I Filled A Jar With All Of The Good Things That Happened To Me In 2016

I don’t know about you but I love New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It gives me a chance to take inventory of what the last year was like and decide what I need to do to make new year even better. Normally this season fills me hope & joy but after years of struggling with depression, December 31, 2015 was filled with sadness & hopelessness. 2015 was an incredibly difficult year for me. I was depressed, miserable, sad, and felt like I was struggling on all fronts of my life. School was a disaster, my relationship with my new fiancé was struggling because I was struggling, and to top it off I had to have two surgeries in the span of three months. By the time the end of the year came I felt like I had been beaten up by life.

While I was recovering from surgery over Christmas break, I came across a pin on Pinterest that described how to make a gratitude jar. I was intrigued so I read the article and became instantly inspired. I just knew that if I wanted 2016 to be better than 2015, I had to try something different. It was time for me to put this gratitude hype to the test. Could I really feel better & see life in a new light by expressing gratitude, daily? I was willing to try anything so with my arm in a sling & my fiancé in tow I went to Target to gather my supplies.

Making a gratitude jar is actually quite easy. You just get a cute ceramic jar and a stack of sticky notes. You don’t have to use a fancy ceramic jar; you can use anything you have, even a shoebox! The idea behind it is that you write down on a sticky note one good thing that happened every day and put the sticky note into the jar. On New Year’s Eve, you can sit alone or with family & friends and read all of those great things that happened throughout the year. I felt like daily notes were a bit too daunting for me so I just wrote my notes down over the weekend with my fiancé. At first I was super excited about it and actually looked for good things to write about. But, as you may have predicted, my excitement began to wane as the months went on. Regardless, I honored the promise that I made to myself & made sure to write down at least one thing each weekend. Some days the notes looked something like “I actually got out of the bed today & looked forward to the day” while other notes looked like “Today Chris & I got married!”. By June, it wasn’t hard at all to find one good thing to write down. I found myself being grateful for the smallest things like getting to enjoy morning coffee with my mama.

Even my fiancé/husband got into it! I didn’t know this at the time but he’d been dropping his own notes in the jar over the course of the year & when we opened up the jar on New Year’s Eve it was the sweetest surprise. I expected to remember most of the memories that I wrote down but I actually forgot some of them. Being reminded of those moments brought a huge smile to my face. In fact, one memory left my husband & I in stitches for a good five minutes. We had totally forgotten that memory & reliving it was just as hilarious as the day it happened. After opening that jar & reading those notes I felt so blessed to have been able to live such a rich & happy year. Though 2016 definitely had its low moments, my gratitude jar helped me see that my good days outweighed the bad. And you know what? I won’t complain.

I am happy to say that the gratitude jar has become an Ellis family tradition. I cannot wait to open it up in December & see how good the year has been to us! It's not too late to create your own gratitude jar for 2017! You don’t even have to buy anything. Got an empty Kleenex box, shoebox, or Tupperware container? There’s your jar! Cut up some sheets of paper & there’s your sticky notes.

Let us know below if you’ll be making gratitude jar this year. If you made one in 2016 let us know in the comments what your favorite memory was. We can’t wait to read them!