateful for, what you have right now.

I’m not saying that goal-setting is bad. I’m saying that setting goals for the wrong reasons is bad. In the past, I’ve set many goals because I thought achieving them would make other people think better of me. In reality, trying to achieve these things only made me miserable because, funnily enough, I am not other people. I’ve learned that for a goal to be meaningful to my life, the process of simply trying to achieve it has to be enough.

Some of these goals include doing a headstand, buying our first house and creating a savings account. The bubbles of pride and excitement came not once I’d achieved the goal, but in all the teeny-tiny incremental baby-step wins that meant I was moving closer to doing so: It was the first time I did an arm balance in yoga without face-planting the floor. It was having our first meeting with a mortgage advisor who confirmed we are in fact adults who can buy a REAL LIFE HOUSE. It’s all the times I convert what used to be a monthly-wine-spend into cash in my savings account.  Now that I’ve achieved most of these things, I’m embracing that I’ve done so rather than thinking about what’s next (but I’m still working on that damn headstand).

Despite what hustle-culture slyly leads us to believe, we don’t need to move onto achieving bigger and better goals the second we tick something off our to-do lists. We can just simply enjoy the fact we’ve achieved something. I want to embrace the daily benefits that have been added to my life now that I’ve achieved my goals. I certainly know that teenage-Lauren would be so proud of what present-day Lauren has accomplished, and present-day Lauren should be proud, too.

So, for me, 2022 is about gratitude. It’s about living in the present (it’s crazy how much easier this is when I’m not spending half my life in a wine-fog). It’s about being thankful for the incredible things I’ve accomplished and continuing to notice how they benefit my life, how I can do more of them. 2022 is a year to be grateful, to be mindful, to take time for myself and to do more of the things that I love, which include:

  • Seeing sunrises
  • Walking 
  • Doing more walks at sunrise
  • Yoga and meditation (bonus points if its at sunrise)
  • Learning Italian/visiting Italy/eating Italian food
  • Keeping a journal
  • Playing piano
  • Reading everything I can get my hands on
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Being sober

I’ve relished starting the year without any crazy expectations of what I think I need to achieve to feel as though I’ve done well. Instead, I’ve made note of the things that made me happy in 2021, and now I have an amazing list of the things that I think make me, me. I plan to do more of what I love and be grateful for the life that I’m living right now. I’m not creating any hard-and-fast goals that need ‘accomplishing’. Instead, I’m happy just continuing to doing the things that I love. Maybe in the future this list may lead to accomplishments that can be completed. But that’s not what I’m aiming for in 2022.

Some resources that help me stay grateful:

  • Downloading the Gratitude app: Each day, make note of one thing you’re grateful for. It sounds simple, but it can really help when you’re having a bad day. It also gives you an amazing list of things to look back on 🙂
  • Keeping a ‘Good things that happen’ list. In my notes I keep a list of… good things that happen. This can be as minute as waking up to a STUNNING sunrise, or getting a great assignment score, or seeing two magpies, or Taylor Swift releasing a new album. Doesn’t matter how big or small, but make note of the amazing things that happen around you.
  • Deleting fast-fashion clothing apps. 99% of the time that I purchase clothes from these places, I’m reminded that my body is in fact not the same as a fashion model and therefore the clothes do not help me feel good about myself. I don’t need this negativity in my life (plus they are no good for Mother Nature).
  • Removing ads and turning off notifications for social media. Make your phone work for you and the life you have now, rather than it leading you to pine over what other people have.

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