I'm excited to announce that the 5th Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge is about to begin in just a few days (November 1, 2015)! For the past four (!) years, I've hosted a 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge (see here and here and here and here), and this year it's back again for year five! If you're not familiar with the challenge, the premise is this: snap photos inspired by the daily prompts listed above and share them on social media with the hashtag #Gratitude30. A simple yet effective way to embrace gratitude all month long!
If you haven't done this before, you might be wondering: Why participate in the challenge instead of just being grateful? In my experience, participating in the challenge makes being grateful easier because it holds you accountable for your thankfulness and it encourages you to look for gratitude all around you. Though I try to practice gratitude on a daily basis, this challenge motivates me to think more about what I'm lucky to have in my life. Plus, it's actually really fun to do!
The challenge also encourages you to get specific about what you're grateful for. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor discusses how gratitude lists sometimes aren't as effective as they could be because they're often repetitive and general, like being thankful for "family" or "shelter." To create a deeper sense of gratitude, it helps to get more detailed — and that's what I'm hoping you'll do with the 5th Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge!
It's great to share photos of what you're specifically grateful for, but I also recommend you dig a little deeper and consider why you're grateful for the things you choose to share. Below you'll see not only the one-word prompts, but also some thoughts on what you might want to contemplate while snapping photos for the challenge... (If you want more details on the challenge, keep scrolling to the bottom of this post!)
DAY 1: HOME
They say home is where the heart is, but what does "home" mean to you? Is it where you rest your head each night? Is it where you grew up? Or is home more of a state of mind? Whatever home means to you, reflect on it and share a photo of it today.
DAY 2: INSPIRATION
We all find unique inspiration in the world around us. On Day 2, consider what inspires you to get out of the bed in the morning. What inspires you to keep working, loving, living? Use today as an opportunity to share your favorite source of inspiration.
DAY 3: LOVE
One of the most important things to be grateful for is love. There are so many kinds of love and each one is deserving of your gratitude. How do you share love in your life? How do you accept it? How does it make you feel when you think of the word "love"?
DAY 4: COLOR
If you can't tell from my colorful site, there are few things I love more than color. It's something I'm incredibly grateful for on a daily basis. How do you feel about color? Which ones are your favorites? What colors inspire feelings of happiness? Share those today!
DAY 5: HAPPINESS
For each and every one of us, happiness might mean something different. Try not to place any judgment on what makes you happy. Just contemplate it today and snap a photo of it to share with the world. Don't forget #Gratitude30!
DAY 6: WORDS
Someone once asked me what is the one thing I couldn't live without and I immediately answered: words. Words are my passion, but even if you're not passionate about words, I bet they've had a profound influence on your life. Share your favorites today.
DAY 7: KEEPSAKE
Though staying present is important, reflecting on positive memories can be wonderful. Consider your favorite moment or item from the past. What was wonderful about it? How do you feel when you think of that time / thing / person?
DAY 8: NATURE
Being grateful for nature is one of the best feelings. Look around for whatever nature you can find. What is inspiring or beautiful about it? What elements of nature do you most connect with? When are you most in touch with nature?
DAY 9: LAUGHTER
Laughing is one of the best activities in life, and I'm grateful for every moment I spend laughing. Today, reflect on what makes you laugh. Is it a movie? A book? A joke? A memory? A friend? Whatever evokes that giddy sense of happiness within you, be thankful for it.
DAY 10: MUSIC
Music is another thing I'm immensely grateful for. (See my weekly playlists here.) There are songs for every occasion and mood and hearing the right one can change everything. What kind of music do you enjoy? What song is your favorite right now?
DAY 11: GIFT
This prompt can go one of two ways: (1) you could share a gift that someone else that has given you that you're thankful to have received, or (2) you can share your gratitude for a gift/talent that you possess.
DAY 12: WISDOM
Today, reflect on the wisdom you've received in your life. Who is the wisest person you know? What have you learned from him/her? Or, reflect specifically on a piece of advice or an experience that's made you wiser.
DAY 13: ART
What you consider "art" is unique to you. Even if you don't consider yourself artistic, you know what appeals to you when you see it. Ask yourself: What art do I see on a daily basis? What art have I seen that's positively impacted my life?
DAY 14: ROUTINE
Many of us (especially me!) are creatures of habit. What routines do you have in your life? What is it about these routines that keeps you doing them? Do they make your life easier? What elements of them are you thankful for?
DAY 15: CLOTHING
Clothing is a something we often take for granted, but we are so lucky to have it. What attire makes you feel the most thankful? What item makes you happy every time you wear it? What item serves an important purpose in your life?
