Why I’m Writing One Letter A Day to Thank 365 People

Today, I’d like to announce a new project that I’ve been working on and keeping a secret for over a month now. It’s called “365 Letters of Gratitude.”

The concept is simple: every day, I spend a few minutes writing a letter to a different person whom I’m grateful to have in my life. Usually it’s just a few paragraphs detailing why these people mean so much to me and the ways they’ve affected my life, large or small.

It’s been hard, but I’ve kept it going for 45 days now. And I’m so grateful that I’ve done that, too. While reminiscing, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (a lot), and mostly just been really happy for everyone in 26 years of life.

Here’s more on the project.

Why am I doing this?

There are a few reasons why I created this project:

  • I wanted to be and feel more grateful. In the past, despite always feeling like I live an awesome life, I’ve felt like I’ve wanted or expected more from life. This is my way of calling “bullshit” on myself since it makes me think every day about who and what I’m glad to have in my life.
  • I’m terrible at expressing my thanks to others. There’s a lot of times I’ve wished I could say something to someone in person, but I just never find the right words to say it. By writing a letter, I can put my true feelings out there. So far, it’s worked as I haven’t really been afraid to say anything in letters I’ve written.
  • I wanted to do something challenging yet fun and rewarding for every day for a year. Truth be told, I just thought this would be an interesting project to take on for a bunch of reasons. I’ve already wondered if I could do it every single day (and I have, for 45 days and counting). I’ve also thought: How am I really going to come up 365 people? That’s definitely going to be a creative challenge to tackle. For now, I just wanted to get started and concentrate on taking it a day at a time rather than getting overwhelmed with the details.

Where’d the idea come from?

In September, I caught a talk by Noah Scalin who created the skull-a-day project. He challenged everyone listening to be creative and make something new every day. If you know me, you’ll know I’m much better with words than I am visual art, so 365 Letters of Gratitude was born the next day after hearing Noah’s idea.

What you can do

Just like Noah challenged me, I’d like to challenge all of you to do something like this. It can be really simple and take just a few minutes, but the idea is to do it every single day. Some of the other crazy ideas out there:

If you don’t want to commit to a full year, try doing something for just a month. See how it makes you feel, and maybe you’ll find you enjoy it enough to keep going for another 31 days.

This has been an amazing experience for me so far, and I truly believe I am more grateful and happy with life now. I know I have a long way yet until I’m done, but I’m loving the journey to get there.

If you’re curious about my project, you can read all the letters on 365 Letters of Gratitude. You can read more about why I’m doing this and some of the FAQs by checking out this page, too.

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Comments

  1. Wow, I love this. It’s so easy to write a note of thanks to someone who’s made an impact on your life, and yet… I rarely do this.
     
    I’ve also been procrastinating on making any new art lately. This would be a great kick in the pants to just create one simple, easy new thing every day!

    • @The Empowered Dollar I agree – so easy and rewarding, yet we don’t do it enough. You should definitely do it with your art – this definitely does wonders for creativity, too!

  2. This is amazing and some really inspiring stuff! I’ve been neglecting my art (drawing and sketching) for a while now, but this could be the perfect reason to pick it back up again. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day – after 365 days, it can really  add up to something great. Thanks for sharing this personal project. Love it!

  3. Great idea, love it!

  4. frugalportland says:

    I love this — are you mailing them too?

  5. FrugalBeautiful says:

    You’re a rockstar and a total inspiration…. loved this post especially on election day that’s typically full of animosity and contention it’s nice to see something full of gratitude!

  6. This is a wonderful project, Jeffrey. Not only a blessing to you, but to 365 people who don’t get physical letters anymore. As someone who’s fallen into this writing thing, I like the idea of a project like this to get me to use my new skill for something like this.

    • @Philip Taylor Thanks, Phil, and that was definitely my thought, too. I’m not a great artist by any means, and writing is the most creative thing I do, so why not use that?

  7. DorethiaConnerII says:

    I love it Jeffrey…. how wonderful of you to number one, take a moment to acknowledge that there are people in your life who you NEED to thank and then take action on it. You are an inspiration!

  8. I love this concept!  I had a workshop from a lady once who did this.  I think she tried to do even more than one a day, though most of hers were short.  She kept her glove box stocked with cards.  I’ve never forgotten it, though never lived up to it!  When you start to run out of ideas, think of everyone you interact with – the coffee shop clerk, the librarian, the person at the gas station, the bank teller, etc etc :-)

  9. I like this concept unfortunately i do not know 365 people to,  its a wrap at 10.

  10. I like the concept, i just dont know 365 people, it’s a wrap for me once i reach 10.

  11. Funancials says:

    Very cool idea. I surprisingly have read more stories recently of people doing “good” rather than doing “bad.” It restores my faith in humanity.

  12. This is such a great thing! I will definitely join in an attempt some type of task like this. The responses will be so positive and what a great way to do something positive in our world!

  13. Great idea! I’m wondering if I have 365 people in my life who I can thank. 2 months worth of people…Sure.

  14. Good luck with your project!  It was nice to read about, and I’m sure the recipients of your thank yous appreciate being acknowledged.

  15. PlungedinDebt says:

    What a cool idea! I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind of having a thankful jar in our home where every time your thankful for something you write it down, fold it up and put it in the jar then read them all together at the end of the year together.

  16. Lovely idea, I will do it once I have 365 people close to me that I’m grateful to!

  17. I don’t think I even know 30 people but I like the idea.

  18. blairilliano says:

    Great idea, Jeffrey. It”l certainly make someone’s day when they receive a letter of gratitude. Quick question- when you say you’re writing the letters, do you mean you’re hand writing them or just emailing them?

    • blairilliano Thanks! No I’m not actually writing them out for one main reason: my handwriting is so bad it’s basically illegible. Plus it would just take too much time to both type and write. While I realize it would be neat to hand write them, I was/am all about giving this project as few barriers as possible.

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