You’ve heard it many times before, how a gratitude journal can change your life, yet you haven’t been able to stick to it. You know that if you could just find the time to do it, it would have a massive impact on every single aspect of your life, yet it remains a habit that you haven’t been able to create. Why is that? What could be holding you back from something that seems so simple to do?
There are many reasons why we put off starting or sticking to our daily gratitude journal. In this post, I’ll share with you many different ways that you can express your daily gratitude that are simple and easy to implement, for you and your family. Find one that resonates with you and make a commitment for the next 30 days. Too long? Start with a 7 day commitment and see how you feel after that! Then renew your commitment one week at a time. Soon enough you’ll have created a new habit and you won’t want to stop ever again.
Evening Gratitude Journaling
This is my personal favourite and one that I have been able to stick to for the past 5 and half years. And with only a few small exceptions, I haven’t missed a night. The easiest way to start is to find a journal that you LOVE. This is my current journal and I smile every time I pick it up. A nice pen also helps, however as long as you have one that works, you’re in business. Place the journal beside your bed (with the pen of course). After you have done your bedtime routine (i.e. brush teeth, take out contacts), open your journal and simply write down three things that you are grateful for, specific to that day. I like to start my sentences with ‘I am truly grateful that….’ and keep it short and sweet.
Advanced tip: If you already have a gratitude journaling habit, add one gratitude intention to your list. What is a gratitude intention? It’s being grateful for something, in the present tense, that hasn’t yet manifested in your life. For example, I am truly grateful to be living in our home on the water. The gratitude intention can remain the same every night until you have manifested it or you decide that’s no longer what you want.
Last year, we started a gratitude habit with my daughter. She was 5 years old at the time and was just learning how to write. We wanted to create a simple daily gratitude habit for her, so we started a gratitude jar. We used small notepad paper and she would write one sentence about what she was grateful for that day. Then we would fold it up and put it in the jar. It ended up being a huge success and she did it almost every night for a full year. We ended up with 3 full jars! This is a simple exercise that can be done at any time of the day. At bedtime might be easier to remember, however it would also work after meals or perhaps when you first get home from work every day.
Another simple way to create a daily gratitude habit is to start your day with gratitude. My personal vision is of a world where everyone wakes up with gratitude and that we all give thanks for the gift of another day. You could choose to start your day by writing three things that you are grateful for in your journal, as your morning blessings. Point form works well here, for example: the sunrise, my bed and warm blankets. This sets the tone for your entire day and helps you start the day with a smile on your face, no matter what difficulties or challenges might lay ahead.
Which one of these three ideas most resonated with you? The most important thing is not which one you choose, but that you take action today. Make today the day you begin your daily gratitude habit for life. Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back, one year from now, at everything you have to be grateful for? The bonus gift we get from writing down our gratitude every day is that we create a journal of our lives, focusing on the most positive things we encountered, rather than the difficulties. And for those more difficult moments, often it is our daily gratitude habit that will help us to find the smallest thing to be grateful for even during the darkest of times.
Julie Boyer’s mission in life is to inspire people to build their lives on a foundation of gratitude through her brand, Wake Up & Give Thanks™. Julie’s first book, 30 Days of Gratitude, The Gratitude Program That Will Change Your Life, became an Amazon bestseller when it was released in May 2013. She is also the founder of the 30 Day Whole Body Detox Program, a healthy, whole food detox that nourishes your body at the cellular level. Julie also loves to mentor and develop leaders through her mentorship program as well. A former triathlete, Julie has completed 3 full Ironman Distance triathlons. Julie lives in Ontario, Canada with her 6 year old daughter and husband Dan. She can be reached on her blog, www.julieboyer.com