on May 7, 2021

Hey Chatbookers! I’m Gina Hamadey, author of the brand new book I Want to Thank You. I spent a year sending out 365 thank you notes to friends, family members, and others. In the process, I learned that an active gratitude practice can make you happier and help heal complicated relationships.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Chatbooks for The Thank You Challenge. I'm sharing new ways to thank the people in your life so you can pay the positivity forward—plus, I planned the first four weeks of your journey! And don’t forget to snap a photo of your thank you notes to add to your photo books to keep track of them. Here are some ways to reach out to old connections, extended family, and even people in your community… 

Your Week 1 Challenge: Thank Your Neighbors

Decide how many notes to write. With a goal number in mind, you’ll think of neighbors who weren’t obvious choices—and who might be the most rewarding of the bunch!

Set parameters. It sounds counterintuitive, but boundaries breed creativity. I chose “neighbors who have done me a favor.”

Put pen to paper. Studies show that handwriting enhances learning —internalize your gratitude practice with handwritten notes versus text messages.

Snap a picture of your note. That way, by the end of the year, you can look back on all the gratitude you’ve expressed.

Your Week 2 Challenge: Write “Remember When” Messages

Go through old photos. Pick ones that make you laugh or bring up strong feelings.

Clear out other distractions. Focus on the person in the picture and that moment in time. What do you remember? How do you feel?

Try starting with the phrase “Remember when?” and then share the memories and feelings that the picture brings up. Be honest and specific!

Send it to an old friend or a distant relative. Write out what you miss about that person and why you treasure this specific memory. Then text or email your message and include a picture of the photo you’re referencing. Later, screenshot your conversation to add to your Chatbook.

Your Week 3 Challenge: Express Gratitude In the Moment

Flip through your Chatbooks today and text a picture to 10 people that appear in your photos with a sentence that starts with “I’m so grateful that…”

Express your gratitude on the spot, adding your feelings and a compliment.

Go out on a limb. If there’s a shy inner voice stopping you from expressing your gratitude, try to quash it. The awkwardness you perceive lives only in your head.

Follow up. Asking when you can meet or catch up on Facetime can give your gesture more impact. Don’t forget to snap a pic of your reunion!

Your Week 4 Challenge: Teach Kids To Be Grateful

Point out good things that are happening. This could be a delicious food that you’re eating or a nice walk you’re going on.

Explain who’s responsible for those things. Often there are many people involved—from a parent who cooked a meal to someone who keeps the streets clean so they’re nice to walk on.

Encourage your child to thank those people—verbally or in a note. Help kids use specific language so they understand how others helped. How did this favor (or food or walk) make them feel? Capture the moment with a photo—like your child putting a thank you in the mailbox—so they can remember the feeling later!

Model gratitude. When you make gratitude a daily part of your life, you’re showing your children how to think and act gratefully. 

For more ways to thank the people in your life, pick up a copy of Gina’s book and follow her on Instagram!