30 days of Thanks Challenge – Adulting Version + Free Printable

Looking for thankful challenge ideas? Then you’ve come to the right place. Nowadays with all of the world events, pandemics, and storms, and unknowns, having gratitude may seem impossible. What can we find to be thankful for in a world that seems to have depressing headline after depressing headline?

Well, I certainly feel your pain, and I understand the struggle. But I’m also here to tell you that being thankful and practiciing gratitude is the right response. In the times where we feel like circumstances are at their worst, gratitude encourages us and reminds us of the blessings we do have. It’s all about perspectives, and that’s the goal of this 30 days of thanks challenge. To shift your perspective and help you build a gratitude habit in 30 days.

Thank You card with a flower bouquet

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What is a gratitude challenge?

Before committing to the 30 days of thanks challenge, here’s a quick definition.

A gratitude challenge is a commitment to practice gratitude and be intentional about thankfulness for a specified period of time.

The purpose of a gratitude challenge is to shift your focus from lack to thanks. Instead of concentrating on what we don’t have or what we want, we can intentionally ponder what we do have and show appreciation to God for those blessings.

How do you express gratitude everyday?

Gratitude is first and foremost a position of the heart. It’s something we experience in our heart and ponder in our thoughts before it can become a word on our tongue or action on our lips. Once it’s on our hearts and in our mind, we can express gratitude in the things we say and do. Even better, gratitude will come out naturally in our lives.

Have you ever thought about whether your words express gratitude? For example, imagine you’re heading to work and it starts raining while you’re on the freeway. Do you gripe and grumble about the weather and how it’s ruining your commute? Or do you thank God that you have a car to keep you dry and warm on your way to work?

Now let’s consider our actions In the same situation, how could you act with gratitude? You could turn down the radio and take a moment to pray for the homeless, that they are able to find shelter and stay dry during the downpour. Perhaps you can also think about ways to use your vehicle to serve others and share God’s love with them.

Gratitude is more than a feeling; it’s action in our lives and words in our mouth.

Is it better to express gratitude in the morning or evening?

We have countless opportunities in a day to express gratitude. It’s only a matter of looking out for those moments and catching them before they pass by. If you’re not good at that, don’t worry! Neither am I, and this 30 days of thanks challenge is here to help.

For these gratitude challenge ideas, I encourage you to practice gratitude in the morning and the evening as both have benefits, and the consistency will help you shift your perspective. By expressing gratitude in the morning, you are giving your brain a framework to follow throughout the day.

You’re making the intention to practice gratitude throughout
the day and preparing your mind to start thinking with a thankful attitude.

On the flip side, expressing graitude in the evening helps relax your mind. It can counter any worry or anxiety about the events of the day or what’s to come the next day by training your mind to focus on how God has blessed you and that God is still in control. Instead of letting circumstances rule your mind, you’re challenged to focus back on God and his promises to provide for you.

What does the Bible say about gratitude?

Speaking of God’s promises to provide, we can’t talk about gratitude without mention of the source of our blessings and the receiver of our gratitude–God, our Heavenly Father. The Bible is full of verses that urge us to give thanks to God and express gratitude for our many blessings. We are even challenged in stories with Job, Joseph, Ruth, and many more to give thanks to God even in hard circumstances.

As you embark on this 30 days of thanks challenge, here are some Bible verses to remind you to give thanks:

  • Psalm 100:4 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (ESV)
  • Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
  • Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
  • Ephesians 5:4 – “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk
    nor crude joking, which are out of place,
    but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
  • Colossians 4:2 – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:3 – “We ought always to give thanks to God for you,
    brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly,
    and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”

In summary, God tells us to be thankful and express gratitude to him. He is worthy of our praise, not only because of how he provides for us, but also because of his character, his love for us, and his grace that wiped away our sin.

Related: How to Bloom Where God Plants You with Grace

Expanding the Novemeber Thankful Challenge

Given what the Bible has to say about thanksigiving, it’s evident that thanksgiving is a part of the Christian life. It’s not a once a year occassion where we gather with family and friends and do a loop around the room to share what we’re thankful for just before we dive into a Thanksgiving meal.

Thansgiving traditions are special, and I’m certainly thankful for them, as they remind us when we have forgotten to be grateful. However, God wants our thankful attitude to appear more than once a year. In Philippians 4:4, Paul writes:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

So as we embark on this journey and 30 days of thanks challenge, I encourage you to take these thankful challenge ideas and carry them with you after Novemmber ends. Do 100 days of grattiude. Then do it again and again. Every day is another day to give thanks.

