From where I (and many other people) stand, 2021 was an all-out sprint compared to the marathon that was 2020. I honestly can’t believe that it is already November, and for this writer, I can’t even begin to put into context these past 11 months.

With that said, this is the exact time of year where I tend to do most of my reflecting and introspection on the year that was. After all, right before the holidays really kick in is the perfect time to put on some relaxing music on your Spotify or Pandora playlist, take a deep breath, and then take a deep dive into the year that was.

The thing that makes 2021 so unique is that this year was the aftermath of the most unprecedented (if not cataclysmic) year of our collective lives. Whether you own a business or work on the front lines or something in between, we all, in some ways, needed to pick up the pieces, collect ourselves, and move forward.

And, well, that’s what we did or at least tried to do.

geralt / Pixabay

So, then, how do we say thank you in 2021? Well, personally, here is what I do:

1. Write down a list of all of the people who have made a positive difference your personal or professional life. You’d be surprised to see that if you just think back to the different snapshots of this year, your list will contain some unexpected names, or even people whose names you might not know.

For example, I think about the person at 7-Eleven who rings me up each morning who says hello, cracks a joke, and starts my day off right. Those interactions are always pleasant, and I am thankful for the 100 or so times that has happened in 2021.

2. Go through the people on your list and think about appropriate ways to say thank you. Whether it’s a longtime personal friend, a new business client or colleague, or that person from 7-Eleven, you should take your list and brainstorm the different ways you can thank them. It could be as simple as having a conversation and letting them know you appreciate them, or perhaps you decide to send a thank you card along with a gift card or a personalized gift.

3. Be authentic and show empathy year-round. You don’t always have to wait until Thanksgiving or the holidays to say thank you, especially after a year like this one. During the course of this year, I’ve tried to make it a point to tell people how genuinely appreciative I am of the ways they have helped me. At the same time, I’m sure there might of been some things I missed along the way.

Therefore, since now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on your actions, ask yourself, “Did I do enough to say thank you this year?” Then, go back to your list, think about that question, and answer it honestly. Chances are you will have a little bit of ground to make up, and now is the time to do just that.

Ultimately, saying thank you (and meaning it) is one simple yet powerful thing you can do to really pay it forward to the people who inspired you in 2021.

You never know, it just might lead to positive vibes being shared all around, and we should all be thankful for that.