304: The Gift of Being FULLY Present – Part 3 – The Christmas Carol Method to Gratitude

The Christmas Carol Method to Gratitude- Mitch Matthews

304: The Gift of Being FULLY Present – Part 3 – The Christmas Carol Method to Gratitude

Welcome to part 3 in our series called “The gift of being fully present.”  It’s specifically designed to help you to live more fully in the PRESENT… especially during this wildly important time of year… AND… amid… one of the wildest years of all time. 

And whether you’ve caught the first two in the series or not… I think you’ll be glad you’re catching this one!  Oh… and I’ll warn you… we’re going to have some fun… but we’re going to be getting real… and raw… with this one… but I think that’s CRITICAL… as we’re getting you real-world strategies that work!

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Sample “Past” Questions:

  • Who are a few people from your past that you’re grateful for?
  • What’s an experience from your past that you’re grateful for?
  • What’s an experience from your past that… at first… you thought was really bad, but it eventually turned into something that helped you?
  • What’s an experience from your past that you now laugh about?

Sample “Present” Questions:

  • What’s something you could be grateful for right now?
  • What’s something (big or small) from this season of your life that makes you smile?
  • What’s something you’re grateful for… today?

Sample “Future” Questions:

  • What’s something small but significant that you’re looking forward to?
  • What’s something that you’re really looking forward to doing in 2021?
  • What’s something (big or small) you’re looking forward to over the holidays… even in 2020?

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 Welcome to part three!
  • 2:04 Episode starts
  • 2:31 The Christmas Carol Method
  • 4:37 Lessons from Ebenezer
  • 6:45 What do you do when you are hurting?
  • 7:30 Episode 300 woes
  • 9:56 How Mitch used the Christmas Carol Method
  • 12:48 What is coming up next week
  • 14:56 How Mitch’s family used the Christmas Carol Method


So… we’ve been talking strategies… and in many cases… we’ve been asking ourselves some simple but powerful questions… to help us to LIVE in the moment… more often… so we don’t miss out on the “good stuff” in life.

This brings us to today’s strategy and it’s something I’m calling “The Christmas Carol Method.”

It’s something to help us stir up joy and gratitude in the here and now.


So… if you’ve been a student of being fully present… and trying to live in the moment more often… you’ve heard about the power of gratitude.  

Plus, in the past, we’ve talked about how gratitude can help the brain to release things like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.  Basically, these things are your body’s natural antidepressants… and your body’s “feel good” hormones… which makes it MUCH easier to feel a sense of peace… and it makes it easier to FOCUS too.

Plus, it’s just good to walk around with more of a sense of gratitude.  

So… obviously… tapping into gratitude is a core tool to helping us live a better life and to live in the moment more often too!  

BUT… you might be asking, 

“BUT… how do we get there?  

And I mean… seriously… in a year like THIS?”

That IS a good question.

Enter… the “Christmas Carol Method.”


Okay… so you remember Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol.  We’ve got our Ebenezer Scrooge who’s living the bah-hum-bug life and goes around being grumpy all the time.

Well… then he gets visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and then of Christmas Future… and they whack him the gratitude stick and help him right his ways… to reveal one of the best Christmas Goose stories of all time.

Seriously… if you’ve ever watched one of the various versions of the movie… whether it’s the one with live-action one with Patrick Stewart… or the animated one with Jim Carrey… or the Muppets version with Sir Michael Caine or even “Scrooged” with Bill Murray… the pay off is when Scrooge comes to his senses and chooses to live in the present…

He chooses to be generous… and he chooses to be grateful for what he has.  AND he lives in a freedom that has been eluding him his whole life.  It’s awesome.  And sooooooo powerful!  Yeah… I love that story.

The reason why we need it… is because one of the central ways that people suggest moving into gratitude is broken.  It can be flawed.  Especially for a year like 2020.  What am I talking about?

Well… if you look at most content written about stirring up gratitude… you will find that the person recommends asking yourself the question, 

What can you be grateful for… right now?”

Now… that IS a good question to ask.  And the person suggesting it is probably wanting you to think of something BIG or small… elaborate or simple… to help you feel grateful… in this very moment.

And THAT is a good thing.  In fact, I agree with it… in most cases.

BUT… what about those times when you’re up against it?  What about those times when you’ve been punched in the gut… and you’re hurting?

I can tell you… if you’re there… and someone tells you to stir up some gratitude by asking WHAT CAN YOU BE GRATEFUL FOR IN THIS MOMENT???”  

I know my response might be, “I’m grateful I’ve got TWO middle fingers to flip you off with!”

Ha!  Sorry… but it’s true.  Right?

Here’s some of that #realtalk I was promising.  

May I share a story with you from MY life to illustrate this point? 

Well… a few weeks ago… and I can tell you EXACTLY which week it was because it was the week that episode 300 came out.

That was a major milestone for me.  5+ years of podcasting.  Connecting with you guys.  Growing a community of DREAM THINK DOers around the globe.  And I was ready to celebrate!

