A Busy Venture Capitalist Uses This Gratitude Routine To Chill Out
An elevated practice that helps you live your best life? That’s a ritual. We've asked women we admire to share the daily rituals that make them who they are. Discover their secrets and try a new ritual for yourself.
About ten years ago, I was up for doing some excavating on myself by working through things in therapy. I found the experience to be incredibly valuable, but I also recognized that I was digging deep in some tough places. I can be hard on myself and I found myself feeling down at times throughout the process. I started doing one simple, uplifting thing to remind myself of how good my life truly is. Every night, right before I go to bed, I write down three things from my day that I’m grateful for. Not only does it help me go to bed in a more relaxed state, but it also keeps gratitude on my mind all day. I find that I’m focusing on the positive more often now.
The immediate impact of doing this kept me engaged: just being able to feel centered and calm before bed was huge. One of the best things you can do is realize that your life is a series of small moments, not huge accomplishments: take the power away from those big things that you feel controlled by. Here’s how to help yourself do it.
Set yourself up for success
Get a really pretty journal and a nice pen: having two things that just make you happy to look at can help you want to do this more than you might otherwise. If you’re struggling to start, think about it like this: you can commit to doing this for just fourteen days. After that, go back and look at what you wrote. You’ll feel good about your past two weeks, so you’ll want to keep doing it.
Schedule your gratitude
Pick a time of day and stick to it: routines keep you accountable and they give your day rhythm. Rituals really are important! Knowing that you have this one part of your day that’s just for you will make it feel even better than it would if it were random. It’s easy to get caught up and forget to take time for ourselves. I’m a mom of two with a career that requires a lot of energy, so when I remember to have time set up for myself, I feel less crazed.
Make it quick
Don’t spend more than a few minutes doing this: it’s three quick things. Eventually, you’ll build the gratitude muscle to recognize those things during the day and you’ll recall them easily. You can even make this exercise a game, seeing how fast you can list out the good stuff.
If you’re struggling, just focus on the little things. Let go of big expectations that your day needs to be defined by milestones and try as hard as you can to take joy in the small stuff. Of course, there will be days where big things do happen; but don’t reach for it. Letting your joys be as small as possible frees you up to stop taking things so seriously.
Don't sweat it
Forgive yourself if you miss a day. If you miss a day or two, that’s not an excuse to miss a third! If you have a really bad day and can’t think of anything, go back through your gratitude journal. Those little things from the past will jog your memory and trigger present-day gratitude, and you’ll feel relieved. Trust me.
And those days you don’t feel like doing it? Those are the days you should definitely do it. You should pressure yourself to be grateful when you feel awful: just write down that you’re grateful the day is over and that you’re in bed, even. This exercise will make you have gratitude conversations in your head throughout the day because you'll learn to build that muscle strength to focus on what’s good. It’s easy.
Adopt this Ritual for yourself
Kirsten Green is the founder and managing director of Forerunner Ventures, a $250M fund that’s invested in over 40 early-stage companies. She serves on the board of directors of several Forerunner portfolio companies, including Ritual, Glossier, and Outdoor Voices, among others. She was the only investor who invested in both Jet and Dollar Shave Club simultaneously: each company sold for over a billion dollars in 2016. She’s been featured in Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World 2017 and was named VC of the Year at TechCrunch’s 2017 Crunchies Awards.