Thankful Ideas for the 30 Days of Thanks Challenge

Now that you have the right attitude for gratitiude, it’s time to dive into our 30 days of thanks challenge, the adulting version. Since Kara J Lovett Co. is all about navigating the adulting struggle, I thought this thankful challenge would be the perfect opportunity to take the worries of adulting life and replace them with gratitude. When it comes to adulting, I always feel like I have to do everything perfectly, and I get frustrated when things are out of my control.

But being an adult does not protect us from the world’s uncertainty. In fact, it exposes us to more of the world’s uncertainty. What’s a young woman to do except turn to God and thank Him for still being in control?

For those times where we forget and let the world overwhelm us, this 30 day thankful challenge list will give us hope.

How do you do the gratitude challenge?

While the 30 days of thanks challenge can be done in different ways, here are a couple of suggestions on how you can complete the challenge.

  1. Start a Gratitude Journal – Every day, write down the graitude challenge for the day and journal your thoughts about it.
  2. Dedicated Prayer Time – Our thanksgiving should be expressed to God our provider. So set aside time daily, such as in the morning or evening to spend time in prayer. Thank God in your prayer for the thankful challnege item.
  3. Do the Challenge with a Friend – Accountability is a great way to encourage you to complete the thankful challenge. Whether you plan to call a friend or text them daily, you can share what you were thankful for that day and how it impacted your day.
  4. Speak it and Do it – This option for the challenge is probably the hardest, but also very rewarding. As you think about the gratitude challenge ideas, brainstorm ways that you can speak and act in a way that expresses that gratitude.

Now that you know how you’re going to do the 30 days of thanks challenge, the only thing left to do is start.

a desk with colored paper and flowers

The Basics – Days of Thanks: 1-5

  • 1 – Shelter – Apartment, House, Condo, duplex, triplex. Give thanks for a roof over your head.
  • 2 – Job – Whether you like the job or not, you have a salary and a way to pay the bills. As an extra challenge, try to think of the things that you like about your job, no matter how small or trivial.
  • 3 – Food / Nourishment – If you’ve never gone hungry, then that is a blessing. Thank God for the blessings of food and nourishment for our body. Be thankful that it gives you energy to adult, work, live, and play.
  • 4 – Safety – We will never truly know the threat of danger around us. But we can be thankful that in this moment, we are safe. We don’t know what will happen ten minutes from now, but we are safe now.
  • 5 – Family – Thank your parents for never giving up on you. Thank your siblings for loving you even when they didn’t like you. How have they helped you, encouraged you, and made life richer? If your family is the root of some personal pain, how has God filled that sense of belonging for you?

God – Days of Thanks: 6-10

  • 6 – God’s Character – Strong. Powerful. Faithful. Merciful. Generous. Incredibly Loving. Make a list of God’s characteristics and think about how he demonstrates those characteristics in your life. Memorize a verse or two to help you medidate on his character.
  • 7 – Salvation through Grace – Express gratitude for the fact that we are saved by grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor, which none of us deserve because of our sin (failure to honor God
    with our actions). Still, God chose to save us anyway through Jesus. Praise God!
  • 8 – God, Jesus, Holy Spirit – Pick a member of the trinity and express why you are thankful for him. For example, are you thankful for the comfort of the Holy Spirit today?
  • 9 – Freedom to Gather and Worship – Depending on where you are in the world, you may or may not have this freedom. Either way, it’s not something to take for granted. Thank God that we can gather or worship Him, whether in a church building or silently in our hearts.
  • 10 – Freedom of Speech and Religion – This is another one that doesn’t apply to everyone in the world. We should never forget the persucted Christians who can’t worship in public or fear for their lives because of their belief in Jesus. As we’re thankful on Day 10, we should also pray for the persucuted church.

Related: 30+ Verses about God’s Love

People: Days of Thanks: 11-15

  • 11 – Colleagues – Maybe your job is awful right now. Are there any colleagues that make your day better? Does someone always say Good Morning? Has someone surprised you with a coffee at your desk?
  • 12 – Mentor or Boss – Throughout my internships in college, I had a lot of great bosses and some poor ones, too. Now, I know having a great manager is something to rejoice over. If that’s not you right now, perhaps there’s a great mentor in the workplace for whom you can be grateful.
  • 13 – A Loving Friend – The first person that came to mind when you read this is who you should be grateful for. The person who through thick and thin stuck by your side and supported you.
  • 14 – Who You Go to Advice For – This may be your parents, sibling, mentor or someone else from above. Perhaps it’ss a spiritual mentor, a trusting friend, or an extended relative. Whoever your go-to for godly, wise counsel, thank the Lord for them.
  • 15 – A Relationship that taught you something – Not all relationships are peaches and rainbows all the time. But they often teach us something. For examplem though my first romantic relationship eventually ended, it taught me a lot about communication and my aspirations for the future.

