Sometimes life throws us a curveball and it is difficult to maintain an attitude of optimism. The good news is that even though we can’t always control the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can choose our mindset.

My daughter Paige spent time a few years ago serving in a local orphanage in Guatemala. Areas of this country are so poor and disadvantaged that many families and children work as scavengers in city dumps in order to simply survive. Children are often placed in orphanages by families too poor to feed them. Painting, landscaping, and spending time playing with the kids, my daughter came back with a different outlook on her own life and the world. “It gave me an attitude shift, and made me realize what we have to be grateful for, and that we should be a helping hand wherever we are.” Sometimes children who have been sheltered may not understand how good we have it here in the United States, however as adults we have no excuse. Even so, don’t we still find ourselves complaining at times about things that are insignificant?

Take a review of the last 24 hours. How often did you speak with an attitude of complaint versus an attitude of gratitude? Were you looking back with regret or forward with eager anticipation for positive things in your future? Let’s face it, we are human and can be prone to be negative, so it is important to check ourselves from time to time and self-correct as needed.

Part of my morning success ritual includes a Gratitude Journal. Every day I take the time to write down three things I am grateful for. Through this journaling activity I can shift my mind to all of the good things and people in my life. As you can’t be thinking negative and positive thoughts at the same time, starting the day with a grateful attitude sets you up for your best day.

Here is some further perspective:

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.” Author unknown

This season choose to live gratefully. It requires active practice each day to focus on your blessings instead of your troubles. This is not always easy in this difficult world we live in. When things don’t always go your way, evaluate and take action where possible, and let go of what you can’t control. Trust that everything will work together for good.

Today, choose to be grateful.