Throughout the months of March and April, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is sponsoring “A Million Moments of Timeless Pleasure,” a promotion in which they’ll hand out a million chocolate squares throughout the United States. Those who receive a chocolate sample are invited to submit a description of where they were and what they were doing when they had their “chocolate moment.” (And no, Ghirardelli is not paying me to write about their promotion – this is just a sweet little something about which I thought you’d want to be in the know.)

All chocolate deliciousness aside, this campaign resonates with something I’ve felt for a long time – that every moment truly is special and we just need to recognize that about each moment, regardless of whether we have chocolate in-hand or if it’s just an ordinary workday. So how to acknowledge that every moment is special, even at those times when things seem a little hum-drum? Perhaps one, some, or all of the following ideas will resonate with you:

1. Keep a daily gratitude list. A dear friend taught me this, and I will forever be grateful to her for her example. Gratitude lists encourage us to seek out the good wherever we are. There is nothing that’s too big or too small to put on this list. The list should reflect anything that’s good in your daily experience – from the flower buds along a roadway, to a courteous driver on your commute, to a joke shared by a colleague, to a project finished on-time and under-budget, to the fact that you’re alive and able to work, laugh, and love. All of these things are cause for gratitude.

2. Be present in each moment. Rather than thinking about the past or worrying – or thinking about – the future, be in the now. Focus on what’s happening right this moment. Sometimes to achieve this goal, it may be helpful to turn off the PDA or cell phone, Ipod, etc. and just revel in the stillness and quiet of the here and now.

3. Express joy and gratitude to those around you. This could come in the form of writing a thank you note or calling a friend and expressing appreciation for them or it could simply be sharing a smile with a stranger walking down the street or being courteous to the bank teller, the librarian at the reference desk, or the receptionist at your lawyer’s office. Making someone else’s day often uplifts your own thought.

4. While doing chores or routine things around the house, recognize the great qualities being expressed.  For example, instead of grumbling about having to clean the bathroom, take time to think about the qualities of cleanliness, order, and grace that you’re expressing as you make your bathroom sparkle. When faced with a mountain of your family’s laundry, take the time to acknowledge the qualities of love, home, and care that you’re expressing while folding all those tee-shirts. This approach may seem Polly-Anna-ish to some, but it’s striking how understanding these qualities can entirely squelch those “blah” feelings of apathy and a case of the grumbles.

5. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones family. Live your life based on your sense of principles, values, order, and organizational bliss. It doesn’t matter how your cousin or your neighbor or your friend are choosing to live their lives. Your focus should be on living up to your highest sense, in every activity that you do. Making the most of each moment means living it to the fullest, based on your understanding of what’s good and the principles and values that you hold near and dear.

If you feel so inclined, purchase an attractive notebook in which to write your daily gratitude lists. Make a point of writing a fresh list every day – weekends and vacations included. Some lists will be longer than others, but all will express gratitude. One year from today, go through that notebook and take some time to recognize the tremendous good and the wonderful moments in your daily experiences. I suspect you’ll be grateful that you did.

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