Around the start of the new year, I spent some time writing out my 2020 goals (not resolutions). For the third year in a row, I’m using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets Goal Planner. I love that it helps me get really clear on what my goals are for the year, and then break them down into manageable, achievable steps each month. Using #powersheets has helped me build some great habits as well, like sending out handwritten cards to friends each month and reading every single day.
One of the habits I’ve established is daily gratitude. I shared a few Instagram stories about the gratitude journal I kept in 2019 and the one I’m keeping in 2020 and many of you reached out asking for the links to those journals and said you wanted to establish your own daily gratitude habit.
Here is a link to my 2019 Gratitude Journal: Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal
And the journal I’m using in 2020: Gratitude – A Journal
The Good Days Journal has 3 lines to write 3 things you are grateful for each day of the year, while the Gratitude – A Journal is a more free-write journal. There are some writing prompts and ideas in both. And there are a TON of other gratitude journals out there – take a look around and find one you like!
There’s a lot of research out there talking about the positive effects gratitude can have on your life, and I’ve experienced many of them firsthand. This article in Forbes talks about how expressing gratitude can increase your mental strength. I have found this to be absolutely true. I find that I am able to find the good in any situation. Even in a truly bad situation, I can still find many other things in my life to be grateful for. It has made it easier for me to navigate life’s challenges.
Like this article from Harvard suggests, I find that gratitude has made it easier for me to be more optimistic. I’m still as realistic and pragmatic as ever, but at the same time, I am able to say, “Why couldn’t this really awesome thing happen to me? Why wouldn’t I get the things I want in life?” instead of dwelling on what has happened (yet) and what I am missing from my life.
If you’re thinking about starting your own journey in expressing gratitude, I’ve got a few tips for you:
- Start small. Write three things you’re grateful for. Just three things.
- If you need to, start with the “low-hanging fruit”. Examples:
- I’m grateful for coffee.
- I’m grateful for clean sheets on my bed.
- I’m grateful for new episodes of Outlander.
- Stick with it! Challenge yourself to write something every day.
- Express gratitude for things you don’t have…yet. If you have dreams of a trip to Europe or buying a house by the ocean, think about how you’ll feel when you have those things. What will the experience be like? How will it enrich your life? How will it make you happy?