Think of your least favorite weekly activity. You know, the one that you dread doing. Now close your eyes and say out loud “I have to _______(activity).” Now, do it again, but this time I want you to say, “I get to _______(activity).” Did you feel the difference? That tiny little shift in phrasing that made that thing you hate doing just a bit more bearable? This shift reframes it to reflect an attitude of gratitude, and it is a secret weapon to enhance or maintain motivation, especially when it seems most difficult.

Formally defined, gratitude is the quality of being thankful and if you’re reading this then you likely have plenty to be thankful for. The challenge is that life comes at us so fast that we often forget to practice gratitude. “Practice” because when we do it regularly something magical happens; we stop focusing on what isn’t happening for us because we realize how many things are going well and we just can’t help but smile.

There are no wrong ways to practice gratitude, but there are things that seem to make it more beneficial. For starters, you should say what you are thankful for out loud, like declaring your goals. Verbalizing and hearing your words make them more believable and impactful. Second, avoid mentioning material possessions and instead focus on people, experiences, or opportunities as well as the outcomes that may have resulted from these influences. This will connect you with a deeper purpose and meaning. Finally, challenge yourself to come up with new things to be grateful for regularly; doing so will make it hard to feel like your life isn’t adequately stocked already.

We are not unlike our clients. We have long work days, regular responsibilities, and have considerable goals we are chasing. Although it may be easier for us to exercise regularly and eat healthy, there are still things we must do that test the limits of our motivation. Maybe that’s marketing our services, cleaning our gym, or writing 30 new client programs in a weekend. Either way, we must remember that “we get to do this” -- we get to pursue a career that rewards us with sweaty hugs and heartfelt high-fives.