Well… THAT week… we had an issue with some tech that helps to support the podcast.  I won’t go into the details… but the short version of the story is… on THAT week… the very week we were set to celebrate 300 episodes… well… that tech broke. 

And… as a result… we lost 80% of our subscribers.

Gonzo.  Gone.  On alllllll platforms. Just gone.

Now… we went to work to correct things and we were assured things would be corrected… but it might take a month… and when we pushed them… they admitted to saying there was a risk that the subscribers… might never come back.

Yeah… that would have been really tough news ANY week… but that it hit THAT week made it especially tough.

So… let’s be real.  

I was trying to find ways to stay inspired… to stay on track… to keep it together… And I’ll tell you… that if someone would have come at me with a “What are you grateful for RIGHT NOW???”  I would have lost it on them.


I’m sorry… but I would have.  

And heck… I even tried it.  I had gotten hit hard… so knew I needed to get my head on straight.  I needed to get it back together.  But I just couldn’t muster an answer to the “What could I be grateful for in this moment?”

So… I leaned on this “Christmas Carol Method.”

I asked myself, “What’s something I could be grateful for from the past?”

As I asked that… I got hit with some good memories.  

Gradually… not immediately… but gradually they started to come.   And some of those even helped me to remember sometimes when we’d been hit before… and the getting back up wound up working… and in some cases… wound up being pretty rich experiences.

And as you can imagine… those memories… helped me to remember that God loves me… and that I’m never alone. 

They helped me to remember my family and friends… people who came alongside me in the past.

It helped me to remember times when we’d gotten hit… and we got back up!  And heck… sometimes those set backs wound up being set ups for some of the biggest breakthroughs!

You know what I’m talking about.

I needed that.

So yeah… if asking yourself the “What could I be grateful for right now” question is just too hard… too tender.  Try using the “Christmas Carol Method” to go back to the past to muster up some gratitude there first.

I will say that once I did that… well it took a few sessions… but… once I did that… it was a lot easier to find some simple things to be grateful for in the moment.

Which also helped me to feel a little better about my future too.

Which… BY THE WAY… can be the last step with the Christmas Carol Method… and that’s to ask yourself the question, 

“What are a few things I’m looking forward to in the future?” 

BUT… hey… one of the things we’ll be talking about NEXT WEEK as we wrap up our 4 part series… is the POWER OF ANTICIPATION.

So… we won’t get into A LOT of thinking about the future… right now.

BUT… trust me, there’s a LOT of power in “intentional anticipation.”

But know… a strategy around asking some powerful questions about the future can really help too.

So… can you see why we call it the “Christmas Carol Method?”

We’re pulling in memories from the past, gratitude in the present and anticipation in the future… to help you to be MORE in the moment… right now.

Make sense?

Now… two quick follow up stories.

One… It’s been almost 4 weeks since episode 300 and our kick in the ol’ crotch of losing all those subscribers.  It was humbling and tough… BUT these strategies… some prayer… my family… my team… AND YOU GUYS got me through it… and I’m VERY happy to announce that things are fixed and our subscribers are back!!!  In fact… we had our second biggest download day in a year at the end of last week!  

And I can tell you that I don’t wish that experience on ANYONE… but I’m soooooooo much more grateful for every one of you… now!!!

Speaking of that… if you haven’t subscribed… please do!!!  We’d LOVE to have you… and I’ll be even more grateful for you… than I’ve ever been!!!

Two… as I was prepping for this episode… I realized that using the Christmas Carol Method has been something I’ve been doing… but I hadn’t really shared it with my family.  

So… just for fun… I asked them if they’d be open to experimenting with me… and being DREAM THINK DO guinea pigs… AGAIN.  (I always test stuff out on my family…  Hey… anything to help YOU guys.  HA!)  But I walked them through the concept…

  • The power of gratitude and finding things to be grateful for each day
  • The realization that some days are just harder than others… so it may not be realistic… or even helpful… to try to find something to be grateful for at THIS moment… but to tip the hat to the past and to think of memories to be grateful for could help.
  • THEN to think of something they’re grateful for and maybe… just maybe… have something to look forward to (big or small).

Well… we did it last night after putting up some Christmas decorations.  

Boxes were everywhere.  Ornament packaging was all over.  Old newspaper from protecting stuff was strewn all over the place… but we sat and talked.

Stories of old Christmases… favorite teachers who got us through tough times… tough experiences that made us tougher.

Now… it wasn’t as perfect as one of those Hallmark Christmas movies… but it was pretty darn close and I can say… it’ll be one of my favorite memories of 2020.

So, I wanted to encourage you to try out the Christmas Carol Method yourself… and invite someone else to do it with you.

Just see where it takes you!

And also… stay tuned for our 4th segment of this series next week!  Like I said… we’re going to be diving into the concept of INTENTIONAL ANTICIPATION and having some fun with exploring how LOOKING FORWARD in the right way… can help us LIVE IN THE MOMENT more too!

So… hit subscribe… so you don’t miss it… AND until next time… keep bringing your awesome… because the world needs more of IT!


Comment and let me know how you use the “Christmas Carol Method!”  Seriously… I can’t wait to hear from you.

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