Why a 33-year-old replaced drinking with 365 days of gratitude


On his 163rd day of gratitude, 33-year-old Kyle Bender scarfed down a chocolate chip cookie chased by a medium iced white chocolate mocha with coconut milk, whipped cream and an extra shot of some sugary syrup at Mugs Coffee.

Bender, the owner of Scarlett Real Estate and Scarlett Properties, offered me a bite, but I was happy with my tea.

Bender’s been offering up a lot lately, posting a Facebook video nearly every day this year to share his daily dose of gratitude.

The idea started with a video he and coworkers made last Thanksgiving to share what they were thankful for. A question popped into his head: Why don’t we do this every day?

When January came around, he was ready for a lifestyle change.

He vowed to give up drinking for a year and to post a video on social media every single day of that year to share one thing he was grateful for that day. Day 1 was Jan. 1, 2017.

“Everything revolves around it,” he said about drinking. “I’m just tired of it. I want to be active.”

He took to Facebook to ask his peers for support instead of pressure. He wanted to pay attention to beauty he might be missing around him.

“When you tell people this is what you’re going to do,” he said, “they’re going to hold you accountable for it.”

Sure, friends have teased him with the nickname “Mr. Gratitude,” but they’ve also reminded him to post.

And 163 days later, a list of really random reasons for gratitude has unfolded. A selection, numbered with day of gratitude followed by day of the month:

Bender keeps coming up with something (hopefully) new each day, he said, just by living.

“It’s the things that make you feel good throughout the day,” he said. “It would be cool if everybody just did it just to show themselves.”

And while he said it’s really hard to break a habit, he hasn’t been drinking.

“That’s not who I am,” he said.

For the most part, he feels encouraged. He said it’s all about “training your brain to think the world is awesome and there’s so much in it.”

He has also realized how good his generation has it. He’s surrounded by peers who are independent, work good jobs and are doing pretty well.

As for his thoughts on reaching Day 365?

“I want to have this big, climactic finish,” he said.

But really he has no clue what that day will bring.

“Is 365 going to turn into 3,650? I don’t know,” he said.

For now, it’s just day 163 and there’s that chocolate chip cookie with that iced mocha.

“This cookie, it’s not good for me,” he said. “A little too crunchy. But still amazing.”

Photo: Kyle Bender


  1. This is fantastic! Changing the social norms and leading the way for others to follow in a different direction. Keep up the good work!

  2. Super motivating and inspiring! With all the negativity in the world we should all have something to be grateful for everyday! Love the positive message!

  3. This is fantastic! Changing the way people look at social norms and leading the way for others to follow, I dig it! Keep up the good work.

  4. Everyone should read the best seller of several years ago, 365 Thank Yous. And more recent psychological studies have proved the truth of these anecdotal stories of the incredible mental and physical benefits of adopting an attitude of gratefulness.

  5. Buckleys right. Let’s get real, the second sentence in this article contains the one and only link (besides the YouTube clip) promoting Bender’s business. I’m sure he’s real grateful for the business this social media stunt is landing him…


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