Objects: Days of Thanks: 16-20

  • 16 – Something in Your Kitchen or Living Room – For me, it’s my dishwasher. After 4 years without one in college, now it’s changed my life!
  • 17 – Something in Your Bedroom or Bathroom – Think simple but specific. Like, hot water in your shower.
  • 18 – An Appliance You Couldn’t Live Without – Ex: My coffee maker
  • 19 – Technology You Appreciate – Electricity, Plumbing, Ceiling Fans? Think outside the box on this one.
  • 20 – A Book that Taught You Something – Whether you read it last week, a year ago, or when you were 8, what did you enjoy about it? What impression does it leave on you?

City: Days of Thanks: 21-25

  • 21 – First Responders / Healthcare Workers – For their calmness under pressure, for their dedication to prevention and saving lives, to their desire to serve others.
  • 22 – Police / Fire Fighters / Judges / City Workers — You may not notice or interact daily with these people, but they have an important role in keeping you safe and caring for your city and country.
  • 23 – Men and Women in the Army / Protection – In some countries, the military is a force that is against the citizens. We should pray for peace in those countries and that god would protect the innocent. We can also pray for the men and women in the army and their families while thanking God for their sacrifice so we can live in freedom.
  • 24 – Your Vehicle / Transportation – However you get around, thank God for your mobility and freedom to move freely. Pray for those who are less fortunate.
  • 25 – Nature – Sunshine, Clouds, Beaches, Lakes, Mountains. Wherever your happy place in nature, thank God that he creaed it for you to enjoy.

The Hardest Days of Thanks: 25-30

  • 26 – Challenges – What’s currently challenging you in your spiritual, personal, or work life? How is it helping you grow? For example a challenge at work may encourage you to develop new skills.
  • 27 – A Moment of Pain – Look back on trying times or hard circumstances, and reflect on th good that came out of it. In Romans 8:28, God promises to work all things out for our good. Do you believe that? In the moments of pain, it’s hard to, but looking back, I can often see God’s handiwork during that period of my life.
  • 28 – A Mistake – What we think is a mistake may actually be a blessing. It could reveal something to us, teach us something, or protect us from greater harm.
  • 29 – A Hard Lesson Learned – Whether from a costly mistake, pain of a relationship, or something else,
    we all have learned some lessons the hard way. What did that experience teach us?
  • 30 – COVID and the pandemic – I went back and forth about whether or not to include this one as it feels a bit cliche. I also don’t want to downplay the havoc that COVID has wreaked in our world or the hurt it’s causedto us and the ones we love. However, I can’t ignore that ways God has used COVID to bring families together, to save relationships, to redirect our focus, and to give the chruch a wake up call. There are so many ways the pandemic has shifted our priorities in a good way. For me, it taught my company about how to be more understanding of family emergencies and supportive of a maintaining a good work life balance. What are you thankful for because of the pandemic?

Wrapping Up the 30 Day Thankful Challenge List

I wasn’t lying when I said these last five were the hardest. But from day 1 to day 30, these grateful challenge ideas will encourage you to be thankful, for the big things and the little things. When I look back on this list, I realize just how much I have to be grateful for. Comparing myself to others and listening to the world’s messages about materialism will steal my joy.

But gratitude leads to joy.

Kara J Lovett Co.

Download the 30 days of Gratitude List

In case you need to take this list on the go or prefer printing it out for reference, I’ve compiled this 30 days of thanks challenge into a free printable. This way, you can refer to it as you do this thankful challenge now and in the future.

Mockup of Pages in 30 days of thanks challenge list

Gratitude Challenge 2021

As adults, it’s easy to spend so much time worrying about what we can’t control that we let our circumstances steal our joy. I’ll be the first to admit that this has happened to me. But I can also tell you this.

God wants us to choose thanksgiving and respond to each and every situation by turning to Him.

Whenever you need a boost of gratitude for your attitude, a day of thanks is yours for the taking. So, whether you commit to the 30 days of thanks challenge in Novemeber, fall, or another time of the year, I hope it helps you shift your perspective and above all, be thankful!

What are some other graitude activities you can do?

Leave me a comment below!

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