Ep. 196 A Gratitude Exercise: 10 Things I’m Thankful For in 2023

I’m not a big gratitude journaler. I rely on my journal when I need to get things out of my head, which helps me gain clarity and see the whole picture. But there is a straightforward gratitude exercise I love, and today, I’m sharing it with you.

Read on to learn why this simple gratitude exercise has helped me gain a new perspective after a challenging year and how you can do it for yourself.

gratitude exercise

2023: The Year of Whack-a-Mole

This year has been incredibly challenging. From my personal life to my home to my professional work, I felt like I was in a game of whack-a-mole. You know—the game where the player has a mallet, and when the mole pops up, the goal is to whack it and earn points.

Here’s the kicker, though: I wasn’t the player in control of the mallet. Instead, I was the mole, just trying to avoid getting hit. 

In some instances, I was grazed with the mallet. In others, the mallet barely missed me. And there were times that I was whacked down and hit HARD—like when my friend and Master Shopkeepers member, April, suddenly passed away. 

Some things were silly and trivial. But as one kept piling up on the next, I thought, “What the heck is going on?!” At one point, my husband and I just looked at each other and laughed hysterically. It has been an ODD and challenging year, that’s for sure. 

Nevertheless, I am keeping things in perspective. I thought it would be wise to do a simple gratitude exercise by writing down ten things I’m grateful for.

#1. My Safety and Freedom

In such tumultuous times worldwide, I am grateful for the overall feeling of safety and freedom. 

Am I naive enough to think I’m always safe? No. But in the grand scheme of things, I am lucky. Many don’t get to experience safety, either on a regular basis OR in times of crisis.

#2. My Health

I nearly died 20 years ago. I’ll spare you the details, but when I do sit in gratitude, this one comes up for me. 

I’m grateful for donors who generously give their blood. Someone’s donation saved my life, and I’ll never forget it.

#3. My Husband and Bonus Son

I’m so thankful to these two for loving me, understanding me, giving me space when I need to work or when the introvert in me needs to be alone, making me laugh, and always cheering me on.

#4. My Family

I’m lucky to have a large family that is full of love!

I’m grateful for my brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews. I’m thankful they’re so good to each other. And I’m grateful that when we all get together, we can laugh and have a good time without drama.

My husband’s entire family treats me like one of their own. They never make me feel like an outsider, and I adore them for this.

And, of course, I’m so grateful for my Mamita. She taught me to be a good person. She showed me that book smart doesn’t always mean wise and that wisdom often wins in relationships. 

gratitude exercise

#5. My Ability to Give

I didn’t realize how critical this was to me until the past few years. 

I always wanted to build a level of wealth, but I didn’t realize that a big part of my motivation for that was so that I could give back. Giving to people and causes that mean something to me makes a difference in the world, and I’m so grateful to have that ability.

#6. My Mental Wellness

I’m incredibly lucky to have spent the past few years working on myself with a coach (shoutout to Neill Williams for making me see my thinking patterns!). 

I’m also grateful that I KNOW the one thing that maintains good mental wellness for me is to move my body and be outdoors. 

#7. My Friends

Oh, my besties—what would I do without them?!

I have groups of besties: my girl besties, my longtime besties, my craft camp besties, my brothers & sisters in blue besties, my biz besties. They have all seen me through good and bad. They know my quirky and nerdy ways. And they know I’m a lightweight with a short social circuit, but they still love me. 

#8. My Wealth and Privilege

I’m grateful that I overcame poverty. I don’t worry about hunger or having a good roof over my head. 

In the US, we all have privilege in one form or another. I know this, and I’m grateful for it, even if it didn’t feel like this growing up as a poor Latina female in a poor community.

#9. My Voice

My voice has become powerful over the past few years. I’m so grateful for it! Especially since I can use my voice to help others and stand up for what I believe in.  

#10. My Businesses and All of YOU

I’m beyond grateful to get up every day and do what I LOVE. 

I never wake up thinking, “I don’t want to work today.” In fact, there are plenty of nights I go to sleep excitedly thinking about the next day! And that is INCREDIBLE. Seriously, it is such a blessing and joy.

A Simple Gratitude Exercise for You

Whether it’s been an easy or hard year, it’s good for us to pause and realize how fortunate we are. 

I encourage you to do this easy gratitude exercise. Just write down or take mental note of 10 things you are grateful for.

It’s far too easy to get bogged down in what’s NOT working or not good in our lives. But often, if we just step back for a minute, we can see how incredibly blessed we are. 

I genuinely hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving surrounded by people you love or peace if that’s what you seek. I just hope you’re doing whatever brings you JOY. 

Thank YOU again for being here and supporting Savvy Shopkeeper. For listening, for encouraging me, for motivating me, for sending me messages of gratitude. 

And an extra special thank you to those of you who have seen me boss up over the years and cheered me on in the best, most encouraging way.  Happy Thanksgiving.


  • Apply to join Master Shopkeepers, the only territory-protected retail training mastermind for independent brick and mortar store owners


  • [01:26] 2023: The Year of Whack-a-Mole
  • [04:14] Ten Things I’m Thankful For
  • [13:42] A Simple Gratitude Exercise for You

Connect With Kathy

Kathy Cruz is a brick and mortar store owner and retail coach. She helps shopkeepers work less, profit more, and grow their brick and mortar businesses through her podcast, quiz, and retail coaching mastermind.

Website: www.savvyshopkeeper.com  |  Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper

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