DAY 16: NEW
New things and experiences are exciting! What's been added to your life recently? What's changed? Do you have any new friends, new experiences, new mindsets? If you're struggling with this prompt, go out and do something new today!
DAY 17: WEATHER
Weather can influence how you feel and act, making it something worth expressing gratitude toward. How do you feel when the sun shines? When the storm clouds gather? What is the weather today and how does it make you feel?
DAY 18: FOOD
Taste may be a difficult thing to photograph, but try to capture and share the tastes that you most enjoy. What is your favorite food? Why? What tastes (sweet, salty, etc.) are you most drawn to? What flavors entice and excite you?
DAY 19: BEAUTY
In the eye of the beholder lies beauty. What beauty are you grateful to see or experience? What things make your home, office, neighborhood, etc. more beautiful? Who around you embodies the essence of beauty? What do you find beautiful about yourself?
DAY 20: FRIENDSHIP
Be grateful for and celebrate the friendships in your life today. Who has been by your side no matter what? Who can you call, day or night, for a chat? Who puts a smile on your face just by thinking his/her name?
DAY 21: TECHNOLOGY
I have a love affair with technology, and I'm so thankful to have it in my life. In what ways does technology change your life for the better? What are you most thankful for when it comes to the technological advances in our world today?
DAY 22: TIME
Time. We all have limited amounts of it, which is one reason we should be so grateful for the time we do have. How do you like to spend your time? What would you do if you had more time? What does the word "time" mean to you?
DAY 23: SCENT
The nose is a powerful tool, and what we smell can transform an experience or mood. Consider what your favorite smells are and why. How do they make you feel? Why do you like feeling that way? Today, be thankful for the aromas in your life.
DAY 24: KNOWLEDGE
Consider how much you've learned since the day you were born. Pretty amazing, isn't it? I bet in the last year alone, you've learned tons of things you didn't know before. What are you thankful to know? What knowledge resources are you thankful to have?
DAY 25: COMFORT
Comfort is a gift — whether it's in the form of physical comfort (a hug, a blanket) or an emotional outlet (a good listener, wise advice). What things, people, or situations make you feel most comforted? Be thankful for those things in your life.
DAY 26: FAMILY
Family — no matter what shape or size it comes in — is something we're all lucky to have in our lives. Take note of your family today (and "family" can include close friends too!). What do you love about them? What do you often take for granted?
DAY 27: LUXURY
Most of what we have in our lives (other than food and shelter) is a wonderful luxury. What luxuries do you have in your life that you should be thankful for? A car to drive you where you need to go? A bookshelf stuffed with books? Recognize (and appreciate!) your luxuries.
DAY 28: WORK
Being thankful for work might be a challenge, but consider how work makes your life better. It provides income, and it can challenge, inspire, and excite you. Why are you lucky to have the job you do? How does this job improve your life?
DAY 29: CREATIVITY
Even if you're not "creative," every day you create something. You create connections, experiences, conversations. You create art and music and magic. Consider what you have created recently. How did it feel? What would you like to create more of?
DAY 30: SELF-LOVE
The one thing you will always have in your life, no matter what, is yourself. On the final day of the challenge, consider all the ways you are amazing and appreciate the good (and not so good!) parts of yourself. What do you love most about you?
I hope you'll join me in participating in the 5th Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge this year! It really is a lot of fun. If you're joining in (yay!), here are a few things to note before you begin the challenge:
* No photography skills needed. You don't need to be a photographer or even all that interested in taking photos to participate. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you're grateful for.
* Don't be scared by the word "challenge." It's just what these photo things are called so don't let it prevent you from participating. There's no reward, no punishment — just an opportunity to be more thankful.
* Any kind of camera works. You can take your photos anyway you want to — with your phone, a digital camera, a DSLR, a Holga, an Instax, a SLR, a Polaroid. Anything goes when it comes to capturing gratitude.
* Start at any time. The point is to focus on staying thankful for thirty days. You can start the challenge on November 1 and do it for the whole month (as I'm doing), or you can start the challenge any day that works for you.
* Print out a reminder. You can copy the photo above (save it to your phone, perhaps!) or you can download and print out a version to post wherever you'd find a reminder helpful by clicking here.
I'm looking forward to sharing my photos with you all month long — and I can't wait to see your photos as well!
One great way to cultivate more gratitude in your life is to focus on being thankful for the unique aspects of you. You can discover (and appreciate!) more about yourself and what matters to you by downloading a copy of Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your very own soul-searching copy here.