| Tokelo Motsepe
The simple habit of reflecting on what you’re grateful for can actually lead to a happier, more content life. All it takes is a few moments of your time and a gratitude journal to record your thoughts. Gratitude journals aren't very different to the the diary you kept as a teenager, but instead of writing random thoughts about your day, you write about the things you’re grateful for—big or small.
Everyone’s gratitude journal will be different. Some people will simply write about their day while others might choose a specific theme to focus on. It's best to work out what works for you and remain consistent in that, so to build the habit.
Here are some tips to help you start a gratitude journal of your own and how to make it a habit you will easily stick to:
1. Choose a Journal
The first (and easiest) step to starting your new gratitude journaling habit is picking a journal. When choosing a gratitude journal there are a few things to consider. Do you prefer to write in a physical journal or record your thoughts digitally? Will you be carrying it around with you or keeping it in one place? Do you want lined or unlined pages? These are all factors that contribute to which journal is ultimately right for you.
Traditional journals offer the most flexibility because they’re durable and portable. And sometimes a new journal is exactly what you need to inspire you to get started. Our Greatness Journal is a firm favourite with our customers - click here to take a look and shop now.
2. Focus on the Gratitude Journal Benefits
Understanding why you’re doing something instead of just jumping in will make your new habit easier to stick to. For example, you know you have to brush your teeth and even though the act of brushing your teeth isn’t necessarily enjoyable, you do it because you know it prevents cavities. The same applies to gratitude journaling (although it’s a lot more enjoyable than brushing your teeth).
Some of the benefits of gratitude journaling include lower stress levels, a greater sense of calm and a whole new level of clarity. You’ll learn more about yourself in the process and gain a fresh perspective that allows you to recognize blessings in disguise.
3. Set Aside Time for Writing
Finding time to write in your gratitude journal can be difficult at first because it feels like another thing on your neverending to-do list, but after you get into the routine it becomes second nature.
Try scheduling it in your calendar or maybe set an alarm reminder on your phone or try attaching it to an existing habit like having your morning coffee or reading before bed. Doing this will give you a dedicated time to write and help you build that habit.
4. Find What Works for You
One of the most liberating parts of gratitude journaling is that there are no rules. It’s for your eyes only (unless you choose to share it with someone), so feel free to make it all about your interests and what makes you happy. Love to doodle? Add drawings to your notes. Are you a visual person? Practice your photo skills and paste prints onto the pages to make a gratitude journal-scrapbook hybrid.
5. Check in with yourself Regularly
Just like it’s important to know why you’re starting a new habit, it’s also a good practice to check in with yourself every once in a while. Are you feeling any different after one week? One month? One year? Think about how your happiness has improved over time. Maybe your interactions with others have improved or your self-talk has become more positive. If you ever need a pick me up, go back and revisit old pages to see how far you’ve come.
Now that you know how to get started, you’re well on your way to a successful gratitude journaling practice. You might find that reflecting on the things you’re grateful for will inspire you to express that gratitude to others.
Remember not to get too discouraged when starting your journal, as it takes time to create a new habit, be patient with the process and enjoy the journey. The positive effects are endless, it’s now time to find out for yourself!