Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

I know a lot of people think of the holidays as a chance to pig out on some family favorite recipes. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat great food, but I also love to take the time to think about the holiday as a time of gratitude. Its nice to be reflective on those people around you that you want to appreciate.

Which brings me to gratitude. Gratitude, and those who practice it regularly tend to be happier, have less stressstronger relationships and increased vitality! Many studies have shown that practicing gratitude have increased happiness in people. One of my favorite gratitude studies (documented by that great group of folks, Soul Pancake) in this great video (7:13). Spoiler alert: there are tears & laughter at the same time! 

So how does one build gratitude into their daily life as a habit? Habit is essential, because at the end of the day, when willpower runs out, habits are what bring forth lasting behavior that can be relied upon. Habits are they key to success with implementing change. Habits become how you live your life, without question, or pressure or judgement.

Last year I was listening to the Health Bridge podcast, and one of the hosts, Pedram Shojai, introduced a fascinating Taoist topic, the 100 day gong. A gong is a concept that during a 100 day period of time, you set actions you will take each day for the purpose of personal growth. Traditionally, these tasks tend to be physical, mental and spiritual. During this period of time, you commit to restructuring your life around doing these tasks every. single. day! If you miss one day, you start over again with day one. Doing a 100 day gong is a way of making that important commitment to yourself and holding yourself accountable if you fall off of the wagon. 

Now I know that the New Year tends to mark the time when we list out 20+ things we are going to start doing on 01 January. The list usually looks like this: "Exercise more, eat better, get more sleep... " etc. And I also know that I can overachieve the overachiever tendency! So I am picking ONE thing that I want to build as a new habit: Gratitude. Im going to do 100 day Gratitude Gong. 

For me that means writing down, or expressing in a photograph something that I am grateful for each day. My friend Oliver Asis (go check out his photography, btw) who documented his 100 days of gratitude last summer. I thought that was a fantastic idea. So, each week, I'll post one of my practice samples to the Toréa Rodriguez FDN Facebook page to share with you how I am doing! And if you want to follow me on Instagram, I'm sure I'll be posting some over there as well. If any of you wish to join me, please let me know (leave a comment or drop me an email) and I can set up a group for us to share our Gratitude Gong's together!!

What sort of actions are you taking for the New Year? Anyone else committing to a gong? Share your thoughts in the comments!