1. Thank yourself for saying “no.” Think of one time you said “no” when every part of you wanted to say “yes.” Give yourself credit for not going back to some guy who treated you like less than you are, or for standing up for yourself when someone wanted you to just sit silently.
2. Thank yourself for trying to work toward goals, even if you didn’t meet them. Progress is something we rarely commend ourselves for, but it deserves to be acknowledged. We should pat ourselves on the back for trying to get into better shape, even if we didn’t hit our goal BMI.
3. Thank yourself for asking for a raise. If you worked hard this year, and did your job and then some, then it’s likely you had a leg to stand on when you asked for more money. If your boss said “no,” or gave you some vague timeline of when you might get more money, that’s a shame, but still. You asked, when you could’ve shrunk back into the corner and talked yourself out of it.
4. Thank yourself for all the times you questioned your own judgement. Maybe you made the shitty choice, maybe you made the right one, but regardless, stop giving yourself shit for overthinking. Realize that you hemming and hawing over decisions just means you care deeply, and we need more people like that.
5. Thank yourself if you asked for help this year. Whether you went to therapy for the first time, or you just needed to turn to the person sitting next to you to ask how to get onto the coffee shop wifi.
6. Thank yourself for trying a new food, because if this was the year you discovered Korean BBQ, or realized that oysters are amazing, good for you.
7. Thank yourself for every time you stuck it out on public transportation instead of taking a pricey cab. Your bank account sends its love and appreciation.
8. Thank yourself if you made amends with a family member this year, or made a sincere effort to tolerate the Republican uncle you can’t stand. Your family appreciates the efforts you made so that youcan all gather and eat a meal without anyone pulling a Harry-Potter-Aunt-Marge-type showdown.
9. Thank yourself for all the charitable things you did this year. While donating your clothes to goodwill, or doing a service project around the holidays, might just seem like second nature, many people don’t follow through with their yearly service goals. Driving your clothes a few miles to put it in a distribution bin might not feel like much, but as long as those clothes aren’t still sitting in your attic, it’s a job well done.
10. Be thankful you learned something new about yourself. This doesn’t have to be the year you realized that your deep-seated introverted or extroverted tendencies can be traced back to a conversation you had with your mother’s first cousin once removed, when you were 12. Maybe it was the year you learned you like vodka martinis better than gin.
11. Thank yourself for surrounding yourself by good people. Of course you should be appreciative of your friends for putting up with you, but it’s also your judgement that brought them into your life, and your friendship that kept them in your life.
12. Thank yourself for exercising good judgement. For keeping yourself safe. For taking a ride when you’d been drinking, looking both ways when you cross the street, and going to the doctor.
13. Thank yourself for getting yours. Getting new clients, telling someone you like them, taking yourself out to dinner. It doesn’t matter if the person didn’t like you back, or you spent the entire meal with your nose in a book because you were awkward as hell about eating in a restaurant by yourself. If you said, “yes” to something that improved you in any way, you’re on the right track. You’d be surprised by how many people sabotage themselves by never following through.
14. Thank yourself for calling your grandparents. If you didn’t call your grandparents, the year isn’t over yet.
15. Thank yourself for any ounce of organization you worked into your life this year. Maybe you didn’t schedule out your days the night before, like you were supposed to, but if you texted an occasional reminder to yourself, that probably still helped.
16. Thank yourself for buying a comfy-ass outfit that you deserved. Sweat pants — not the sexy kind, the fleece kind. Knee socks. Leg warmers you refuse to tell people about because you’re embarrassed to admit that they make you feel like the girl from Flashdance.
17. Thank yourself for the moments when you chose not to look at your phone when it buzzed. Go you.
18. Remember a time this year when you chose to do something that would improve someone else’s life, but not change yours at all. Be glad you did.
19. Thankful yourself for finally buying that one thing you’d been putting off but have needed all year. Sometimes happiness is as simple as finally getting a spice rack so that you don’t have turmeric stains all over your white counter.
20. Thank yourself for one thing you put together (all by yourself) without asking for help. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than the one that comes with successfully following the archaic, nonsensical instructions that come with a department store fan. Did you DIY something this year? Be glad — not because it was trendy, involved a mason jar, or saved you money, though those are great — but because it shows that you can sit down and do something, and have a finished product to admire.
21. Thank yourself for the little things that aren’t on this list. The things only you know, and no one else noticed. Don’t wait for someone else to acknowledge all the good you did this year.