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21-Day Gratitude Challenge: What It Is & How to Participate

The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge helps to reframe your mindset and turn gratitude from an occasional feeling to a daily habit.

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and downcast when you’re recovering from an addiction. There can be a lot of negative feelings involved, spanning from depression and anxiety to shame and fragility.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools that can help combat these feelings to help make your recovery more manageable. One of these tools is the practice of gratitude.

The practice of gratitude has been shown to improve self-confidence, patience, relationships, and more. But what can you do to approach gratitude and reap these benefits? The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge helps to reframe your mindset and turn gratitude from an occasional feeling to a daily habit.

What Is the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge?

The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge encourages participants to adopt a new perspective by intentionally practicing gratitude every day for three weeks. While this may sound like a hefty commitment, your daily practice of gratitude can take as little as five minutes. The important part is consistency.

There is no right or wrong way to complete the challenge. You can start by setting aside a few minutes each day to write down three things you’re thankful for, or take it a step further and try a different reflection or action each day. What matters most is the attitude shift that helps you focus on the good things around you.

Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude does far more than make you a more grateful person. There is a long line of research that shows the benefits of gratitude on both your physical and mental health. These include:

  • Increased happiness: Studies have found that one single, intentional practice of gratitude can cause an immediate 10% increase in happiness and a 35% decrease in depressive symptoms.
  • Improved resiliency: Gratitude can foster resilience against traumatic events by promoting positive outcomes.
  • Physical benefits: Regular acts of gratitude can boost your immune system, improve sleep, boost your immune system, and lower your risk of disease and chronic pain.

Tips for Success

All challenges require dedication and commitment to achieve your goals, and the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge is no different. Here are some tips to help ensure you stick with the challenge for the full three weeks.

Choose a habitual time of day

Try to plan out a specific time of day to complete your daily gratitude practice so that it’s more likely to become a habit. Some questions to consider when choosing the best time include:

  • When am I the least busy?
  • When are distractions at a minimum?
  • When will I have the proper amount of time to complete the challenge without feeling rushed?

For some people, this may be first thing in the morning, before your family members or roommates are awake. For others, the best time may be during their lunch break or regular outdoor walk.

Choose whichever time works best for your typical schedule to set yourself up for success.

Set daily phone reminders

Just because you choose a specific time of day to complete your daily gratitude practices doesn’t mean you’ll remember to do so. Try setting an alarm or calendar reminder on your phone to repeat for the next 21 days.

This can also be helpful if you need to shift the time one day to work around another commitment.

Designate an accountability partner

Just like sponsors can aid in your recovery through trust and accountability, don’t be afraid to ask someone in your life to check in on your challenge progress. 

Research shows that you are 65% more likely to achieve a goal if you tell another person about it. This chance of success increases to a whopping 95% when you schedule times to share your progress with another person.

Use a list of pre-planned prompts

Some people benefit from having a little more direction. If this sounds like you, consider following or creating a structured plan like the one below that outlines a specific activity to complete each day.

How to Get Started

Starting a challenge can often be the hardest part. That’s why we’ve created a sample 21-Day Gratitude Challenge plan to help guide you.

Feel free to follow this plan exactly as it’s written, or swap out activities with other actions you can take that are a better fit. Just be sure to keep your activities realistic for your schedule and resources so you’re set up for success.

21-Day Gratitude Challenge: Prompt Ideas

  • Day 1: Reflect on your motivation for taking the gratitude challenge, and write down three things you hope to achieve from it.
  • Day 2: Write a thank you note to someone who has been on your mind lately.
  • Day 3: Take a photo of something beautiful and set it as your phone background.
  • Day 4: Jot down three things that have gone well today.
  • Day 5: Leave a 5-star review for a local business that has impressed you lately.
  • Day 6: Text a friend and tell them why you’re grateful for them.
  • Day 7: Think of someone you really care about and invite them out for lunch.
  • Day 8: Make note of something you’re particularly proud of in your recovery so far.
  • Day 9: Print out a picture of something or someone you’re grateful for and put it on your desk or nightstand.
  • Day 10: Change the name of your alarm on your phone to a positive message that you’ll see first thing when you wake up.
  • Day 11: Send a thank you note to your sponsor or someone who has aided your recovery.
  • Day 12: Write a message of thanks for some of the “negative” things in your life.
  • Day 13: Take five minutes to meditate on all of the things you’re thankful for.
  • Day 14: Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and express your appreciation for them.
  • Day 15: Write down three positive ways to describe yourself and stick them to your bathroom mirror.
  • Day 16: Pause before eating your next meal 
  • Day 17: Make a list of all the people who have helped or supported you in your recovery, including your care team.
  • Day 18: Express gratitude for yourself by reflecting on all of the positive ways you’ve been working toward your recovery.
  • Day 19: Send a $5 gift card to a coworker or role model in your life.
  • Day 20: Celebrate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you by setting aside 10 minutes for self-care.
  • Day 21: Reflect on how you’re feeling after taking the gratitude challenge. Has your perspective changed? Brainstorm how you can continue the practice of gratitude going forward.

Elevate Your Self-Care With Purposes Recovery

Purposes Recovery is here to give you the tools you need to recover and stay sober. Aside from offering luxury medical detox and inpatient drug rehab services in Los Angeles, Purposes Recovery regularly posts resources like this one that can meet you wherever you are.

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If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use disorder, request a confidential call from our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles CA. Our team is ready to guide you through understanding your treatment options in a supportive and understanding environment. Taking this step is a sign of strength and the beginning of your path to a healthier, brighter future.

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