When things get hard, focus on gratitude.

Do I like to make busy months more complicated?

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I’m participating once again! This challenge of writing 50,000 words over the course of the month pushes me to my limits.

Friends, it’s hard and exhilarating and hard (did I already say that?).

While I enjoy the writing process, and I’m clearly all for establishing better routines, producing that much content is no simple task. It requires clearly defined goals, firm boundaries, and a whole lot of positive mindset. But you know what? I deeply believe that I can do it! I live in a world of limitless possibilities and if I don’t know how to get somewhere – – well, I’m determined to figure it out.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I catch myself saying “Damn! This is hard. I don’t know how to do it!” several times a week. But I try to take that as a good sign. It means I’m pushing myself into unknown and uncomfortable territory. While terrifying, that’s a very good sign that you’re growing and expanding!

How do I push through? Here are a few tips that work well for me and many of my clients.

Success Coach, Heather Vickery. When things get hard, focus on gratitude. The Brave Files Podcast. Author. Keynote speaker. Focus. Entrepreneurship. NaNoWriMo

When things get hard, focus on gratitude.

Through this month of intense writing, I plan to focus even more on my gratitude practice. As you know by now, I depend heavily on this daily practice. I’ve learned to rely on gratitude when things get difficult. Gratitude has come to be my safe space, my home base. No matter what, I always know that if I look for it, there’s something to be grateful for in each and every situation life throws at me. That certainly doesn’t mean it always comes easily – not even close. There are days when my list is short. At times, I struggle to come up with anything other than the absolute basics – health, family, and friends. But I work to “dig in” to those basics and be specific. It’s an excellent opportunity to remind myself of how good things actually are.

Why do I love gratitude so much?

Gratitude motivates.

What I love most about gratitude is that there is truly no limit. A grateful heart is a grateful heart – no matter what fills that heart up. A gratitude practice is whatever you make it. And this month, gratitude will serve as a serious motivation in my life. I will use it to continue pushing through. Focusing on the positive will give me a much-needed boost when I’m feeling drained and frustrated. 

Gratitude causes physical changes!

The physical effects of daily gratitude include better sleep and a stronger immune system. Feeling calmer, in control, and happier are added bonuses. It’s even been proven that having a regular gratitude practice lowers your risk of heart disease (True story, friends! Check out this article from Harvard Medical School!).

Create a habit of gratitude.

So when it comes to gratitude as a whole, just how far are we supposed to take it? The answer is simple. – As far as we’d like! The truth is, the more you create a habit of gratitude in your life, the easier it will come to you. I’ve experienced this in my own life as well. Just as it is with any other habit, creating the routine takes work. However, once it’s part of your daily ritual, I promise you’ll see a shift. Your brain is trainable.

Training your brain to rely on gratitude will completely transform your life!


Success Coach, Heather Vickery. When things get hard, focus on gratitude. The Brave Files Podcast. Author. Keynote speaker. Focus. Entrepreneurship. NaNoWriMo

Partner gratitude with a well laid out plan and you’ve got a winning combination!

This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo. I learned last year that it was not good enough to say “I’m going to write 1600 words, every day, for an entire month.” I have to make an actionable and sustainable plan!

Here’s what I do:

  • Three mornings a week I get up at 6:00 am (this may not be early for some of you but it’s super early for this night owl) and write for an hour.
  • Once a week I meet up with a group of local writers also participating in the program, and we write together for two hours. (You always need extra time when there’s chit chat involved.)
  • The other three days a week, I schedule an hour of writing in my daily work schedule.

But here’s the thing…

Sometimes shit happens. I have to be flexible and willing to change plans, if necessary. What’s non-negotiable is writing. Every. Damn. Day. So if my writing time needs to shift, so be it. But I’m not going to bed until I have written 1600 words each and every day. No one is holding me accountable for it but me, and I won’t let myself down!

And don’t forget to celebrate, baby!

I wrote in a previous post about how celebration and gratitude work in a perpetual circle. Celebrating personal wins, no matter how big or small, helps you appreciate yourself and what you’re capable of. You can do hard things and when you do, throw a dance party, share it on social media, take a walk around the block – – whatever makes you stop, acknowledge the success and take a moment to reflect and relish these achievements. 

Personally, I will celebrate every milestone I hit along the way during my month of writing. I’ll pay attention to how I feel when I accomplish each goal and honor the baby steps that get me to the next big goal and eventually to the finish line. This is how I accomplish the things I set out to do with intention and gratitude.

Oh – – one last thing … Will you share your gratitude?

In my opinion, sharing gratitude makes a gigantic difference. It’s one thing to acknowledge all that you have, experience, feel, and plan to do. It’s another thing entirely to express that gratitude outwardly. When we share our gratitude with the people around us, we encourage others to do the same.

I believe so deeply in the power of shared gratitude that we’re, once again, creating a Gratitude Special on The Brave Files Podcast! I’d love for you to participate. In fact, I need you to! We can’t create this episode without your help. Simply call in and leave a message at 312-646-0205. Share your name, location, and what you're most grateful for from the past year. This is your opportunity to be featured in our celebration of gratitude!

Go ahead, call right now!

Have questions? Let’s talk about it.

As always, I’d love to talk with you about your gratitude practice. It’s something I’m happy to dive into any day of the week! If you have something you’d like to share – OR – you would like some help better developing your own focus on gratitude, schedule a Virtual Coffee Date. You can also begin your own practice with my Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus.


Supna Shah, Vickery and Co, Gratitude Journal. The Brave Files Podcast

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About the Author

Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.