Instead of giving up chocolate or getting to the gym seven days a week, lawyer John Kralik decided for his 2008 New Year's resolution to simply be more thankful for the good people and things in his life.
To stick to his resolution -- beyond the 36 hours it usually takes the strongest soul to pop his first Godiva or skip the treadmill -- Kralik decided to write a thank you note each day for a year to the people that mattered in his life, from his son to the barista at his local Starbucks.
When he sat down to write his first note, thanking his son for a Christmas gift, Kralik realized he didn't have his son's address.
He told NPR's Liane Hansen:
"I called him to get his address," and his son replied, "Gee, I need to stop by and take you to lunch." Over lunch, Kralik's son repaid a loan of several thousand dollars. "So I wrote him another thank you note," Kralik says, "for repaying the loan and also for taking me out to lunch."
The hand-written letters are the basis for Kralik's new book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. Short and simple, each thank you note reminded both Kralik and each of his recipients about the little things they should be grateful for on a daily basis.
Transformative gestures of thanks are a healing process for many. For Cami Walker, giving 29 gifts to others in 29 days helped her cope with developing multiple sclerosis at 35.
Walker described to Daryn Kagan:
"I'd say the biggest change in my own life is just the change in my thinking and the change in my outlook. That's had a positive impact on every area of my life."
The month-long act of charity was so moving that Walker started a website, 29 gifts, to share her mission and experiences with others. The site now has thousands of members across the world, and Walker has gone on to write a memoir, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.
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