Let’s dig right in and define the practice of journaling. More specifically Gratitude Journaling.
Get out there and buy a basic notebook or journal. Don’t get too caught up on what kind of journal this time around. You’re going to fill this baby up anyways, and each time you do you’ll have a better idea of what you’d prefer the next time around… and yes, this will change over time… We can talk more about that another time.
Actively and intentionally LOOK FOR at least three things that you are grateful for each and every day.
Then simply document those in your journal. This can be done with a single word, sentence or full blown short essay. Regardless of how you do it, just be sure to do it.
Extra Credit: Read what you’ve written out loud at least once before you go to bed. There is something truly magical about hearing yourself speak words of gratitude.
Here are a few “ground-rule” examples I’ve set for my journal:
The only required daily entry is my daily-gratitude list. I don’t put any pressure on myself to journal any more than my daily-gratitude, but over time I have noticed that I naturally found other things to journal about as well. And it just felt great to add these additional entries without feeling any real pressure to do so.
My journal does not accept negativity. Not even a little. It expects me to find a way to create or find the good in any and all situations. When I am dealing with a major disappointment or challenge it expects me to come to it with solutions, or at a minimum with hope before I touch pen to paper. It does not allow me to be lazy or wallow in self pity. Anyone can do that. My journal expects more from me.
My journal does not judge my spelling, my use of the English language, sentence structure, punctuation or how clean I can keep the page. It will not judge me if I scratch through a line, doodle on the page or change topics without notice. In fact she also has no problem with me when I choose to use a pen with different colored ink, or if I just decide that I want to throw a sticker on her pages… She just wants me to use her while actively looking for the positive, and then share and confess those gratitudes with her daily.
So then what is the goal of this practice:
To build your “gratitude-muscle”.
To become a better-you… Yes, it’s true, a GRATEFUL-you is a BETTER-you.
Over time you will firmly establish GRATITUDE as your DEFAULT in every area of your life… “In ALL things give thanks.” And as you know, ALL the cool kids dig GRATITUDE.
Here are a few final thoughts on this beautiful practice:
I am grateful for my gratitude journal.
I am grateful that this blog will directly affect someone’s life.
A gratitude journal has the power to save lives. Never underestimate the power of gratitude. Never.
Having your journal close at hand is a beautiful thing, but don’t let not having it handy be an excuse for not journaling. It is completely acceptable and encouraged to journal on anything that is handy. And then transfer it at a later date to your actual journal. Your journal, like most people, is not interested in your excuses. Not even a little. Nope.