Dear Coco

I love the idea of gathering around a table and sharing a meal with family and friends. I especially like the idea of gratitude being the focus of the day. That’s why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Yet, I find that Thanksgiving can be a challenging time for many.

Some of us have loved ones who have passed away, or family members who can’t join us this year, or we have a complicated relationship with one of our relatives we don’t particularly want to see.

And it doesn’t help that we can feel burdened by our own or our family’s expectations to have the “Perfect Thanksgiving.”

All of the “should’s” or the “have to’s” begin to surface, which can make it really hard to practice gratitude.

So, I’d like to suggest a simple way to free yourself from those burdensome words. It will help you develop an “attitude of gratitude” all year round and it won’t cost you a thing!

The only requirement is to change the words you use. Substitute the word want for should and get for have.

Instead of saying “I should,” try saying “I want to.

For example: “I should stop arguing with Uncle Dave” vs. “I want to stop arguing with Uncle Dave.”

And instead of saying “I have to” try saying “I get to.

For example: ‘I have to bring a dessert.” vs. “I get to bring a dessert.”

Just changing ONE WORD can change your perspective, your energy, and your emotions.

Saying “I want to” expresses desire and motivation.

Saying “I get to” expresses opportunity and privilege.

Both of these expressions turn negatives into positives and burdens into choice. They put us in control of our decisions and of our emotions. When we use get to and want to more often, we will feel happier, more at ease, and more able to identify the many things we can be thankful for.

I encourage you to try it for a day, or two, or three. Then, let me know what changes you see.

Because life is too short to live in the land of the “should’s” or the “have to’s.” Doing something as simple as changing your words can bring about an “attitude of gratitude” that carries with it great physical, spiritual, and emotional benefits.

Wishing you a Wonderful Thanksgiving—however you celebrate it and with whomever you get to spend it with : )





For more encouragement on practicing an “attitude of gratitude,” here’s an article on scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:



Coco Stanback
Heart 4 Kids Coaching
145 West Main Street
Suite 230
Tustin, California 92780
United States of America