Finding hundreds of people to thank is not as tough as you might imagine.
Throughout the year, I dedicated each month to one theme, as an organizing principle to help keep me on task. In my "food" month, I thought back to meals that meant a lot to me, and remembered the night my husband and I celebrated our sixth anniversary at our favorite restaurant. The chef sent out her famous biscuits in the shape of a Roman numeral VI, which made us feel so special. I became more adept at retrieving memories like these, and it turned out that I had more than enough people to thank.
People are doing nice things for you all of the time.
While it was a meaningful exercise to remember all the wonderful things people have done for me in the past, I noticed that most favors were more recent. During that same “food” month, for example, I was eating at a local deli with my two-year-old, Charlie, when he toppled off his stool and onto the floor. It was one of those guilty parenting moments where your brain beats you up: He could have really gotten hurt! How could you let a two-year-old talk you into a precarious situation? The co-owner was so kind to Charlie—cleaning him up with wet paper towels—and to me (“That happened to my kid once”). He made us both feel better. These kind gestures were more common than I'd imagined—and it was gratifying to acknowledge them a tangible way.