Anytime anything goes wrong this year, I grumble, “2020 strikes again!”
I have no idea what I’ll blame when 2021 rolls around, but I’m sure I’ll find something! 😉
With one hard event snowballing into another, I’ve found myself sinking back into depression more than usual.
Side note: It’s why I recently got this tattoo—to remind me that despite everything going on, life is worth fighting for.
I’ve always known that gratitude is a good thing to practice (ever since reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, actually!), but I’ve never made a habit of it…until now. Until this very hard year. When I needed to grab onto something positive in my life just to stay afloat.
After weeks of keeping my gratitude log, I daresay this is one of the most powerful ways you can jump out of a funk. Try staying angry while savoring the creaminess of a Dove dark chocolate and being grateful for it!
That’s because a gratitude log…
- Increases optimism. You’re more likely to focus on the good in any situation which leads to a “glass half full” mentality in the future.
- Reduces comparison. When you’re thankful for what you have, you’re less likely to focus on what you don’t.
- Strengthens relationships. A grateful person is simply much more pleasant to be around!
I also found a study that being grateful helps you sleep better too.
Sign me up!
In short, it’s a great idea to keep a gratitude log every day, not just around Thanksgiving when you quickly spout something off around the dinner table.
Here’s how to start and maintain a gratitude log all year ’round along with my favorite journals and apps to help you succeed.
1. Grab Any Blank Journal (and write down 5 things)
The biggest obstacle to starting any new practice is waiting until you find the perfect tool.
So to keep things simple, I use my regular journal (the process-all-the-feelings one) and write down 5 things I’m grateful for every morning.
Because it’s easy to brainstorm one thing, but when you need five things, you dig MUCH deeper. Instead of saving your gratitude for the monumental stuff, you notice all the little things you can be thankful for too. (Like Dove dark chocolates!)
There’s nothing wrong with big things like clean clothes and healthy relationships and a roof over our head. But recognizing the small things helps us appreciate ALL the good around us.
2. Try Promptly’s Gratitude Journal
If you want more structure to your gratitude log, you’re going to love Promptly’s Year of Gratitude Journal.
You can start this journal any time of year (it’s undated!) and inside the crisp white pages, you’ll find prompts that help you brainstorm things you might have forgotten to be grateful for.
- What modern medicines are you grateful for?
- What strengths of yours have benefited you this week?
- What part of your home do you feel gratitude in the most?
- What was the best conversation you had this week?
- What teacher are you most grateful for?
There are new prompts on every page, including blank pages for when you’re feeling extra grateful. You’ll also find a Weekly Exercise that encourages you to put gratitude into practice.
Like this example, “Who are the three people that bring you joy? Tell them!”
3. Create a Specific Bullet Journal Page
For bullet journalists (and if you’re not one yet, here’s why you might want to be!), you can easily create a monthly page just for gratitude.
This can be as simple as writing “Monthly Gratitude” at the top and days 1-30 down the left-hand side. Then each day, fill in each line with one thing you’re grateful for.
If you don’t want to draw anything (which I totally understand!) one of my favorite layouts in the Brainbook Printable Library is this Sunshine Gratitude Tracker. Isn’t it gorgeous?
You can look at all the membership options HERE to access 100+ bullet journal printables!
Another option is to sketch out a number of boxes and then doodle or write one thing you’re grateful for inside. This is a really fun way to flex those creative muscles.
4. Use Your Current Planner
Going back to the simple route, who says you need a dedicated gratitude page…or journal for that matter?
Most planners come with extra blank spaces where you can share your gratitude on the same page as your schedule and to-do lists.
The following planners even have dedicated gratitude sections!
- Day Designer Flagship Daily Planner
- Plum Paper Daily Planner (Fill out this form for 10% off a $30 purchase!)
- Inkwell Press 360 Daily Planner Bundle
- Passion Planner Weekly
- Focus on What Matters Planner
5. Download a Gratitude App
Are you more of a digital gal? There’s an app (or three!) for that.
For iOS users, I really love the ease of Grateful. You can turn on prompts to give your brain a jumpstart or just list whatever you’re grateful for that day. You can even tag each entry and add a photo.
For Android users, Presently is my top pick. It’s clean and simple to use with inspiring quotes at the bottom of each entry.
Both apps come with daily reminders so you’ll never forget to share your gratitude again!
What a Daily Gratitude Practice Did for Me
Even on the days I don’t feel like being grateful, I open my journal and force myself to write down those five things.
Sometimes the entries mirror previous days (thankful for the sunshine, bunny snuggles, etc.), but other times, I’m surprised at what I write down because they’re not at the top of my mind.
Like a heated RV, finding a nearby grocery store in the remote desert canyons of Utah, and taking silly photos with my husband, Joseph.
When you take the time to look around at all the good in your life and acknowledge it in some way, whether it’s through a journal, an app, or just by saying it out loud to yourself (when no one’s around, of course, so people don’t think you’re a crazy person), the more you’ll approach each day with infectious joy and positivity.
And if there’s one thing we can count on to get us through hard times, it’s having an attitude that flips our negative narrative into one of genuine gratefulness.
Do you practice a daily gratitude habit?
If not, let me know which one of these 5 options you’re going to try. And if you already do, I’m dying to know what journal/app you use!
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Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.